Will Webmaster Tools give examples of which links or pages caused a manual spam action?
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Will Webmaster Tools give examples of which links or pages caused a manual spam action?

MATT CUTTS: Today’s question
comes from Phoenix, Arizona. Ben Holland asks, “Will
Webmaster Tools ever tell us what links caused a penalty?” So
let’s back up and get some context here. First off, remember algorithmic things are just rankings. So they don’t generate messages
in Webmaster console. However, if you log into the
Webmaster Tools console and you see that there’s a message,
that means that there has been some direct manual
action by the web spam team that is somehow directly
affecting the ranking of your website. So in those cases, right now
some of those messages have example links or example
URLs that are causing issues for us. We wouldn’t necessarily say
that those are the only things, because if you have
a million URLs that are offending things, we couldn’t
send all million URLs in an email or even a message, because
that’s just going to take too much storage. But we are going to, over
time, give more and more information in those messages. And so I wouldn’t be surprised
if you see one, two, three, some number of example URLs or
links that give you an idea of where to look in order to find
the sorts of things that are causing that particular
action. So I think that is
really useful. We’re going to keep looking at
how we can expand the number of example URLs that we
include in messages. I think that that’ll be a great
thing for webmasters, because then you’ll have a
really good idea about where to go and look in order
to help diagnose what the issue is.


  • Michael Haley

    Is there or can someone create… would you be opposed to… someone creating a database where we can share the links that you share with us that are considered spammy sites?

  • Jeff Ostroff

    Someone notify the web spam team do manually penalize this video! Matt Cutts has already answered this on video before. This is video stuffing spam. LOL!

  • Antonio Ooi

    We want examples for algorithm penalty too!
    Google: "No……if everyone having a same quality, our ranking system will no longer work because we can't have multiple sites for position #1. Someone got to be on the 2nd or 3rd page of search results, and when they don't know why, they will make lesser noise than they know. ^^ "

  • Eric Lancheres

    I have already done that (With the help of the 400+ members) and that's how I solved how Penguin works inside Panda Breakthrough.

  • hpygolkyone

    Thumbs down to everyone who says: "Thanks for answering Matt Cutts, you are such a wonderful human being".
    Oy Vey!………this guy NEVER answers a question with a direct answer. It is always some roundabout non-answer that just wastes a minute or two of everyone's time.

  • Art Enke

    It's a big problem not knowing which links are the offending ones because I keep getting denied reconsideration requests for certain clients, even after thoroughly documenting extensive outreach and uploading all known bad links to the disavow tool. We're all looking forward to specific URLs in Webmaster Tools from the Google Search Quality Team.

  • Lawrence Olson

    Not useful. I have an important client site that I am not able to pull out of the doghouse, because Google Team will not list the offending links for me. They are not to be found in the table of incoming links that Webmaster Tools makes available, as the example offending url the Google Team sent me was not amongst the Webmaster Tools links. I have no means to identify and remove the problem links.

  • Zack Williamson

    I can't believe it?!?!?!?!? I never thought you would divulge such info at least not this early in the game. I can't wait to see the long lists of links pages, footer links, networked sites, directories, content farms and other garbage showing up in WMT. I ain't from Missouri but you're gonna have to show me the links before I believe it…

  • Spook SEO

    I think in many cases a few examples are really enough to set you on the right track. It would be nice, if rejecting a reconsideration request, Google would tell webmasters a few more examples each time. I have had people ask me for advice after receiving a rejection, and it's a lot tougher with no new examples to give a clue what area to look in.

  • Ravi Shrivastav

    It really good action to aware webmasters about bad links and url problems. Sometime we couldn't find what errors we are doing exactly. I hope with the help of example url message webmaster will be able to fetch spamming problems

  • Daniel Sayon

    It'll be very helpful if we know each links are SPAM or bad for our site. I hope see something like in GWT soon.

  • Brian Jensen

    Matt has been saying this for some time now. I think a little more transparency and direction included in warnings and denied reconsideration request responses would be beneficial for everyone.

  • hpygolkyone

    I would like someone to ask "Mr. Spam-master"….why YouTube is getting spammed into the next galaxy with "My mom is making $5400.00 a week sitting at home..blah, blah, blah"?!

    You can't even stop spam on your own Google owned site. What makes you think you have a clue what you doing with some perfectly good websites that you are destroying in the SERP's?

  • token512

    It is silly penalizing sites for links in. In fact, it is silly assigning any kind of credibility to a site for links in. A better gauge of a web pages "value" is what links are going OUT from it. Links in are too easily manipulated to be relevant tools for ranking. The logarithm is severely flawed in this regard and is evident by so many outdated results and first pages of SERPs showing two or three sites only for all top 10 results.

  • 0208vinod

    A strategy which you can be followed to resolve this issue:
    1) Track your keyword ranking daily.
    2) Track your backlinks daily.
    3) If you see sudden fluctuation in ranking due to back link then remove those link by contacting webmaster of that site.

  • Armando Patiño

    Is there any way to know which link are considered bad links? Or how can we know if our website has been penalized?

  • Andrew Hurley

    I agree. We have done everything we can, including spending countless hours looking through links and disavowing bad links. We run a reputable business and pay Google thousands of dollars per months for Adwords. We have been denied yet again on our latest reconsideration request. Very frustrating.

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