Google Emailing Webmasters For Bad Links, Cloaking & More

Jan 6, 2011 • 9:08 am | comments (18) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Webmaster SEO ReportMatt Cutts of Google said in his PubCon Keynote a month or so ago that Google would be stepping up their notifications of spam issues and they indeed have.

In early December, Google started sending out notices of doorway pages via Google Webmaster Tools and now webmasters are receiving more spam notifications.

A paid WebmasterWorld thread has reports of Google warning over "unnatural links" and a Google Webmaster Help thread has reports of warnings over "cloaking". Both are against Google's Webmaster guidelines.

Unnatural Links warnings look like this:

Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links on [domain]!

We’ve detected that some or all of your pages are using techniques that are outside our quality guidelines, which are available here:

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. For more information about our linking guidelines, visit

We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please visit to submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

Cloaking Warning looks like this:

Dear site owner or webmaster of,

While we were indexing your webpages, we detected that some of your pages were using techniques that are outside our quality guidelines, which can be found here: This appears to be because your site has been modified by a third party. Typically, the offending party gains access to an insecure directory that has open permissions. Many times, they will upload files or modify existing ones, which then show up as spam in our index.

We detected cloaking on your site and suspect this is the cause. For example at we found:

racially online phentermine reviews racially biconvex Madames confuser Alberich adipex jackson ms guy Madames earls adipex uk buy biconvex confuser bewailing order adipex phentermine breath Alberich Eastwick sheik buttocks ambien 20mg dosage Madames bewailing bloated bowl diazepam vs xanax Steven occupies diligent penguin valium dosage iv confuser sniffed bowl monotonicity factual valium drug effects ambien cr bluelight Alberich sheik lorazepam od . Chariots adipex rx bewailing klonopin

For more information about what cloaking is, visit

In order to preserve the quality of our search engine, pages from are scheduled to be removed temporarily from our search results for at least 30 days.

We would prefer to keep your pages in Google's index. If you wish to be reconsidered, please correct or remove all pages (may not be limited to the examples provided) that are outside our quality guidelines. One potential remedy is to contact your web host technical support for assistance. For more information about security for webmasters, see http://googlewebmastercentral.blogsp...-now-what.html. When such changes have been made, please visit to learn more and submit your site for reconsideration.

Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team

Note: if you have an account in Google's Webmaster Tools, you can verify the authenticity of this message by logging into and going to the Message Center.

Have you also received quality guidelines emails or notices in Google Webmaster Tools recently?

Forum discussion at paid WebmasterWorld and Google Webmaster Help.

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Boris Zilberman

01/06/2011 03:18 pm

Do you see these warnings if it's already too late and your site has been slapped or as a preemptive warning?

William Topping

01/06/2011 04:11 pm

If you get these warnings then you need to take action as you're dropped from the index. Or, suffer a major drop. I imagine the unnatural links is going to be a toughie to resolve compared to the cloaking.

Falko Luedtke

01/06/2011 05:55 pm

OMG! At least they let you know that they think you are a Spammer now but question is if those links are not unnatural how to defend them? Cheers Falko


01/06/2011 11:36 pm

This is annoying, Google should have released a way of keeping track of their... well opinion... of a site without having to be dropped from the index first!

David Iwanow

01/07/2011 03:41 am

Hmm... i guess it's a move forward can someone keep a tally of how many clients receive due to cheap/automated link building campaigns...

Curt Cella

01/07/2011 04:58 am

Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team Now THAT is the single biggest laugh I've had in a while. ANYONE who spends some time focused on one market segment can tell you that Google is asleep at the switch: The same - pardon my french - crap litters the index day after day, month after month. Quality? Good grief: The words Google and QUALITY should NEVER be allowed in the same sentence. At best Google is doing a yeoman's job convincing folks that they care anymore about the quality of Web search and at worst they are just laughing their butts off reading the SEO comment boards like this one where folks all around me are speculating on doing this that and the other thing as they try to unravel the 'mystery' of high rankings. From what I've now seen there can't possibly be ANY connection between quality content and quality rankings. The "older" sites that have been around for awhile just have the TOP spots locked down tight no matter if they are a big steaming pile of you know what. The new(er) sites - less than 12 mos old? Forget it: You can have the best quality in the world and you're invisible. 1-2 years old? Same. Older sites have been grandfathered in by Google. They need not add any new content or try and improve quality. They just sit on their fat ass on slots 1 thru 10 and giggle their rears off at anything beneath them because Google basically acts as their protector with their unique brand of indifference to anything new - think about it: The whole concept of the Web is immediacy. Google takes that and flips it on its ear and basically puts everything new into a deep freeze... I literally want to vomit each and every time some Google guy spews "knowledge" about SEO best practices. What a crock.

SEO Freak Show

01/07/2011 02:58 pm

In theory, we could set up an unnatural link campaign on our competition to knock them out of the serp (for a limited time) with the help of Google....hahahahahaha... in theory... Wonder if Google considered this?


01/08/2011 10:05 am

From what I've now seen there can't possibly be ANY connection between quality content and quality rankings. The "older" sites that have been around for awhile just have the TOP spots locked down tight no matter if they are a big steaming pile of you know what.


01/10/2011 02:32 pm

Great read indeed - a must to clean up the current rankings. Spam has always had its place, but nevertheless - its something to experiment with on both side of the seo pond! moreover - perhaps nowadays a "Natural" Link profile encompasses some spam

Ryan @ Linkbuildr

01/10/2011 03:18 pm

I'm all for it as long as Google starts warning the biggest brands who are still getting away with paid links and selling links. They're so wishy washy these days!

SEO Professionals

08/08/2011 03:23 pm

A lot of people use e-mail as their method of communicating with other people in this day and age. In fact it is a lot more affordable to send out emails instead of sending out letters because of the cost of stamps. In fact you might know more than one person using email as their form of communicating with their close acquaintances, loved ones and relatives. And sadly you might be aware of a individual or two that will often use e-mail as a way of keeping in contact with their mystery lover.


03/19/2012 04:29 am

Scrapebox and some proxies or a vpn and you can get your comp banned systematically until you are the top site if this is the truth. Guess i need to buy that and get started, because you know the spammers are gonna do it to us. Can't tell me this will not happen.

Scism Internet Marketing

03/20/2012 02:34 pm

I was there when Matt Cutts was talking about this, it seemed like a great idea, and luckily I haven't received any emails yet! I do enjoy the notifications about crawl errors though. It helps to pinpoint those and get a nice report for each site you manage.

Mr. Hachis

03/21/2012 06:31 pm

The way Google behaves sometimes makes me wonder if it is worth it doing white hat seo at all. My site is two years old now and the only time I enjoyed top rankings was when i first launched the site. Now all my pages are ranked close to the end of Google search results.


03/24/2012 05:23 pm

Yeah, I just got  one of those dreaded  notices of detected unnatural links... 11 years old site. There's A TON of links to it from sites I know nothing about, did nothing about getting links from them and have absolutely no idea how to get any of them removed on any reasonable scale. In the 11 years the site was up, it's been scraped, automatically added to some  bull#$%t directories, has links to it (both regular and nofollow) from pages which I can't even begin to comprehend what they're for and how my link ended up there. Funniest thing is that most of those weird links are none other than Google's own search results scraped and rehashed. My site just happened to rank for the term the scraper was interested in at the moment, and that moment could be 5 years ago or more. And that's just what Google shows in WMT account, which is just a tip of the iceberg. In fact, many (most) of those links always made me wonder why Google had to index such sites in the first place. There are obviously good links to it, too. And the most ironic thing is that I can do something about removing those: I know at least some of the people that put up good links to me and can contact them and ask to remove my link (but I would not be so crazy as to actually do this) I would have to say that a notification email like this is no better than no email at all. If they did really want to provide some value to webmasters, they would have included a sample of such link. Or provide at least something to go by when trying to fix the issue.


03/28/2012 10:30 am

Just got one of these messages for first time ever and searched using Bing - I abandoned using Google over a year ago because it's full of adverts and rubbish results - for unnatural links. We've just added our webpages to a couple of product diretories - thefind and shopmania - so the sudden increase in links may be due to this. However, I'm sick of Google's holier than thou attitude. It's never liked my revised link structure so I really cannot be bothered if it doesn't like adding our site to wherever. We're putting efforts into other directions like facebook, PPC and other affiliates so hopefully it won't matter if we rank on google or not soon. My guess is google is desperate to remain in control so much so that it is actually perpetuating and increasing these problems. I wrote an article on it when we moved to Bing and I think it holds true


04/02/2012 03:39 pm

Google it's still sending the most of the users.

Mitz Build Websites

04/15/2014 11:07 am

What's even worse is when you get a penalty and go to the google support forum for help, they treat you like a bad person who knew they were doing wrong or an idiot, you can choose. They never think that other people created links to your site. they just jump to conclusions and judge you straight up .Google and it's disciples are holier than thou.

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