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July 19, 2007

Google Adds Message Center to Webmaster Central

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Don’t get too excited because it’s only affecting a limited number of publishers right now, but Google has announced the addition of a new Message Center area that will be used to alert site owners of any spam or penalty-related problems with their site. Should Google need to contact you about that hidden text you thought you were being clever about hiding, site owners will see a notification in their Webmaster Tools dashboard. Pretty sweet.

Over at Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan tells that while at the moment site owners will just be notified regarding penalties like hidden text, cloaking, sneaky redirects and keyword stuffing, eventually the Google mail will be expanded to include more general messages, perhaps about crawling errors or things of that nature.

A couple of things to note:

  • If you don’t see a message from Google, that doesn’t mean your site is in the clear. Like we mentioned, Google has only launched this to a limited number of site owners. It’s possible you’re just not as special to Google as you thought you were.
  • Everyone with a Google Webmaster Central Account will have a Message Center, it’s just that most people won’t have any messages. It’s kind of like how everyone has an inbox but not everyone has enough friends to fill it.

If you’re asking yourself, wait, didn’t Google already used to send webmasters emails regarding site penalties? Well, yes, they did, for awhile. Google stopped sending messages to site owners a few months ago when it was discovered that fake notifications were going out as part of a phishing scheme. (People are bad.) By putting the notifications in Webmaster Central, Google has found a way to make them more secure, which is something everything can get behind.

It’ll be interesting to see how Google’s Message Center evolves, whether it will become a real resource for users to learn about their sites or if they’ll instead start to receive promotional emails about all the wonderful services offered by Google! I’m kidding. Google would never do that last one. Right?

I’d like to see Google turn its Message Center into a two way street, letting site owners use the Message Center to initiate communication with Google as well. That’d be nice. However, that’s probably just wishful thinking. We’ll be happy with the transparency we can get.

Okay, everyone, go check to see if Google has sent you email.





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