Sign up for our daily recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
You’ve Got Mail! Google Webmaster Central Gains Message Center
The Google Webmaster Central service has gained a new “Message Center” area
that will initially be use to notify site owners of official spam penalty
problems and eventually used to communicate about other issues related to site
inclusion at Google.
You’ll find the message center when you log into Google Webmaster Central,
from the Dashboard screen. I’ve shown an example below and marked it up a bit,
to help guide you to the message center (it’s arrow number two in the
At first, messages will be all about penalties that have been applied to your
site. These will include things that violate Google’s
webmaster guidelines, such as:
- Hidden Text
- Sneaky Redirects
- Keyword Stuffing
Later, Google tells me more general messages about your site might be sent to
you, perhaps about crawling errors (these were
recently updated but
are still reported outside the message center right now) or
malware messages that have gone out in the
Here’s an example of what one of the current messages looks like:
Google has already been messaging site owners about penalties for some time.
It started experimenting with doing this
September 2005, then it stepped up notifications in
2006. However, in May of this year, fake notifications started going out to
some site owners in Germany. That caused Google to
until it could find a way to help people know if they received an official
The new message center is that form of confirmation, partially. Google says
that email notification of penalties will resume and should continue in the near
term. If you get an email — and if you already have a Google Webmaster Central
account — then you’ll also see a penalty notification in the message center.
However, if you do NOT already have an account, then you won’t see a message.
Google said it hopes to fix this in the near future, so that messages would show
for those newly registering.
Also, EVERYONE with a Google Webmaster Central account will have a message
center. It’s just that for most people, you won’t have messages there, since
only penalty messages are currently being issued.
Finally, I asked about the possibility that Google would provide a feed of
any messages from the message center as well as from some of the reports from
within Webmaster Central. They’re thinking about it, but no news to report yet.