Webmaster console adds message center

Remember when we had to pause emailing webmasters because someone was trying to spoof emails and pretending to be emailing from Google? I’m really happy that the Webmaster Central team has come up with a great way to address the problem: they’ve added a webmaster message center to the webmaster console. Now there’s an authenticated way for Google to communicate with webmasters in 10+ languages, and I expect this new communication channel to get more and more usage over time.

I was up in Kirkland on Monday visiting with the team, and I continue to be struck by how many useful new features they add and how much they listen to webmaster requests. Congrats to that entire team of folks. Respek. ๐Ÿ™‚

The webmaster console is chock full of good stuff, from backlinks to crawl errors. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s a really good idea.

55 Responses to Webmaster console adds message center (Leave a comment)

  1. Chip

    Backlinks, easily one of the best tools available to us.

    Message center will be nice down the road, but a welcome message would have been nice to checkout the new feature ๐Ÿ™‚

    Chip-

  2. From Google… “Initially the messages will refer to search quality issues”
    Great idea! Will save time from wondering what could be wrong by checking for messages, seeing there are none, or what steps need to be taken. Checked mine, no messages. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. This option is still a cop out – only because you are communicating with only the webmasters who have Google accounts.

    Webmasters that sophisticated KNOW when they are violating Google guidelines – also, if they are checking their Webmaster console, they are probably checking their sites and know if they have been hacked (with the exception of hidden hack codes).

    What is still lacking is the proactive ability to communicate with low-level Webmasters who do not use Google’s services and tools, or those who may have initially outsourced their projects.

    The case of Jennifer Convertibles is a classic example.

    If Google is going to ban good Websites because of so-called violations, it has an ethical obligation to proactively communicate with site owners.

    This is a challange that must be resolved without using easy cop-outs.

    You MUST continue emailing and add the explanation that others are spoofing the Google emails.

    The bottom line is – if the problem you are informing Webmasters about do exists – it can be verified by them!

    Either the problem exists or it does NOT exist.

    You can also include a return email address or to allow Webmasters to reply and verify that the mail came from Google.

    This could be automated or it could be outsourced.

    But obligations and commitments must be maintained to be as fair as possible to Website owners.

    Easy, shallow solutions are unbecoming.

  4. Glad to hear it. Thanks guys.

  5. Harith

    Matt,

    Your current post deserves to be moved to the supplementals index for its “Duplicate” nature. Both Danny and Barry have already been there ๐Ÿ™‚

    Ok. Its a great addition to the Google-Webmasters communications channels. Power to our friends at Webmaster Central team.

    Having said that; I don’ยดt wish to receive one of those webmaster console. messages at all ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Dave (original)

    SearcHEnGineSWeB, why should Google HAVE to correspond with any Webmasters? Google exists to serve its end users, not those of us that are getting a free piggy back on their success for our own profit.

    IMO Google do a great job of both communicating AND delivering more free traffic that all the other SE’s combined.

    If Google is going to ban good Websites because of so-called violations, it has an ethical obligation to proactively communicate with site owners

    IMO it’s the other-way-around. Website owners that want free inclusion in *Google’s Index*, have an “ethical obligation” to read & understand the Google guidelines.

  7. Joe

    Webmaster central is great – but is it real time? I love the sitemap & analytics, but constantly find myself heading back to the server logs to get more accurate information. Google is better at presenting it, but not in a timely fashion.

    My major problem (and question, I guess): Will Google get the analytics and sitemap program into real time info? For example, I have a fairly new site that is quickly getting indexed, backlinked, crawled, and cached. Has been that way for more than a month. Google sees it, reads it, stores it, and presents it in searches. And yet half of my sitemap statistics “don’t have enough information”. (Seems fine for other, older sites in there).

    Are we all part of a beta program that is still working out the bugs? Or, is the the speed and reporting we should expect? I know that patience is a virtue, but nothing frustrates the “new site” owner more than incomplete data to determine what strategies are/aren’t working.

    Thanks Matt!

  8. SearcHEnGineSWeB, we do plan to resume emailing as well. We’re going to give it a little bit of time to let the Message Center work, but over time I think we’ll find a good balance. But the Message Center gives us a way to authenticate those emails when we do decide to resume sending them.

  9. Harith, I further set my post apart by adding an Ali G “Respek” shout out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Matt

    It’s a pity that Google doesn’t apply the same level of logic and sanity to some of its other systems that forge the sender part thus breaking any implementation of SPF

    Regards

    Michele

  11. I’m in with Original Dave. Google gives us a free conduit with which to communicate with thousands, millions, billions? of potential readers.

    What is the cost? Simply time spent studying google’s habits and rules. A small cost to pay for google carrying our message to interested people.

    I could spend $1,000 per week sending direct mail to have 1000 people possibly read my message, or I could spend time studying, writing, drawing, and creating, and no money spent and have 1000 people interested in my topic arrive on the wings of google at no cost.

    Thanks Goog!

    Matt, keep an eye out for my big pad of paper this weekend!
    wordcamp!
    dk

  12. Jรผrgen

    Erm… Why don’t you just sign your messages using PGP or X.509? Besides solving the trust problem, this would be a great incentive for more people to have a look at this much-needed class of software…

  13. Ian

    Is spelled “Rethpekpt” innit? ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Robert Schroeder

    Well, I have “No messages”.
    Don’t you contact site owners that have a 950 penalty?
    I’d be glad to fix the problem whatever it is.

  15. Dave (original)

    Wrong again igor. Google users ARE its searchers not Webmasters. Webmaster can choose to block googlebot if they see fit, yet Google does its utmost to index ALL pages at no cost to site owners and in return it has made many Webmaster wealthy.

    They also supply umpteen free tools to Webmasters. Just *one* example is Google analytics. Before that went live, Webmasters would be looking at big $$ to have such detailed reports.

    Google give MUCH MORE back to Webmasters than they take and that’s NOT including the free money traffic they deliver!

    It seems the more Google GIVE Webmasters, the more they expect.

    You are moaning in another of Matt’s posts about your site page(s) being dropped after you spammed Google. Now you suggest they are making money on the backs of Webmasters! So why on Earth don’t you block googlebot from all your sites?

    Me thinks you are VERY confused ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. “…because someone was trying to spoof emails and pretending to be emailing from Google?”

    Yeah, why the heck were they doing that anyway? To make people panic and think Google was dishing out penalties randomly? WTF?

  17. Why not do both? Email the webmaster and place a message in the console.
    That way the webmaster can be sure that the email is not being spoofed as the spoofer will not be able to add messages to the console.

    If the webmaster does not have a google account they are still sent the email, which includes a message about creating a google account to verify the message. Once they have verified they own the domain any previous emails regarding that domain are added to their console, that way they can check them against any emails received.

  18. This is good – but would great if this was a 2 way communication instead of 1 way.

  19. avecfrites

    Now Google expects webmasters to be able to speak 10+ languages? C’mon, that’s evil. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Hey, Matt that a good move but why google tkes time to update its data in the webmaster tool –

    don’t you think it should become more revealing…

  21. Backlinks: it would be nice to have the backlink anchor text included, and the PR of the page.

    One more issue I have with WC: why don’t past errors disappear? Will they stay there forever, even when they’ve been fixed already?

  22. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. I noticed the Message Center showed up in my GWT last night; there were no messages in it and my account has 67 sites – so, no news is probably good news, right? Has anyone actually gotten any messages, yet?

    I just hope it doesn’t work the way the AdSense “messages” work – that was pretty lame. They announced we were going to start getting messages and tips about our accounts, and all that showed up for three months were automated messages about having too many sites in our filters (anyone who had even one site got the message) and adding more ad blocks to our pages (anyone with only one ad block got one of those) The value of course immediately plummeted – now we just want to be able to get them off our console. My messages from April are still there.

    But it’s nice to think they’re listening. I have a list of things a mile long for GWT, from fixing broken things to making it easier for us to deal with everyday issues like multiple domains pointing to the same sites, companies that buy other companies and have to swallow their websites (had this happen with three different clients so far this year) and so on. I send them in occasionally, but never get any acknowledgement or idea if anyone’s listening.

    Sometimes it seems like it’s more direct and useful to go enter something on WMW instead. Maybe I’ll do that.

  23. Thanks for this Google. Would be great to set up an e-Mail Alert if something is in this Inbox to get it forwarded by e-Mail or getting an Alert that something is there.

  24. Igor, I stopped my daily reading here mainly because of your comments. I really wish you could restrain yourself, but since you can’t, I guess I should check back in another month or so.

  25. Matt,

    The webmaster console is a great tool but also be very frustrating. For example, the console makes it easy to spot an anomaly but doesn’t identify the cause.

    Sometimes it is a language issues. The following warning dated 11 June appeared in late June.

    ‘When we tested a sample of the URLs from your Sitemap, we found that some URLs were not accessible to Googlebot because they contained too many redirects. Please change the URLs in your Sitemap that redirect and replace them with the destination URL (the redirect target). All valid URLs will still be submitted. ‘

    Thanks to a reply from a post in webmaster world (no one responded to my post on the webmaster blog) I quickly discovered that the warning had nothing to with my sitemap, which is clean and only shows destination urls, and everything to do with an inadvertent error in my 301 redirect.

    Other times itโ€™s near impossible to determine the cause creating the anomaly. For example, I woke up one morning to find that the once the green bar that measures the number of pages not yet indexed had moved from a tiny speck to a full bar overnight. Apart the new content added weekly I hadn’t made any changes, structural or otherwise, to the site in months. When weeks later I discovered (and fixed) a bad url that wasn’t returning 404 or 301 the green bar disappeared. I can only imagine it wasn’t a coincidence.

  26. Is spelled โ€œRethpekptโ€ innit?

    Don’t playa hate, y0. If you don’t know about Respek, you shouldn’t front like you do. West Staines Massiv!

    Seriously, this sounds pretty cool. I’d like to check it out, but my cable modem connection is going at about dialup.

  27. Potentially a very useful addition – but it’d probably give me a heart attack if one day I log in and it tells me that I have “1 new message of doom” waiting!

    Talking of GWT, why is it if you set it up on a subdomain, it’ll always show “We do not have data for this site.” in the “Your page with the highest PageRank” section?

    Finally, agreed with Netmeg about Igor by the way. Looking through the WordPress plugin list – this sounds perfect (not tried it myself tho)!
    http://www.ozpolitics.info/blog/wordpress-plugins/#yellow

  28. corey

    igor, please don’t forget that you are “someone who is diluting the quality of comments”

    do you remember when Matt told you that just last week? is it obvious to you yet that you’re the most annoying troll on this website?

  29. I’m with Igor – two way communication is vital. I’m grateful that Google has moved to this model, similar to how financial institutions have moved to messaging within an authenticated account manager. However, I’d really like to see Google adopt the entire model. With my bank, I can quickly open an inquiry and get a reply back. Granted, I’m a direct consumer, and, as has been argued in other comments, a webmaster may/may not be the direct consumer for Google. But, Google provides the Help Group – even if opening an inquiry just posts a message to the Help group (and notifies you of a response), that’s a step in the right direction. I also think it would be good to classify message importance. That way (like with the bank), I can also be informed of non-critical messages. A perfect example was when Google (et al) adopted the sitemap inclusion for the robots file. That would have been a great ‘all user’ message to distribute, instead of post on the blog for only those that keep up.

  30. jake

    Chris, good find on the plugin.
    Matt, i like the update to the console for messages, nice feature.
    Got a question maybe you or someone else here can answer
    For the statistics on “Top search queries ” that shows what I imagine to be where we place in the Google SERPS for that particular keyword or keyphrase. Would it be possible to may have it set up where we can add 5 keywords or phrases that we can monitor instead of having to search through 981 results (tongue in cheek) to see where we are?
    for my main search term, I’m 613th, and i dont imagine anyone searching that long, so I don’t think that term will ever populate in my “top search queries”, as it is a highly competitive phrase, the “Holy Grail” if you will……
    Anyway, thanks, btw, whats up with your blog? Trying to install a plugin and it keeps hanging?

  31. Dave (original)

    Seems like Matt asking igor nicely to refrain from trolling didn’t register.

    Igor, you ARE ruining Matt’s blog!

  32. Yes i must say that the webmaster’s console is GREAT we here really love it! Every time you expand it it’s only in our benefit and with that i have to say thank you

  33. I have not checked it out yet but if it is good…Big ups and much respek.

    I hope it warns of a possible Google penalty. I could have used that 90 days ago. However, all is well now that I am out of the penalty box. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Matt: Does you think Igor should be chucked out of this blog?

  34. The beauty of having people use things for the wrong purpose is that it drives the pursuit and creativity of a better product/solution. Without common abuses there would not be much improvement. Its similar to a business needed competition or it does not improve.

  35. Dave (original)

    I vote YES! He has been banned from other Google blogs for trolling, ask nicely by Matt a few times, but persists to troll.

  36. JAKE – wrt your problem with constantly varying page counts.. I’ve experienced the very same thing.

    I had it explained to me (I think on the Google webmaster help forum, I think by Adam) that Google uses a kind of ‘algorithmic guess’ for the page count rather than a truly accurate calculation for that particular parameter in a bid to keep the processing power required per search down so that the searches can be returned to the user at the lightning fast speed we’re used to ๐Ÿ™‚

    w.r.t. comments by the other posters – a little story… I love Australian wildlife – there is a certain type of bird here called a ‘bush turkey’ which is a big, extremely territorial largely flightless bird that once a year makes its way out of the bush surrounding urban areas to nest. I think it’s really cool that they manage to thrive on the urban fringe, and I used to leave some bread out for ‘berty the bird’ as I called him, on a fairly regular basis.

    Next thing I knew, Berty stopped heading back into the wild after nesting, took up residence in my back yard, and with soldier like vigour spent all year round building an enormous nest (about 5 metres high by 5 metres wide in the end) with all the expensive chip-bark I’d bought to landscape the place. He also started knocking his beak on my back door at about 5 in the morning demanding food.

    I reached a point where the enjoyment of having berty around was outweighed by the fact he was disturbing me and generally dominating my back yard (plus he’d nicked a couple of thousand dollars worth of chip bark from the plants, which was great for him but not fair to the plants).

    My eventual solution was just to quit feeding him – He moved on within about a month, and now he just visits once in a blue moon during the nesting season and we enjoy each others company again ๐Ÿ™‚

    doc

  37. Glad to know someone watched it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  38. Harith

    โ€˜Berty the birdโ€™ cellebrating the 2nd anniversary of Matt Cutts Blog ๐Ÿ™‚

    On 11th August 2005 and during SES San Jose, Matt announced the emerge of his “Gadgets-blog”.

    That means that we have something to cellebrate soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Liz

    I am glad this option has been put in. I would like to know when my website has been bad. I just noticed my keyword denisty for ebay design has just gone though the roof (11%) which caused a decrease in ranking of that page. I had not really meant to keyword stuff, I just blog alot about ebay design! I await the day when the google bot tells you off specifically for your errors.

  40. Hi Matt!
    I just watched all your videos on Google Video about the seo stuff and I realy appreciate it. Thanks for sharing all this knowledge and this valueable hints.

  41. “Igor the Troll, what an insult..will see how laughs lastโ€ฆ

    IMAO inbreeds”

    Igor, how many times have I told you to restrain your comments? I’ve had enough–I just deleted your comments. You are no longer welcome on my blog.

  42. jake

    Heeh, good for you Matt, and please keep in mind that this should be no reflection of your employer Google, but the culmanation of the opinions of people that visit “your personal blog”.

  43. jake, I gave warning. That’s enough politeness.

  44. jake

    Also, as i thought further about my previous post, I know there are alot of “SEO Softwares” that tell you your position in the search engines for keywords, and I know google at least has no-nos about using automated software to scan the results. If Google, (as well as the other search engines) had some of those features, (which they already do, number of pages in index, link reports, yada yada yada), it would be a great addition. I’d so much like to see where I rank for those 5 keywords or phrases. I’ll pop over to the forum and mention it there.

  45. Sarah Fields

    Hi Matt – thank you for all your information, it’s been extremely helpful.

    What I would like to ask is does the addition of the Message centre have any correlation to the latest update. I post on an SEO forum and there are several, including myself, who seemed have lost all our organic traffic from Google during the last update. Some are very large sites that have been online for several years and none of us using any Black Hat tactics.

    My site isn’t perfect and I’ve since made some changes to the robots.txt which will get rid of any duplicate issues, so hopefully that will help (it’s never been a problem before). But the pattern looks distinctly like we’ve been issued penalties although so far I have no message to tell me that I have. My site was steadily climbing in the weeks up to the update as was traffic, and now I don’t appear even for my own domain, even though Google crawls regularly and my Webmaster console says everything is okay.

    Myself and the other site owners are at a loss as to why – just wondering if the inclusion of the Message centre was as a result of this to let those know when they have been penalised or if we don’t get a message then we have been hit by a bug in an update.

    This isn’t a case of our competitors taking over, we all still have pages listed but our rankings have plummented. Obviously we are very concerned as Google contributes significantly to our livelihoods.

    Many thanks for your time taken to read this.

    Sarah

  46. Dave (original)

    Matt, you have the patience of a Saint IMO.

  47. I am impressed – ten videos later – u`re still introducing “for some dry stuff” quit interesting. And eventuallly I feel. I understand more and more from that SEO stuff.

  48. rob

    ๐Ÿ™‚ super that you added this option. Even better would be to have the possibility to communicate back. Anyway a good option, and good thing to focus on the best way of communicating together.

    Thanks
    Rob

  49. I think this is a great idea…. I can’t wait for my first message.

    Never thought I’d be replying to a Gadgets, Google and SEO blog….lol

  50. Echoing what Jรผrgen said above, PGP/GPG signatures would be the sane answer to this problem. Granted, this solution isn’t as immediate, given general ignorance of public-key cryptography; but, let’s look at this as a “teachable moment” rather than an obstacle…

  51. Now that they CAN message me, I wish they WOULD message me.

    I’ve sent dozens of “Reconsideration Requests” without hearing a response.

    Right now, it feels as if Google laid off everyone in that department.

  52. really nice post… and this one is very interesting…

    more power

  53. I know someone who received an “email from google”. Ha! Everybody says it was a joke, but he really believes that It’s from G. Anyway, I’m waiting my message. It’s frustrating when you don’t know what happen with your site. I think that It’s so unfair, there are a lot of sites copying the other’s content and they are in first results… and sites with original contents are penalized without warning. I suppose that Google knows which is the original content and which the copies, right?

    Great post

  54. Hi Matt I wasn’t sure where to ask this question so I decided to ask it to a matching blog post of you. Im a dutch webmaster and also have english (US) sites. Made a mistake on a site so got panalized for some prime keywords I used to have on google US. Fixed the site a long time ago, but when I file a reconsideration for it it goes to the country I am living in. So I’m getting people from Google Netherlands who look at the site, and in google.nl it has some of the penalized terms back in the SERPs, but still not in Google US. A couple of days ago I thought I’d change the url of webmaster tools from ‘hl=nl’ (Netherlands) to ‘hl=en’ en got the english menu etc. So I resend the reconsideration request, also written in english ofcourse. Will this reach Google US? Or do I have to go another route? Thanks in advance.

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