Last week, we looked at a webmaster's claim that Google was calling one of his natural, legitimate links unnatural, and now Google may have realized it that it made a mistake.
The webmaster had said he received a warning earlier in the year, which he deemed "understandable," as he had worked with SEO agencies in the past that did advertorials, and was spammed with "really bad links" by other sites. He said he spent months contacting webmasters, getting links removed and nofollowed, and had about 500 links disavowed. Essentially, according to him, the site in question should have been in good shape, but when Google responded to his reconsideration request, it gave an example link that appeared to not be violating any guidelines.
Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable, who originally pointed out the forum post in which the webmaster shared his story, now points to a comment made by a Googler in that same thread. Google's Eric Kuan had this to say about the situation:
Thanks for your feedback on the example links sent to you in your reconsideration request. We'll use your comments to improve the messaging and example links that we send.
If you believe that your site no longer violates Google Webmaster Guidelines, you can file a new reconsideration request, and we'll re-evaluate your site for reconsideration.
It's not exactly admitting the mistake, but as Schwartz notes, it's interesting that they would even respond in this scenario otherwise. They're using the comments to improve messaging. Does that mean they realize there is merit to what this guy is saying, and will use that to keep from making similar mistakes in the future? That's what it sounds like.
Google seems to be all about some feedback. The company even surprised webmasters last week with a form asking about "small sites" that should rank better in Google's results.