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If Google has given your website a "manual action", don't panic! In today's article we'll tell you everything you need to know.
Google places a manual action on a website after a (human) reviewer decides that the website owner is trying to manipulate their search index.
Most of the time, Google maintains the quality of its search pages via algorithms. However, they have recently started using more human, "manual" reviews in case spam or dubious SEO practices slip through.
In this article, we'll explain:
According to their page:
Google issues a manual action against a site when a human reviewer at Google has determined that pages on the site are not compliant with Google's webmaster quality guidelines. Most manual actions address attempts to manipulate our search index.
In other words, if you try to "game" the SEO system, Google will penalise you even if your behaviour has fooled the algorithms. This can include:
Sometimes, though, Google will put a manual action on your site even if it's not something you're doing deliberately. Remember, the process is designed to protect web visitors. So you will also be penalised for:
First of all, you can check if your site currently has a manual action. Google will tell you via your Search Console messages. It will also produce a report which you can get to via the Search Console dashboard.
The most significant result is that your website will be penalised in Google's search engine results rankings:
Most issues reported here will result in pages or sites being ranked lower or omitted from search results without any visual indication to the user.
Manual actions are handled slightly differently from "security issues". Security issues are flagged up when they think your site is hacked. Because this could harm a visitor, they will show a warning message to anyone coming to your site.
Our article 5 Tips To Prevent A Hacked Website will be useful if you have any concerns.
Manual actions, by contrast, are raised when the website is trying to manipulate the search engines, but isn't necessarily dangerous to a user.
We will start by saying that you can't just "get the manual action taken off". The process works as follows:
In most cases, step #2 is pretty obvious once you know what the problem is:
If you want to keep your website free of manual actions, you need to start from scratch. Ensure you stick to the best practices of website security and compliant SEO:
As long as you stick to these rules, you should be fine.
If you have any questions about how to get a manual action off your website, please get in touch and one of our experts will be able to help you out.