Old Unnatural Links Messages Being Resurrected
Over the last couple of weeks it has come to light that because of the way Google emails webmasters old messages, former communications related to unnatural links warnings are being received as though they are new messages.
We have had a couple of instances of being contacted by clients panicking somewhat that they have received another Unnatural links message from Google. Quite naturally, if you receive this type of email, one of the first things that you do is ask your SEO campaigner about it.
I was 100% confident that since April last year when the original warning emails were generated, we had not built any links that would have triggered this message. However, merely ignoring these messages was not an option, so I endeavoured to probe deeper into what had caused these emails to be sent.
My probing revealed that both accounts that had received the messages were similar – not only had they both received unnatural links message in April, and they both had a manual action revoked message in June.
It is important to note that both accounts currently have great rankings, with one of them competing successfully against larger brands in its field.
The first thing that made me suspicious about these messages was that we have both of these websites in our own webmaster tools accounts. When we were made aware of the emails from Google, we checked our own accounts and no new messages could be found there. Nothing had been fed into our accounts’ message centre and we have ownership accounts for the website.
Secondly, in both cases, the clients had recently verified their own webmaster tools accounts. By this time, I was confident these messages were the old messages getting emailed to the client and not new emails being sent.
The most important component of this whole saga was to try and recreate the issue to make sure it was acceptable to essentially ignore these emails. In order to effectively get to the bottom of the problem, I chose another of my clients, who had been affected by the same situation and, with their permission; I added and verified their website into my own private webmaster tools account.
Once I had verified the website, despite the unnatural links message having been resolved, the historic messages were still placed into my message centre.
It is important to note that this isn’t an error by Google, as the search engine giants are, in actual fact, feeding important information to a webmaster. However, as part of the webmaster tool functionality, if it is set up correctly, Google will automatically send any new messages to the account holder, resulting in what appears to be a new webmaster ‘old links’ warning.
In light of my investigations I am satisfied that the warning of unnatural links sent by Google could be dismissed and no further action was required.
Although I would never advise anybody to ignore messages similar to these, it has to be said that in this situation, the emails sent by the search engine giants were nothing more than previous Google guidance.