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Knock it on the head, Google.
There’s a great post by David Harry over on Search News Central that takes a look at Google responses to reconsideration requests. That in and of itself makes for a really interesting read, but David makes a really good point at the end of his article. One which is so obvious it’s possible Google missed it completely. Well, they shouldn’t have because it’s common bloody sense. Here’s what David said:
If Google can and has removed the value from the suspect links, why not just do that and call it a day? Inform the webmaster of the types of links which aren’t passing value, instead of penalizing them. This would surely end a given link building tactic in short order without the risk of ‘negative’ SEO.
As logical arguments go, that’s right up there with the best. So Google discounts a big chunk of your backlinks because they’re crap. Fair enough. Surely then, the Google algorithm would knock you back a place or 10 in the rankings too. There’s no need for Google to then manually penalise you and it does completely remove the possibility of negative SEO in the form of building spammy links to a competitors site as they just wouldn’t count. And, of course, SEOs would have no choice but to abandon those types of link building practices as they’d have no effect and be a waste of time.
As David so eloquently put it, manually penalising a site after you’ve already discounted their spammy backlinks is akin to:
…changing the speed limit on the street in front of my house and then giving me a speeding ticket for last year when I was driving the old limit.
So come on, Google, knock it off. You know it makes sense to do it this way. And while you’re at it, give us SEOs, webmasters and site owners the ability to discount links we don’t want in Webmaster Tools. We can fight our own negative SEO and and any previous unethical SEO practices ourselves then, saving you quite a bit of time!