Google has implemented a mass application of its outbound link policy.
Google's ranking algorithm penalises websites that have unnatural outbound links, in an effort to crack down on link networks.
Over the weekend, scores of webmasters have reported that they have been hit by the penalty, having received an email saying: “Google has detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative outbound links. Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank is a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to the affected portions of your site.”
Webmasters are advised to either remove the links or tag them as “no follow”, and then submit a reconsideration request via Google Search Console.
It is unclear whether the websites the links point to are also being penalised.