Be In The Know – Google Manual Actions

It’s vital, when dealing with a Google Manual Action, to understand why you have received a penalty, the consequences and most importantly how to address the issue and resolve it.

In general, manual actions aren’t largely a common thing and they are reserved only for serious offences so it’s safe to assume that when they are applied, it’s not a mistake, human error or a false positive.

Simply ignoring a manual action should be avoided at all costs as it can have huge consequences on the performance of your website in the long term. Even if you don’t see a difference immediately, the effects will show over time and the longer you let it run its course, the more difficult it can become to recover from that position – particularly if you begin to stack multiple violations. You don’t want to become a repeat offender.

Of course, receiving a manual action doesn’t mean the end of your site and its successes. Any manual action can be revoked and Google doesn’t hold grudges against websites that have received a manual action in the past. With that said, here are a few tips when it comes to handling manual penalties:

What makes a manual action different to an algorithm update (like Panda or Penguin)?

Manual penalties are just that; they are applied manually by the Google Search Quality team, as opposed to an algorithm or machine calculating ranking factors and adjusting your position accordingly. Algorithms don’t apply penalties as such, they simply calculate and adjust.

When is the right time to apply for reconsideration after receiving a penalty?

You should only apply for reconsideration after you have fixed the reason for the penalty, and have done so in a manner that means the issue won’t arise again. You should also be in a position to adequately provide the Google team documentation that includes the steps you have taken to fix the issue.

What can you do if your reconsideration request is rejected?

There is no limit to how many times you can submit a reconsideration request, so if your original application gets rejected, you can start the process again and ensure you have fixed the issue as above and provided the correct documentation to back it up.

What can you do if your site has dropped in organic searches, but you don’t see a manual penalty warning in Google Search Console?

There are a large number of factors that result in losing organic search positions. The only reliable method to finding the culprit is to conduct a full SEO audit.

How quickly does Google process reconsideration requests?

There is no official guarantee given by Google in this case and unfortunately no way of predicting how long it can take. In some cases, it can be processed in a matter of hours, in others it can take weeks.