Findings & Observations  - 
 
A friend of mine got such a message. Not only does it concern link from the Google cache, but it also shows the page where Googlebot is not allowed because of the robots.txt file (User-agent: * Disallow: /search).

There are more and more examples of bad links which can be found as bugs. I'm curious whether in this case, webmaster will still have to wait a few weeks until he finds out that maybe everything is OK with his site and this was only a mistake.
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Jenny Halasz's profile photoTom Johns's profile photoDan Petrovic's profile photoPhil Buckley's profile photo
21 comments
 
You're right - Google doesn't have it in its index but robots.txt file doesn't allow Googlebot to see the content of this page.

Yes, it's a reply for RR but I don't know the message in the "Manual Actions" page. I suppose there's an info about the penalty.
 
It's definitely a weird one for several reasons.  If you're lucky, +John Mueller  might have a look
 
The URL appears to be a cached page. Is there a dirty link on the live version of that cached page? 
 
The link can now be found only in the cached page. It's removed from the live version.
 
Don't obsess over the exact link they use as an example, use it as a clue to the bigger problem that you are being penalized for. 
 
In this case the main problem is that the link doesn't exist on the website anymore - it's only in the Google cache, which Googlebot shouldn't even see ;-)
 
Can you give an actual URL? You can message me if you don't want to post it here. I'd be interested to look into this further.
 
All of these strange reports that circulate in the SEO community are 100% compatible with my personal opinion of how the process works: "They are humans, they make mistakes and sometimes they cite wrong or outdated or unrelated URLs.".

After you factor in the "human factor", anything makes sense. At that point, you understand that it's better to ignore the cited URLs and it's better to focus your efforts in cleaning up the backlink profile of the website.

Actually, I'm not sure that these URL citations make the reconsideration process smoother. On the contrary, I think that when Google cites specific URLs people focus too much on what URLs are cited, assigning less attention to the whole cleaning process. And that's bad.

+Marta Gryszko : my guess is that they just copied and pasted a wrong URL. The message is still clear, though: "Get rid of that kind of links.".
 
Well I noticed that you mentioned something about "where Google is not allowed because of robots.txt" and wanted to remind you that even pages that are blocked by robots can accrue pagerank. And it might even be a situation where by blocking it, you're keeping Google from seeing a relevant status code or something else important.
 
Also from what I understand, they only have a finite number of specific messages they can send in response to a recon request. So the one you receive may just be the best option, but not entirely correct.
 
+Jenny Halasz : I think that Marta was referring to the robots.txt file of webcache.googleusercontent.com , which should prevent spiders from asking for the cache page and, as a consequence, should prevent the search engine from knowing that the cache page contains "unpleasant links".

Basically Marta is asking how is it possible that Google mentioned a link that existed in a Google page that Googlebot couldn't request.
 
I asked the team about this. Sometimes they do this if the link is on the cached page, but no longer on the live one (eg if it's using a rotating link scheme). 
 
Thanks for the answer. So a webmaster should just wait until Googlebot recaches the website and sees that the link is no longer there, right?
 
No. If the webmaster is taking part in a link-scheme that uses rotating / random link placement, they need to get out of that. Otherwise a web-spam manual review (eg for the reconsideration request) will just bubble up the new links. 
 
No, he's already removed the link. It's not a link exchange system.
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