An interesting Google Webmaster Help thread has a webmaster who has a manual action, he said he removed the content, and even left the page blank but the manual action won’t go away.
Google’s John Mueller explained why in an interesting way…
I’m a big fan of whoever said to just remove organic traffic from your business plan. Just my opinion: a site that depends on it’s rankings to survive is exposed to a HUGE risk.
However, not opimizing is often going to be a mistake as well (don’t confuse optimization for link building).
Something else worth pointing out is that you ARE allowed to ask people to link to you (how you do it does matter), and there are things that you can do to foster incoming links. It’s painful for me to see someone actually writing great content but not trying to get it out there a bit.
If I knew what site you are talking about I can help you more, but as a general tip, I can tell you that whatever industry you are in, history content is a good go-to.
Why? it doesn’t get outdated, not as many people write about specific topics and anyone with time can usually go more in-depth still and create valuable content, people who write about history are generally better about citing article sources (linky linky), not many people get into the history business to make money – they are usually good folks and if you write to them about some broken links on their website and happen to mention your own (freakin awesome) resource, there is better chance they will link to you. The avg rate when doing broken link building stuff is about 2-5 links for 1 hour of work the way that I like to do it. For history content, I can generate about 5-8 links in 1 hours work on avg. and these tend to come from libraries, local town government websites, historical societies etc.
You can even suggest your best inner history pages to them to link to. Just don’t ask for anchor text, require nothing, never complain about “how” they linked to you unless the link is actually broken.
My opinion: doing that makes it an editorial link. John Mueller’s opinion (Google Webmaster Trends Analyst): it’s fine to ask people to link to you. Once you start telling them how to do it, or if you do something silly like spam lots of people asking, it may violate their guidelines (paraphrased quote). Also note, John Mueller’s opinion is not that of a search algorithm, you can obey the rules and even ask him if it’s OK, that doesn’t been that all bots will think like him and nothing bad can ever happen. Technically, you can have 1,000 links editorially placed on 1k directory websites, and while they might be editorial and you ahve violated no guidelines, you’ve still got 1k terrible directory links and the bots won’t look too kindly on that. Someone complaining about HARO links recently in the community is just sort of learning this for the first time (although other factors are involved there too). BTW, use HARO too, that’s a great tip for you, google “help a reporter out” to find.
Edited by MarkWarner, Yesterday, 08:43 PM.