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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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