It was reported back on June 8th that Thumbtack, a service professionals hiring website, which was backed by Google Capital, had received a manual action from the Google search quality team for “unnatural links to your site“. Well, it seems that the manual action didn’t last too long, only about a week, as Thumbtack is now back and ranking well again.
So what caused them to be hit by the manual penalty anyway? It seems that it was the company’s outreach encouraging business owners to add rich anchor text links to their category pages. If they did this, Thumbtack would award them progress points towards completing their online profile.
Even though Thumbtack received an email that asked them to take the link down or add a nofollow attribute to the link, Google decided to reverse the penalty only a couple days later.
@kikolani received an email from Thumbtack that confirmed everything is back to normal and that the penalty was reversed. In the email, they “resolved the issue related to Google traffic,” and that their “request volume is back” to the way it was prior to the penalty.
Here is the email: