(This post was translated from our German webmaster blog, originally written by Stefanie.)

We are aware that a number of German webmasters have received fake penalty notification emails that allegedly came from Google Search Quality. These spam emails have created some confusion about their authenticity, since we send very similar email notifications, which you can read more about here. Therefore, we clearly want to state that these emails are not related to any of Google's efforts concerning webmaster notification.

Updated: Because these emails are easy to mistake for authentic ones from Google, we've temporarily discontinued sending them as we work on ways to provide more secure communication mechanisms. We hope this will reduce confusion.

In the original post, we had listed the ways to tell if the email you received was not from Google. However, as we've temporarily stopped sending emails about guidelines violations, you can safely assume that any email you receive isn't from us. Note that the emails we sent did not include attachments. In addition, some of the emails mentioned 301 redirects as being the violation in question. Rest assured that 301 redirects are not a violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. Note that we do provide information about some violations in webmaster tools. If your site previously violated the guidelines and you've made changes to fix it, you can let us know by filing a reinclusion request.

This post has been updated to indicate that we've temporarily stopped sending emails to webmasters about guidelines violations to reduce confusion.