Matt Cutts Gives Insights on Webmaster Notifications

The face of Google’s Webmaster services, Matt Cutts, has released a short video answering a user submitted question regarding the content of the various warning notifications the Webmaster team sends out to website owners. These messages can take several forms and are mainly related to factors that could potentially be harmful to a website’s ranking in Google’s organic search results. During the video, Cutts also gives an insight into how the Google team attempt to deal with the various types of spam that can pollute search results, distracting users from the high quality relevant content they are searching for.

The question was directed at the Webmaster team from Kenichi Suzuki from Tokyo, Japan:

“You’ve been sending us various kinds of messages via WMT to improve transparency. IT’s a good move. How many types of messages do you send now? And how do you decide what message you send?”

Cutts responds by revealing the full extent of how many messages actually get sent to webmasters to alert them to potentially rank damaging factors that are affecting their site. Cutts claims that they send out “hundreds of thousands of messages” which may sound extreme until you hear that according to data gathered by the search engine, Gecko, “a million spam pages are created every hour.” Cutts goes on to give a sample of some of the factors that trigger such messages: “There are a lot of different categories of spam that are covered in our Webmaster Guidelines. Everything from cloaking to scraping to sneaking JavaScript redirects, paid links, all sorts of stuff.” These spam related messages carry the connotation of black hat search engine optimisation techniques are account for a massive 90% of all Webmaster notifications.

The remaining 10% of messages are broken down into four different categories. 4% are attributed to sites hosting low-grade content, 3% to websites being hacked, 2% to paid incoming links and 1% to sites that are actively selling links.

While this video may not provide any ground breaking information, it does give a good idea as to what sort of percentage breakdown of black hat search engine optimisation techniques that are triggering Google Webmaster notifications. This gives a good idea for webmasters as to what techniques can quickly result in their site receiving ranking penalties.

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