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Can links from noindexed pages harm your website?

  • Post published on 26 Feb 2013 by Marta Gryszko

I’d like to share an interesting case with you. It resulted from a stupid mistake and I was a bit surprised when I saw this:
penalty
Fortunately it ended like this 😉
penalty-2
I have a small website about medicine (about 100 posts now) and once I decided to publish some articles from article directories. As I didn’t want to have duplicated content on my websites, I added “noindex” metatag at those pages and was sure that nothing bad would happen.

I was in mistake… some time later I noticed huge drop in rankings and of course in Google Analytics. I also found a warning about breaking Google webmaster guidelines by having unnatural outbound links on my websites. At first I thought the problem were site-wide links displayed in sidebar but they linked to only 4 or 5 websites, also about medicine. Yet I deleted them and sent reinclusion request… which was rejected.

Only then I thought the problem were links from copied posts. They were overoptimized with keyword rich anchor texts but since those articles cound’t have been indexed, I just didn’t put nofollow to those links. Besides, the copied articles were just a slight part of the whole content and only about 6-7 linked to other websites, so it was weird for me when it turned out that those stupid 6 or 7 articles gave me so much trouble.

What next? I put nofollow to all those links and sent the next reinclusion request. A few days later the penalty was gone 😉 Well… it was a tough lesson for me.

Marta Gryszko

I've been working on SEO since 2005, focusing on long-tail SEO. I'm a partner at Wake App - the owner of SEO tools such as SEO Station and Brandle. I also own a SEO company: INFEO Marta Gryszko. Follow me on Google+ and Twitter.

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8 comments to “Can links from noindexed pages harm your website?”

  1. Marcus says:

    Hi Marta,

    Did you put noidex at the same time you published those articles? How long did penalty last?

    Thank You

  2. Marcus says:

    That’s very interesting, thanks for sharing Marta

  3. vivek says:

    Article directories are totally dead for getting traffic to your pages. So it will be better to keep us away from all of them. Even google dont like article directories these days rather only few of them are going good.

  4. Joe says:

    Nice article Marta. This shows that Google still follows links and passes link juice even if the pages aren’t indexed.

  5. Movah says:

    Thanks for your post, Was very good and useful.
    It is possible to tell me how you sent reinclusion request?
    thanks

  6. Marta Gryszko says:

    Movah, at first I wrote that I deleted all site-wide links as I thought it’s the only possible reason for a penalty. After the RR was rejected, I looked deeper in the website and put nofollow to all links coming out from copied articles. Then I sent RR again and didn’t have to wait long to remove the penalty

  7. Marta Gryszko says:

    Yes, I put noindex right before I published those articles.

    The penalty started in September 2012 and was removed after 1,5 month.

  8. If you use noindex (but not nofollow) link juice will still flow. See also e.g. this discussion on the topic: http://moz.com/community/q/noindex-follow-is-a-waste-of-link-juice

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