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I've noticed a few spammy links pointing to my website. Some of these existed from before I registered the domain, and some of these are new, possibly placed by competitors.

I understand that Google can potentially penalize you for this, and I know that some people have received warnings from Google about it.

However, is it possible that Google identifies the spam, penalizes you, and doesn't inform you, or will Google always tell you?

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Google will only tell you if a serious algorithmic or manual action has been placed on your website (or part of your website). This means that is it possible to still have low quality backlinks in your site's link profile that can damage the performance of your website before it gets to the necessary threshold for Google to take action and serve the webmaster a notice.

If you have hundreds of great links but also a lot of spammy ones, if the good value outweighs the negative value, then for now, it is likely you can escape without any actions placed against your site - whether that changes in a future algorithm update or refresh though, who knows. That's why it is always recommended to keep your link profile clean.

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  • As far as I know, Google has never informed webmasters when sites are effected by algorithms. They only notify for manual actions right now. – Stephen Ostermiller Jul 3 '14 at 12:18
  • Manual actions are just that- manual actions. This is important to remember. It was never intended for more though it expanded somewhat. Most algorithms will not trigger an alert, this is because Google does want to give away their hand, however, some will via. e-mail and/or Google Webmaster Tools. But only a few. One of which is unnatural linking. Remember that Google expects links from certain sites and generally does not count these against you- for example all those damned site performance me too junk Alexa scraper sites. – closetnoc Jul 3 '14 at 15:22

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