Will Google notify webmasters of violations of the webmaster guidelines?

Will Google notify webmasters of violations of the webmaster guidelines? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

CUTTS: All right, we have a question from Pulkit Agrawal in India. And Pulkit asks–or Pulkit perhaps–asks, “Whenever Google detects a violation of its Webmaster Guidelines, can we expect a feature to be added in Google Webmaster Central where it could help the webmaster learn what the issue was?” Well, first off, let’s take a step back and talk about the scale of the web and how many people Google has. There are tons of millions of domains. There are billions of pages on the web. And so even if we put everybody in the entire company on customer support, you know, trying to talk one on one, we wouldn’t have the resources where we could talk to every single webmaster and have a prolonged dialogue. So what we try to do instead is think about ways that we can communicate in a scalable way where one person can say something and help out a lot of people. So we look for ways, for example with violations of the Webmaster Guidelines where we can be scalable in that approach as well. So one thing that we’ve talked about and done recently is supposed we detect not just that your site is hacked, but which we’ll often warn you about, but that your site is hackable, perhaps you’re using an old version of WordPress or some other piece of software. So it started to send messages to a lot of webmasters to say, “You know what? You’re running an old version that’s known to be insecure.” So that’s something where a little bit of work on our side can give an alert, a heads-up to a lot of webmasters and hopefully let them know before they really have issues or might get hacked that they need to take a look at sort of patching their web server software. So that’s the sort of thing that we’ve been exploring recently that’s been relatively successful. The way that we look at it is we don’t want to clue in the bad guys. And, believe me, there are bad guys. There are people that try to hack sites. There are guys that make dozens and dozes, hundreds of sites every day just trying to show up and find new ways to get past search engine defenses. So we don’t want to clue those folks in, because if you let them know, “Hey, we caught this site,” they’ll start over again on another site, except they’ll try to be sneakier and stay under the radar even longer. So we don’t have the ability to tell every single person that they have a penalty. What we do try to do is segment [INDISTINCT] and the legitimate websites that we think might not have known that they had hidden text, or might not have known that they were hacked, or might not have known that they had some smaller issue. And those are the sites that we definitely put more attention and more energy into trying to alert. We’re open to other ways to try to improve things. If you have suggestions for how to do more scalable communication, feel free to stop by our Webmaster forum or, you know, leave a comment on the Webmaster blog because we do want to let as many people as we can know whenever they have issues and yet at the same time not clue in the people who are just tying to cheat. I hope that make sense.

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


Original video: