In the last few days Google released two announcement that affects webmasters, One affects directly- Better reconsideration request notification transparency regarding penalties, and the second affects indirectly- Blocking websites is going global.
Google announced that it will begin a more transparent process when webmasters sending a reconsideration request, for both manual penalties and automated penalties:
If its a manual penalty (probably more severe Google penalty than automated), Google will notify the webmaster if he is still violating or not the guidelines after he sends the reconsideration request. If its an algorithm filter (automated) Google will also notify the webmaster, so he’ll know he can fix it without contacting Google again.
Google made a long journey becoming more transparent- A way back, when a webmaster send a reconsideration request, he didn’t knew if Google even received it. Later, It has been improved by letting the webmaster know that his request has been received. Another advancement made later on, when the webmaster also notified after his request was processed. And now this transparency improvement.
In their post, Google are stating that in an ideal world they would be completely transparent about search and rankings, however in the real world, they need to keep the balance between transparency and providing valuable information to spammers with bad intentions.
Blocking Websites Going Global
The second announcement Google released was, that users are now capable of blocking results from specific websites that don’t offer them any value at all, in most domains of Google worldwide.
The blocking sites option that presented in March, will show up when a user is entering a website from the search results and immediately returns to the search results. You can see it in this example:
What is relevant for webmasters, is that from now Google will integrate this data into the Panda algorithm, because when many users from many places are blocking a certain website this is surely a bad indication for its quality…