Google penalised Thumbtack for its use of un-organic links, but that penalty lasted only for a week. The site is back in SERPs and hasn’t lost anything in terms of ranking. The site was manually removed by the search giant because of unnatural backlinks.
The penalty didn’t last more than a week and the site’s pages are ranking the same as they did before the manual action. It is worth pointing out that Thumbtack is backed by Google Capital. This incident hasn’t going down well with SEOs, who blame Google of showing preferential treatment towards one of its own “investments.”
Thumbtack would offer progress points to its users in completing their profiles if they added rich anchor text links pointing to Thumbtack’s category pages. Once the site was penalised, these users started receiving emails from the company asking them to remove those links or give a nofollow attribute. It didn’t take Google more than 2 days to reverse the penalty, something which is unheard of before.
According to Thumbtack, their site is back as earlier and their “request volume” has also bounced back.
Google has however declined to make any comments on such a preferential treatment given to a firm backed by it.
Questions in the SEO World
The SEO/webmaster community has been apprehensive about this action, considering it as a case of unfair example. Google takes several months to remove penalties wherever it takes manual actions. In this case, it didn’t take more than a few days.
The online action Thumbtack has taken is to ask users to remove or change the links to nofollow. They haven’t claimed anything about getting the links disavowed. There were no additional efforts to get the bad links removed. Others have had to do a lot more than that to be lucky enough to have their sites reinstated.
That Thumbtack’s rankings have returned to normal is also a sign that the same old links are still working. From the look of it, the SEO community has put this as an unfair example of how Google has manipulated things for one of its own funded companies.
There are however instances of the search engine having penalised its own companies in the past, but for longer periods than this.
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