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How many messages did Google send about unnatural links?

How many messages did Google send about unnatural links? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Hey, everybody. This is Matt Cutts, and today, I wanted to debunk a particular message that I’ve heard around on some black hat forums, where they say Google sent out 700,000 unnatural link warnings earlier this year. That’s not the case, and I wanted to give you a lot more context and explanation. So, Tiffany, a member of the Webspam team, was at a search conference, and she showed a graph and basically explained that we had sent out over 700,000 messages in January and February. A lot of people misinterpreted that and said, oh, these are all about unnatural links. Because we were taking action on link networks at the time, and so everybody assumed, oh, those messages were all about unnatural links. That’s not true. It turns out, roughly 90% of the messages that we send out are about black hat. And we had just started adding that functionality, which was why it had grown a lot, and we were deciding to remark on it. So, out of the 700,000 messages that we sent in January and February of this year, 2012, over 600,000 of them were about black hat. That’s like pure spam. Anybody can look at a site and tell, this is clear cut. It’s egregious. Nobody else wants to see this stuff. It turns out only about 3% of the messages that we were sending out were related to unnatural links. So under 25,000 messages of the 700,000 messages that we sent out were actually about unnatural links. So there was definitely a misunderstanding where a lot of people heard the stat that we were sending out 700,000 messages, and a lot of people were getting the messages about unnatural links, because we were getting better at finding those link networks. But it’s not the case that we sent out 700,000 messages only about links. 90% of it, over 600,000, was about black hat spam. Only about 3%, or under 25,000 of those messages, were about unnatural links. So the next time you see somebody on a black hat forum with their conspiracy theories, saying Google’s just sending link warnings to everybody, and they’re trying to get everybody to do a reconsideration request and get ideas off of that, or whatever, that’s not what was happening. It’s only a relatively small set of people, under 25,000, who actually got messages about unnatural links.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: