June 13, 2013 by Ryan Miller
Google has been increasing their output of messages to website owners via their Webmaster Tools Notifications, especially when black hat techniques such as unnatural linkbuilding and other quality issues that may place a site outside of Google’s guideline policy are detected on a site.
One of the issues with these increased messages though is the vague language that accompanies the emails. Webmasters may be notified that Google has “detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines,” “Google has detected user-generated spam on your site,” or that there are “possibly artificial or unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank.” These messages are often accompanied with a notice that “Google has applied a manual spam action to your site.”
Up until now, there has been no direction or examples accompanying these messages to help webmasters find and fix there errors that cause the message to be generated in the first place. We have been left to guess and spend hours searching through pages, analytics data and other stats to try and discover the root of the problem.
That should all be changing in the next few months, as Google has listened to webmasters’ feedback about the vagueness of these emails, and will now start to include examples in the messages being sent out. Matt Cutts, in a video posted on YouTube earlier this week notes that it is beneficial to:
Include a small number of example URLs that will help you as a webmaster know where to look whenever you are trying to fix things and clean the site back up … we’ll keep looking for ways to provide even more guidance and a little more transparency so that webmasters get an even more better idea of where to look.
Cutts goes on to mention that the emails wouldn’t include every single URL where an issue was and in some instances still wouldn’t be able to provide examples. Overall though, this is great news for those who have lost hours of time and sleep trying to figure out what the site problem is which generated the message. We’ll now be able to much more efficiently fix the problem and submit sites for reinclusion if a manual penalty was applied.
You can watch Matt Cutts’ full video below:
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