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Unless you are regularly keeping an eye on your site’s analytics, you might never know when you suddenly lose a ton of traffic or clicks. That is somewhat changing, however, as webmasters can now be notified to sudden drops in clicks through Google’s Search Console.

Search Console is now sending alerts to webmasters when it detects a “substantial drop” in clicks compared to your past week’s data.

Google is doing this by reviewing your week-over-week data in the Performance report for your site. If this week’s data is drastically different, it will send a notification to verified property owners in Search Console to alert them of the problem.

The new notification was first noticed by Vance Moore III who shared a screenshot of the notification on Twitter:

It is unclear exactly how large of a drop it takes to trigger the notification. In the case above, Moore experienced nearly a 50% drop in clicks.

Of course, the tool has some obvious limits. The first is that it only compares week-to-week data. That means slower downward trends will likely not trigger a notification. Additionally, the notification appears to only be triggered by clicks but does not account for traffic or bounce-rates.

The best course of action will always be to regularly check your analytics data to properly assess your site’s performance. There, you will find everything from your click performance, to conversions, traffic, and even demographic info about your visitors.

Still, it always helps to have an extra alert in place for when sudden changes happen to your site. That way you can respond to any new issues and quickly remedy any issues that could have led to your drop in clicks.

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Over the weekend, Google sent out a new wave of penalties, this time smacking down sites for “unnatural outbound links.” The majority of websites are safe from the latest round of manual penalties, but you may be in trouble if you’ve been attempting to manipulate the Google search results.

As Barry Schwartz has noted, this specific penalty appears to be taking the shape of Google deciding not to trust any links on the entire site.

Webmasters who received these penalties were sent emails which read:

If you see this message on the Manual Actions page, it means that Google has detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative outbound links. Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to the affected portions of your site. Actions that affect your whole site are listed under Site-wide matches. Actions that affect only part of your site and/or some incoming links to your site are listed under Partial matches.

Below, you can also see a copy of the message webmasters are receiving in Google Search Console about these penalties:

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To make sure your site is safe, be sure to log into your Google Search Console account and check your all messages box. If you see this notification about an outbound link penalty, you can find out how to fix it and submit a reconsideration request here.

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A Google Sitemaps bug is causing many webmasters to see significant indexed page count falls within Google Search Console, but a fix should be on the way according to Google.

Google Search Console, known as Webmaster Tools until recently, is experiencing an issue causing confusion and concern among webmasters and marketers as huge declines are appearing in the indexed pages shown in the Google Sitemaps report.

Barry Schwartz is one expert who has seen hundreds of thousands of pages being suddenly displayed as no longer indexed by Google, and shared an example of how the problem can look on a report:

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Google is already aware of the issue and is hard at work to resolve it. Google’s Gary Illyes responded to Schwartz on Twitter saying “it’s confirmed and we’re working on it.”

If you’ve encountered similar drops in indexed page counts on your reports from July 14, there’s no cause for alarm. The glitch will be fixed soon and won’t affect your traffic or rankings through the search engine in the meantime.

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Over the past decade, website operators have relied on Google Webmaster Tools for ensuring their sites were being properly displayed and indexed across the search giant, but big changes are on the way. Google is rebranding one of its most popular services to Search Console and there a few new features coming with the new name.

According to Google, the shakeup is the result of user feedback, as only a small portion of users actually identify as “webmasters.” Google is hoping the new name will help bring the service to a wider user base.

“It turns out that the traditional idea of the “webmaster” reflects only some of you. We have all kinds of Webmaster Tools fans: hobbyists, small business owners, SEO experts, marketers, programmers, designers, app developers, and, of course, webmasters as well… So, to make sure that our product includes everyone who cares about Search, we’ve decided to rebrand Google Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console.

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The rebranding is coming in the next few weeks, and Google has announced two new features that are expected to roll out about the same time.

With Search Console, users will have access to all the functionality they have come to expect of Webmaster Tools, as well as the ability to see how searchers are accessing your content via Android apps through Google Search within Search Analytics reports and the ability to see your app content through Google’s eyes with an alpha version of Fetch as Google for Apps.