In the world of search, Google and Bing have just released updates to their Webmaster Tools suites.
Let’s look first at the latest developments from Google, whose Webmaster Tools now have specifics regarding unnatural links to pointing to a website. See an excerpt from Google’s email update below:
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.domain.com/,
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team
Source: Search Engine Land
To summarise the email, it basically outlines that a penalty has been infringed upon the website since it does not meet Google’s set quality guidelines rel=”nofollow”. Once a webmaster has addressed the infringements, they are able to apply for a reconsideration request.
Ranking penalties can be as short as 90 days, as seen with the recent case of J.C. Penney being penalised in the Google search results for only three months. From this, it is obvious with all the Google Panda updates occurring over the last few months that the search engine giant is cracking down hard on various inbound linking methods.
On a lighter note, Bing has added some very impressive functionality to their Webmaster Tools set with the following note to users:
Welcome to the new Bing Webmaster Tools. The site has been redesigned to be easier to use, with an intuitive design organized around three key areas: crawl, index and traffic. New features, such as Index Explorer and rich charting functionality, provide a comprehensive view into how Bing crawls and indexes your sites…
Looking at the newly added Index Explorer it has some very detailed information at the directory level of a website and about a particular web-page:
It shows 3 different statuses – the HTTP status code, the time-frame in which the web page was actually found by the search engine robot and the last time it was visited by the bot. Drilling down even further you can view the actual size of the webpage, the number of inbound links, page traffic details and an additional three other options: ‘Block cache’, ‘Block URL and cache’ and ‘Recrawl URL’.
You’re also able to filter the all pages that have been indexed by the above statuses but also include malware infected files and excluding web-pages determined in the robots.txt.
It is a very comprehensive tool and can give you a better idea of how a website is crawled at a page level rather than just a general overview found in Google Webmaster Tools. I encourage all website owners to have a look at the new Bing Webmaster Tools!