In January 2011, Google began sending out “spam notifications” that your site has been penalized because of selling links. Now there are reports that Google is notifying webmasters that they have bad links pointing to their web site, as opposed to bad links on their web site pointing outwards.
Here is a sample of the email notification from Google:
“Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.domain.com/,
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support. Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team”
As you can see, Google is telling webmasters that their site has been penalized because they have bad links, maybe paid links or other unnatural links, pointing to their site.
Google began its campaign against paid links in October 2007 and has continued the fierce campaign since then.
With this, the previous selling links campaign and the site update reminders; Google is trying to clean up their search results.
Our suggestion has always been natural and organic backlinks from relevant websites that increase search result rankings as compared to hurting them.