For the past few months  webmasters have been reporting a huge uptick in the number of automated messages and warnings on their Google Webmaster Tools dashboard. The messages warn of everything from unnatural links to bad practices.

One that’s been getting a lot of attention on SEO forums is the Big Traffic Change Warning. That particular message, which reads as follows:

Big traffic change for top URL…Search results clicks for have increased significantly. Yay!

Most webmasters who have received this message have little or no idea what to make of them because they come across as warnings. But would Google really penalize a site for getting too much traffic? No one knew for sure, until now.

Google Clarifies

In a recent posting on, Vanessa Fox reveals that Google has just started giving out a little more information with these cryptic warnings. The search engine giant has clarified the text of the messages to include exactly why the recipient would want to know that particular information. (She also gives some great tips for dealing with all kinds of traffic drops.)

Google’s official explanation doesn’t really give a lot of detail but the new messages include phrases like:

The number of clicks your site receives from Google can change from day to day for a variety of reasons, including automatic algorithm updates. However, if you have recently made significant changes to the content or configuration of your site, this change may be an indication that there are problems.

Whether the volume of these warnings will pick up ahead of planned Penguin updates is something that the SEO community will be watching closely.

Have you received a Big Traffic Change warning? Let us know what you thought about it in the comments section below.

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