Google On Why Links Within Webmaster Tools May Or May Not Be Enough

Aug 19, 2013 • 9:13 am | comments (37) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Webmaster ToolsBack in early June I reported how Google told us that the only links you need are the links in Webmaster Tools for reconsideration request purposes. Then about a week ago, we showed a clear example of Google showing us the opposite, where links in Webmaster Tools did not show up even though Google themselves called out a bad link.

So I questioned Google about this and published the response on Search Engine Land.

Google's Matt Cutts said:

It’s certainly the case that we endeavor to show examples from the set of links returned by Webmaster Tools, and likewise we prefer to assess reconsideration requests on that basis of those links. However, if there’s a really good example link that illustrates a problem, we do leave enough room to share that link, especially because it can help point the webmaster in a better direction to diagnose and fix issues.

Honestly, I am not 100% clear what to make from this.

Can we as webmasters and SEOs rely on the links within Google Webmaster Tools? Doesn't seem like we can. Right? Well, maybe not fully.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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08/19/2013 01:20 pm

Barry, you better nofollow that link to Search Engine Land. You're going to get in trouble. Or will you? Nobody knows... but you might.

Praveen Sharma

08/19/2013 01:23 pm

It's time that we should not take Matt's comments so seriously as we all know, what he says, Google does exactly opposite to that. Take it 'Links from Webmaster Tools' or 'Nofollowing PR links'... list goes on.


08/19/2013 02:47 pm

Exactly. If anyone really thinks that webmasters/SEO's are going to start controlling ranking with some quirky link disavow tool, they really don't know Google. I also think that they may have set x-number of visits per site per day, which is why most can't recover. Every time my sites start to climb, and they climb well, after 2-3 days, they go back into the tank. Wouldn't be so bad in my situation, but I'm old and depend upon the earnings for food and clothing. It's not fun being naked and hungry these days. When the first Panda hit, I lost 90% of my traffic, never had a penalty, received gifts from Google in those days as 'thank you rewards', had my own special go-to person who conversed with me via email, and I've never recovered. I've done everything that I've seen suggested, and it only served to knock me down further. My sites are based on hugely-rich content. I look at competing sites, some of which steal my content and post it on the 'free use' stip, and they give me no-follows for credit, of course. And MY CONTENT ON THEIR PAGE RANKS HIGH! One competitor has ads posted all over the pages, none relating to their content with a the long 90-ad at the top of their page. Go figure. It sucks to be me right now, but at least I have a clean conscience. I've never done anything against the AdSense guidelines, was even contacted by major ad companies at one time and refused to go that route. In hindsight, stupid me.

Up to My Neck with M Cutts

08/19/2013 02:54 pm

Barry, you asked a very specific question and I don't think you received an answer least not in English. I mean, I can see that the letters and the words are written in English, but I have no clue as to what this "reply" means. Someone please tell me I'm crazy here. Insanity is a better option than trying to derive any meaning in this response from Mr. Cutts.


08/19/2013 02:54 pm

It should be obvious by now that Google is trying to induce a state of confusion in the webmaster community. It has worked rather well.


08/19/2013 03:01 pm

Do people still waste time trying to recover from Panda and Penguin? The best you can hope for is a partial recovery (10%, 20% improvements I've witnessed from various forums) - most likely you'll get ZERO improvements. Why not spend that time generating leads from other marketing channels? There's a big and exciting world outside of Google - a world that basically rewards you for your efforts - think about that...! :)

Craig Hamilton-Parker

08/19/2013 03:04 pm

Exactly the same as my situation Frank - a once top ranking site with all unique and quality content, no sneaky SEO tricks but sunk by Google. And I find the same - as soon as my site starts a steep climb it gets shot down again as if they hit it for getting traffic without paying. Makes you wonder... I think they look for high traffic sites ranking for expensive keywords and hit them hard - "Make them pay!!!" yell the accountants - as simple as that.


08/19/2013 03:29 pm

Sorry to hear about this, Craig. I have to wonder if the search is organic these days. There are a lot of stories like ours. We climb, and then when we reach a certain amount of traffic, we're taken down again. The reps are so cheery and polite in their videos and they have that PBS-nerd-type feel to them, yet many of us have suffered, have cried, are worried, and have lost quite a lot because of the Panda. Rooting out spam was a genius idea but they did more damage than good by harming those who weren't involved in spam.


08/19/2013 03:42 pm

Danny Sullivan and Barry are good old buddies of Matt Cutts. They can link to whomever they want. There won't ever be a penalty. And if there'll be a penalty, than it won't have an effect, and if it'll have an effect, than they'll be warned before.

Craig Hamilton-Parker

08/19/2013 03:58 pm

They really are Evil. Like you, I build a good legitimate business over 15 years - with good values at its core - and it was taken away over night. I still have a 250,000 subscriber newsletter and I encourage them all to switch to Bing so they can still find us.


08/19/2013 04:35 pm



08/19/2013 06:13 pm

It's a sad sign when a technical company can act so political.


08/19/2013 07:24 pm

You seem to have made a few typos. Don't worry about it, I fixed them for you. Danny Sullivan and Barry have a nice link profile, a loyal use base, and great user interaction. They can link to whomever they want. There won't ever be a penalty as long as they don't forget everything they know about search and start spamming. And if there'll be a penalty, than it will have an effect, and if it'll have an effect, than they'll find out when they start to notice inconsistencies in their visitor/interaction data.


08/19/2013 08:52 pm

"I still have a 250,000 subscriber newsletter and I encourage them all to switch to Bing so they can still find us." Subscribers don't know your URL ? Where did you get them ? Anyway, try to write your web address by big red letters in the newsletter, instead of pointing them to the search engine. Furthermore, no doubt that your website's goal is to SELL. Why Google should deliver free traffic to you, so you could convert it to money? BUY TRAFFIC (paying for advertising), if you don't have your own or change your business model. No free traffic for sellers !!! I'm, being a publisher, absolutely agree with Google in this case (this rarely happens lately).

Craig Hamilton-Parker

08/19/2013 09:00 pm

I gathered the subscribers over many years before it was hit by Panda. For years and before Google slithered onto the scene, it was simply a community with no commercial aims but of course eventually I saw it as a way to make a livelihood. Sadly the buy ads on Google model only allows for purely commercial projects.


08/19/2013 09:05 pm

It was replied tens of times already. Shortly - visit Venice boulevard in LA and see how many talented people are there. Then ask yourself why thousands of them are down the Hills and just couple are in Beverly Hills. Content is not the king anymore, but just one important ingredient among many others.


08/19/2013 09:08 pm

But your website is "purely commercial project". That's why I wrote, what I wrote.


08/20/2013 03:37 am

it is "normal" situation at google at this days.


08/20/2013 03:39 am

Google is a massive beast and I believe it is so complex that no one really knows how it all plugs together. Or they are arrogant and don’t really care about webmasters – just the bottom dollar.


08/20/2013 03:41 am

because it was before a search engine. now it something different, not human-friendly.


08/20/2013 03:42 am

all business is "purely commercial projects".


08/20/2013 03:47 am

google search may be work correctly or may be not. Yes, but sometimes........


08/20/2013 05:14 am

Time and again Google always confuses with it's double talk. Guess even Matt Cutts is confused.

jitendra vaswani

08/20/2013 08:00 am

Why Google is puttting webmasters in dilemma


08/20/2013 09:21 am

I'd even go as far to say that business owners are HURTING their business by focusing on trying to improve after Penguin and Panda. GIVE IT UP. You have a website, USE IT. Drive traffic to this site through other channels. FORGET GOOGLE. Google is but one channel. Pick up the phone. Visit forums and join communities. Get on the social networks. Roll your sleeves up and succeed. How much time are you wasting being obsessed with Google? People are still people, and still need your product or service. Go to them rather than wait for them to come to you. Google is OVER.


08/20/2013 09:23 am

I am agree with you. google is not all of the world, we not need to follow their rules. Need to focus on other search engines and traffic sources and ban googlebot from visiting our sites (less content sources for google), and for google you can create new "white" site. Soon people will understand where REAL sites and it not will at google "something" engine.

Flower Delivery Guy

08/20/2013 09:44 am

webmaster tools has always been somewhat of a puzzle. Clearly it has been left behind and in need of an overhaul.


08/20/2013 10:23 am

People need to take control of their businesses again. Right now I see a lot of businesses become emasculated by Google. They literally shape their site's content around Google, not their customers. They wait for Google to tell them what to do and how to do it. It's actually pathetic to witness. It's high time these businesses had a wake-up call before it's too late for them. Stop betting your money on a losing horse. Take control of your operations, have the will to succeed outside of Google. For those that rely on high volume, free search traffic - the game is over. For all other businesses, there's lots of hope for you if you're willing to force success, and remember that outside of Google, what you put in, you get out. With Google, you're unlikely to be rewarded no matter how hard you work. Your choice.


08/20/2013 01:24 pm

The only source I can trust to find bad links is Majestic SEO (not affiliate). Even OSE and GWT are aligned and not giving all picture ! it's a shame, we need something like dead yahoo! link explorer ... Google please listen to us ;)


08/20/2013 02:13 pm

why so complicated? just need to create separate site & blackhat it. let google network clusters get some extra work & their storage place get more spin content for permanent storage. promote wikipedia, youtube, etc. put links at every even spammy site. help to googlebot to completely lost in cyberspace.


08/20/2013 05:34 pm

guy, your method sounds complicated and dependent on Google. Why dependent on Google? Since 2012 I'm INdependent of Google and I control my income by how hard (or not) I want to work. The lack of stress itself is worth it.


08/20/2013 07:19 pm

it just a idea. because what you tell - exactly what google want.


08/20/2013 09:43 pm

Google want me to not rely on Google? Fine by me :)

Soni Sharma

08/21/2013 04:41 am

Yes you are right Barry, we can't rely 100% on Google's webmaster tools.


08/21/2013 06:10 am

Hey Barry ! It seems to be there are too much competition out there between search engines and social media's sites and this time Google has just taken an initiates and it's good at least. According to Matt Cutts, Google Webmaster Tools will only show back-link which is idle and good links & rest spamming links will not appears !


08/21/2013 12:29 pm

"According to Matt Cutts, Google Webmaster Tools will only show back-link which is idle and good links & rest spamming links will not appears !" Where did Matt say that?


08/22/2013 03:13 am

If webmasters cannot rely 100% on links on webmaster tools, where then can they find the correct information about links to their sites?

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