Waking up one day to find that you are in receipt of dreaded Google Webmaster Tools message is one of the most fearsome scenarios for any website owner or SEO as it tends to mean one of only a couple of things…
- Your website needs to update WordPress
- You have a substantial change in traffic volume
- Your site has been manually reviewed and has been ruled to have breached the Google guidelines
Although two of the above will leave you feeling like you have just swerved a bullet, the latter is sure to crush that ‘happy-go-lucky' feeling that you had as you rolled out of bed that morning and previously the messages were as cryptic as the Google algorithm metrics themselves, leaving you with a wide variety of areas in which to start analysing your site.
Google have been known to be testing giving infraction examples within the messages that they have been sending out to clients, however the cases of these messages being sent out were deemed to have been limited, leaving all other webmasters with the generic messages that left plenty to the imagination.
With a stance that they are trying to improve the transparency of their services and notifications, Google have finally made comment surrounding these messages after reports from SMX Advanced revealed that Matt Cutts, head of Google Web Spam team, revealed that Webmaster Tools messages will now come with an example of what they deem to be wrong with your site; giving you a starting point in which to begin your rectification of your site.
As part of his statement surrounding the notification enlightenment, Cutts made an example of both unnatural link warnings and user generated spam messages, saying that Google would be now including one, two or even three URLs as an example of the infringing URLs they believe to have broken their guidelines.
Although Google are going to be a little more willing to offer you examples of what they have found, don't think for a moment that Google are going to give you a full run down of your wrong doing as their promise for clarity does not span to the point of them giving you a quick fix for your willingness to break their quality guidelines.
The comments that were made by Cutts were later seemingly backed up by Google's Kasper Szymanski who posted on Google+, saying:
We're trying to improve WMT over time to be more specific and actionable; we've received some feedback where we had only taken manual action on part of a site and the messages would have been more helpful if they indicated where the issue was. Going forward we'll be providing more information to the site owner, including exact URL examples.
I personally think that this is a positive step towards what website owners need from Google, potentially giving further information that can help those that are unfortunate enough to take receipt of a warning of this kind to work towards getting their site back into compliance of the quality guidelines that Google look to uphold.
What do you think?
Is this a positive thing or do you think that this will allow those that manipulate the search engine rankings recover sites quicker?