Panda Notifications Being Sent Via Google Webmasters Tools? Not Yet

Mar 7, 2012 • 9:31 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Panda NotificationsUpdate: Matt Cutts of Google notified me these are not Panda notifications. I still do believe these are new notifications, just not Panda specific. Matt commented on this below and tweeted it. John Mueller from Google said on Google+:

We send out a lot of notifications, I wouldn't necessarily see them as being limited to any single change / penalty / algorithm change. The goal is usually not to identify specific algorithms, but rather to help the webmaster to improve the quality of the website overall.

In this particular case, it was automatically sent at some point after an initial manual review (Matt talks a bit about the differences at When are penalties lifted? ). There are some messages that are more automated (eg outdated CMS version alerts, malware, etc), and others that need more manual input, so it's not really possible to generalize based on this individual message. It's great seeing more feedback flowing to webmasters, and I'm also happy to see that these messages can help to guide the discussions on the forums.

We know Google has seriously ramped up webmaster communication, so when I saw a Google Webmaster Help thread where someone received a notification about their pages being "low-quality," I was not surprised.

The message read:

We've detected that some of your site's pages may be using techniques that are outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

Specifically, we detected low-quality pages on your site which do not provide substantially unique content or added value.

That sounds like a Panda notification to me!

Almost 9 months ago, I asked Google to send webmasters Panda notifications and it now seems they are doing so.

Google has not confirmed with me on the record that this is indeed a Panda notification but I am told this is a newish notification being sent to Webmasters via Google Webmaster Tools.

So if you think you site was hit by Panda, I guess this message might confirm it for you.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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03/07/2012 03:20 pm

Interesting, although you have to wonder how effective this is. If someone tends to check their reports and they were affected by Panda surely by now they would have worked it out? And the message only confirms that there is a problem, it does not help someone find and fix the problem content.  I just checked my Webmaster Tools account, no messages. A good thing I guess ..... 

Matt Cutts

03/07/2012 04:12 pm

Hey Barry, that message is not a Panda notification. We're not sending Panda notifications via the webmaster console.

Barry Schwartz

03/07/2012 04:13 pm

Based on the IP address of this comment, I think this is a real Matt Cutts. Updating story. I did email press earlier.


03/07/2012 04:14 pm

I wish Google would give a better definition of good content. They are always ambiguous.


03/07/2012 04:26 pm

I have always wished to see Google sending a notification first instead of just banning the website.  From the current activities, it looks like Google is doing the same. So, abig thumbs up to Google.


03/07/2012 04:28 pm

Google provide pretty good advice on what it thinks good content is. Besides, Panda is more about repeated fluff than content that is simply nonsensical. In fact, I have seen some pretty dumb websites outrank better written sites, they just simply avoid triggering the Panda.


03/07/2012 04:40 pm

Hmmm, I am guess that this sounds more like a thin affiliate content alert then?


03/07/2012 05:57 pm

You did warn commercial sites to become "brands," or, in other words to advertise. That's a good notification from the world's largest advertising agency.

Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

03/07/2012 07:12 pm

I'm reading Mr. Cutts's  comment that the notice is not Panda specific but covers multiple sins including Panda.

Not Jeff

03/07/2012 07:46 pm

I read it the same way. So many sins and potential penalties for sites, it's better try Adwords for guaranteed traffic.

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