In 2011, Google Webmaster Tools started sending out two new types of warnings – for “unnatural links” and “cloaking.”

The messages were sent out when Google detected pages on websites that were using techniques that were outside of its quality guidelines.

At the time, Google had been talking about wanting to increase its outreach to webmasters. See this video (published Dec. 18, 2010), in which Google’s Matt Cutts (featuring Danny Sullivan) mentioned that Google wanted to make communication a priority in 2011.

Read all about it in Google Adding New Spam Warnings In Webmaster Tools.

Dig deeper: Google penalties, manual actions and notifications: A complete guide

Also on this day 

Google launches ‘Shops’ section in mobile search results

2022: The Shops section showed three to 10 retailers based on their organic search rankings.

Google Ads error tells advertisers exact match keywords are saving as broad match

2022: Search marketers entering exact match keywords may have seen an alert toward the bottom of their Google Ads interface stating, “Broad match keywords are on. Keywords will be saved as broad match.”

Search Engine Land, SMX name Carolyn Lyden content lead

2021: Lyden acted both as editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land and content lead for our SMX events series. She departed Third Door Media in November 2021.

Standard text ads will live on a bit longer, Microsoft Advertising says

2020: Microsoft Advertising, which originally said standard text ads would no longer serve after 2019, announced it would allow existing standard text ads to continue to serve until March 31.

Video: A.J. Ghergich on not chasing the Google algorithm and focusing on human intentions

2020: In this installment of Barry Schwartz’s vlog series, he chatted with Ghergich about how to scale your SEO agency, understanding human intent and more.

Google to start showing local-specific phone numbers when location extensions appear in ads

2017: Google said, starting Jan. 19, it “may” show the local retail phone number when that store’s location extension showed in an ad – even if a call extension in the campaign used a different phone number – in order to increase the relevance of ads that featured specific business locations.

“Illegitimate” SEO Sentenced To 37 Months In Federal Prison For Extortion

2016: William Stanley extorted individuals and companies by threatening to engage in illegitimate SEO work: posting “fraudulent comments and creating negative reviews online, if the victim did not pay him a certain sum of money.”

Google Revamps The Android App-Indexing Crawl Errors Report In The Search Console

2016: Google announced they had finally upgraded the App Indexing Crawl Errors report, which had not been working for months, in the Google Search Console.

2016: Claiming to be enforcing Germany’s “Ancillary Copyright” Law, the publishers were suing to get Google to pay them for showing their content in search results.

Bing Ads, Too, Says Goodbye To Phone Numbers In PPC Ad Copy

2015: Bing Ads told advertisers they soon would no longer be able to put a phone number in the headline, body copy, URL or extensions like Sitelinks. As with AdWords, advertisers would need to use location or call extensions for phone numbers.

Pinterest Beefs Up Its Search Chops With VisualGraph Acquisition

2014: Pinterest said the acquisition would “help us build technology to better understand what people are Pinning. By doing so, we hope to make it easier for people to find the things they love.”

Bing Launches Awards Site In Time For Golden Globes, Grammy’s & The Oscars

2014: The site served as an online resource for “all things awards” with background information on nominees, tips for award-themed parties, and winner predictions based on Bing search statistics.

Bing Makes Driving Directions Twice As Fast

2012: Bing Maps pushed out a major update to their driving directions “routing engine.” The new routing engine was twice as fast as the old one and added more features, such as adding up to three routes in one request.

Search In Pics: Google Bumper Sticker, Knitted Android Sleeve & Yahoo’s CEOs

2012: The latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more.

Google Mobile Strategy Playing Out Almost Flawlessly: Ads Growing, Android Beating iPhone

2011: Google’s AdMob unit reported that it saw more than 2 billion ad requests on a daily basis. Meanwhile, comScore reported that Android passed the iPhone as the number two smartphone platform in the U.S.

South Korea May Arrest Google Execs Over WiFi Data Collection

2011: The country’s national police agency had determined that Google acted illegally when it gathered personal data as part of its Street View mapping service.

Covario: Consumer Electronics Marketers Take Q4 Paid Search Boom Overseas

2011: Among its tech and consumer electronics clients in the Americas, paid search spending only rose 1% in the fourth quarter of 2010, as compared to the third quarter, but that’s because growth from the second to the third quarter was 30%.

Twitter’s New Year Tweet Record Shown In Stunning Video

2011: Twitter started 2011 with a new record: 6,939 tweets were sent at four seconds after midnight in Japan. 

Foursquare Puts The Kibosh On Friend-Tip Spamming

2011: Foursquare started limiting the number of friends and friend requests that a user can have.

Google AdWords Testing Lead Capture Forms: Contact Form Extensions

2010: Contact form extensions provided a contact form directly in the search ad, which a searcher can fill out and the advertiser can then use in the future to contact that lead.

Google Loses French Lawsuit Over Google Suggest

2010: Google was ordered to remove the word arnaque, which translates roughly as “scam,” from appearing as a Google Suggest term on searches for the Centre National Privé de Formation a Distance (CNFDI). 

Surprise: Google’s Home Page Promoting Nexus One

2010: The promotion was found under the search box and read: “Experience Nexus One, the new Android phone from Google.”

Nexus One: What Exactly Happened Yesterday In Mountain View?

2010: Less than 24 hours after the formal unveiling of the Nexus One by Google, we had a collection of differing perceptions and accounts of what was significant (or not).

Google Claims That Google Checkout Increases Conversion By 40% & Clicks By 10%

2009: Google added claims to its Google Checkout Merchant homepage that having Google Checkout as part of your AdWords ads would lead to higher conversions and a better click-through rate.

Google Testing ‘Blended’ Mobile Ads

2009: As it turned out, Google wasn’t doing anything new. On the Google WAP search experience the company had always placed ads at the end of organic text results but before other types of content.

Yahoo To Advertisers: We Can Create Ads & Edit Keywords Without Asking First

2009: Yahoo emailed their search advertisers about new terms and conditions, including a controversial provision that they are allowed to create ads, remove or add keywords to campaigns and “optimize” accounts.

Google Finally Brings Picasa To The Mac

2009: Picasa was a management system for photo sharing and editing.

Google Wins “Gu Ge” Lawsuit In China

2009: The Beijing Haidian District Court ruled that Beijing Guge Science and Technology had to pay Google China 100,000 yuan ($14,624). In addition, Beijing Guge is required to stop using the name.

2009: It was suggested that the art represented an airplane crashing into New York’s former World Trade Center towers on 9/11.

The Big List of 2009 Marketing Predictions

2009: Articles and blog posts filled with forecasts, predictions, and/or resolutions for the new year. 

Mahalo Adds More Social Features

2008: The Mahalo Follow toolbar let you post links to Delicious, Ma.gnolia, Mahalo Social, and Twitter with the click of one button. The sidebar displayed quick tips when you were on sites like Twitter and Gmail.

From Search Marketing Expo (SMX)

Past contributions from Search Engine Land’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

These columns are a snapshot in time and have not been updated since publishing, unless noted. Opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. 

< January 5 | Search Marketing History | January 7 >

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About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin is Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & SMX. In addition to writing daily about SEO, PPC, and more for Search Engine Land, Goodwin also manages Search Engine Land’s roster of subject-matter experts. He also helps program our conference series, SMX – Search Marketing Expo.

Prior to joining Search Engine Land, Goodwin was Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led editorial initiatives for the brand. He also was an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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