Published: August 29, 2012
Edited: December 25, 2013
A plethora of webmasters and online marketers have started buying links massively as Panda and Penguin hit their sites. It is actually Penguin that especially goes after off-page SEO factors, such as backlinks. And no matter how much attention has been raised, many still continue the old link building techniques.
An alternative for link swapping and directory link purchases is the acquisition of context-embedded links. These seemed to have worked pretty well until 2010, then later during Panda and Penguin times in 2011, 2012, even. But things are about to change now.
Back in October 2007 already, Google warned website owners that selling links can adversely affect PageRank. Although, Google's ability to detect this type of off-page SEO technique was limited at that time. Today, the Penguin algorithm is sophisticated enough to detect unnatural links and even context-embedded "do follow" links are easy to descry to Google.
Although links still count today, the vast majority of linking schemes aren't working anymore, as Google has dealt traditional SEO with a tremendous blow in the past 2 years.
You can ask for a reconsideration request, if you believe that Google unfairly penalized your site. They will manually check your site again and, they could actually remove the penalty! But, they only remove manually-set penalties.
If the penalty was set manually, only then will you have the chance of having it removed. Automated software penalties will not be removed.
Matt Cutts has told that the PageRank may get reduced 30-50 %, if the website sells "do follow" links.
Even if you have many outgoing "do follow" links, then Google could think you're manipulating SERPs. Therefore it's recommended to set as many outgoing links as "nofollow" as possible.
For complete details about this and other issues, please view this video: