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.