Good news for webmasters who have been struggling to identify links and pages that have been trigger warnings in Google Webmaster Tools. Google will now include example URLs in their emails warning webmasters about manual spam actions.
There are many cases where webmasters know they have manual web spam action taken against their site, but they can't figure out what is triggering the spam action, or they are confused and believe the wrong thing has caused the manual spam action.
In a Webmaster Help video, Google's Matt Cutts details the types of cases where people are struggling to identify problems on their site, part of how Google Webmaster Tools is trying to provide more concrete actionable information in their emails to webmasters.
"For example, we've seen a couple sites that had millions of pages that had manual web spam action taken on just a very small number of pages, or in one case, just one page. But they got a message saying 'Hey you need to look out because some of your content have been defaced', and they didn't know exactly where to look."
Don't think Google will hold your hand and include every single thing that is wrong with your website, but getting a couple very specific URLs to show what is wrong with your site, which you can then use to help identify other pages with the same issue, definitely helps take some of the guess work out of the cleanup equation.
"Now we won't be able to show every single thing that we think is wrong for a couple reasons," Cutts said. "Number one, it might help the spammers. Number two, if there are a lot of bad pages, we could be sending out emails that are 50 MB long. But we do think that it's helpful if we can include a small number of example URLs that will help you as a webmasters know whenever you try to fix things and clean the site back up.
"It's much better than I was a few months ago and we'll really looking for ways to provide even more guidance and a little more transparency so webmasters get a better idea where to look," Cutts said. "It's going to take some time to rollout and test and ramp up and there might be a few cases where people might not be able to get an example but for the most part we are going to try to provide more and more information over time so that legitimate webmasters can know where they need to look to try to fix problems."