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Matt Cutts: Only 3% Of Those 700K Messages Were About Unnatural Links

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Google has put out a new Webmaster Help video with Matt Cutts doing what he does best – busting myths about Google. Google sent out a lot of messages to webmasters this year, and a lot of them were about unnatural links. However, not as many of them as you might think were actually about that.

“Today, I wanted to debunk a particular message that I’ve heard around on some black hat forums, where they say, ‘Google sent out over 700,000 unnatural link warnings,’ you know, earlier this year,” says Cutts. “That’s not the case, and I wanted to give you a lot more context and explanation.”

“Tiffany, a member of the webspam team, was at a search conference, and she showed a graph and basically explained that we had sent out over 700,000 messages in January and February,” he explains. “A lot of people misinterpreted that and said, ‘Oh, these are all about unnatural links,’ because we were taking action on link networks at the time, so everybody assumed that those messages were all about unnatural links. That’s not true. It turns out, roughly 90% of the messages we send out are about black hat, and we had just started adding that functionality, which was why it had grown a lot, and we were deciding to remark on it. So, out of the 700,000 messages that we sent in January and February of this year (2012), over 600,000 of them were about black hat. That’s like pure spam. You know..anybody can look at a site and tell, this is clear cut egregious…nobody wants to see this stuff.”

“It turns out, only about 3% of the messages that we were sending out were related to unnatural links,” he says. “So under 25,000 messages of the 700,000 messages we sent out were actually about unnatural links.”

Cutts says 25,000 is a relatively small set of people. It still seems like a lot to me.

Matt Cutts: Only 3% Of Those 700K Messages Were About Unnatural Links


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  • http://www.facebookggamestatuses.com matt

    I stopped believeing these numbers a long time ago. Take it with a pinch of salt.

    Google is no longer the “do no evil” company.

  • http://dinheirooportunidade.com custodio

    I received two of these such messages for “unnatural links” in one site (see url) in blatant cases of “negative seo”, the last one of which I responded to on October 27th (and included a disavow link request). To day I have not received a reply, nor has the situation been corrected, so either the number of messages is higher than Google is leading people to believe or Google has to few employees handling such cases…

  • Oz

    Tinfoil hat time, Matt!

    @custodio, you should have received a response by now. Make another one. Also, there are different types of notifications. Sometimes it’s not about a penalty (manual action), but to let you know they’ve been detected and ignored.

    More info: New notifications about inbound links

    Also consider what language your affected site is in and send a request in the same language (rather than English if you site is in Portuguese, for example).

    Good luck.

    • http://dinheirooportunidade.com custodio

      In my case the warning turned into an actual penalty and the blog has lost about 40% of search engine traffic. And I am talking about an authority site. The scary thing is, how easy it was for someone to create a dozen spammy sites on wordpress.com, blogspot and a couple of domains and “hurt” a site. This was blatant negative seo, if google bot can not spot this as negative seo that it just cann´t spot negative seo at all!

  • Tag A. Long

    Matt Cutts busting a myth?

    He is the Baghdad Bob of the internet, responsible for a myth a minute but as long as corrupt media outlets keep giving him face time I expect the show to go on.

  • http://www.cristao.ro/ Cristao.ro

    I received two of these such messages for “unnatural links” in one site (see url) in blatant cases of “negative seo”, the last one of which I responded to on October 27th (and included a disavow link request). To day I have not received a reply, nor has the situation been corrected, so either the number of messages is higher than Google is leading people to believe or Google has to few employees handling such cases…

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brick-Marketing-SEO-and-SEM-Firm/14204584980 Nick Stamoulis

    I didn’t get any warnings back in Jan/Feb, but from all the comments/posts/updates/forums I read it definitely felt like the majority of site owners were getting those unnatural links messages. I guess the usual black hat notifications just aren’t as exciting to talk about anymore.

  • http://www.zenoservices.com/ Zeno

    Gotta love the Panda t-shirt Matt!

  • http://www.marketappeal.com/ Anthony Sharot

    That 700k figure was from January/February, how many more have been sent since then?

  • True Mythbuster

    “Google has put out a new Webmaster Help video with Matt Cutts doing what he does best – busting myths about Google”

    How do you know that he is telling the truth Chris? You bust a myth when it’s easily verifiable, until then it’s just corporate spin.

  • http://Mabuzi.com Kevin

    How do you get 20 000 backlinks?

    • http://www.frisorgittejagd.dk Frisør Valby

      Adobe has about 3.5 mil if my memory serves me. :D

  • http://www.NicheWolf.com Dori From NicheWolf

    It is very hard for to believe most things that comes out of the mouth of Matt. Do a simple search on Google and you will know what I am saying.

    There are a lot of double standards in the serps these days. Some many things can’t be justified ….

    Too bad you don’t have a choice ; Google is King

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