Back 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+.