According to Google, low-quality links include links that are sponsored, links that refer back to unrelated websites and links referring back to websites that repeat the similar keyword as the anchor text. Such activities along with irrelevant incoming links and spammy ones violate the quality guidelines of Google and if this kind of content is not removed by website, it is thus, penalized by Google.
Ever since Google introduced its Penguin update, search engine optimizers are working hard to remove all bad backlinks from their websites before Google comes up with some other update. However, those websites that have not yet been warned by Google can celebrate themselves for not being put under Google’s scanner. If your website too, have not been penalized or warned by Google, you have got reasons to be happy.
Since your site has not yet been warned, this implies that according to Google, it is not an over-optimized website in the first place.
Secondly, Google did not possibly find excessive backlinking or say, unnatural back linking on your website which otherwise, could have got your site penalized. If you have successfully escaped the hit, good for you but that does not necessarily mean that you are spared for future as well. In my experience, removing all those bad backlinks which could possibly set off Google’s alarm, will be the best option for you. Whether or not you have been penalized or warned yet, it is in your best interest that you get rid of such incoming links present on your link profile.
As I said it before, I would like to mention it again, even if your website has not yet been penalized by Google, there are good possibilities that your website too, is a victim of the Penguin update.
This is because before Google introduced the Penguin update, the message it sent out to webmasters regarding removing unwanted backlinks was unclear and the explanation appeared totally vague to many webmasters. It was later that Google came up with Penguin update which focused clearly on spammy and unnatural incoming links in an attempt to prevent those spammy websites from getting to the top of SERPs which were either having excessive number of incoming links, irrelevant links, keyword stuffing or paid links.
Many webmasters were perplexed watching Google’s warning messages before the update came out as they could not make out whether Google meant to take action against the website in order to penalize it because of unwanted links present on it. Then came in the Penguin update but that did not solve the problem completely. Some of the webmasters who received warnings regarding unnatural and spammy back links, questioned Google about those links which they were not able to take down. This was when negative SEO came into question to which even Google did not have any answer. The only temporary solution it came up with was a reconsideration request. So if your website has not been penalized yet, you can ignore the warning messages sent in past, as Google said.
If you are still not sure of what to make out of above statements, watch out for your search engine ranking and your website’s traffic numbers. A drop in the traffic numbers or your website ranking or both will help you determine whether or not you need to take some action regarding removing unwanted links. If you see your website traffic or search engine ranking drop, there are clear chances that your website is a victim of Google’s penguin update and you must start removing bad back links right now, else if you do not figure out any change and things are going fine even after you have received warning messages from Google, you can simply ignore them and move on.
Since you have escaped the misery of being punished under the latest update by Google, it does not mean that you are secured forever. If your website has not been affected this time, even then you should be very careful about the backlinks which point towards your website. Now that you know what a pain they are, be aware of any link which is coming from some spammy site and get it removed immediately.