Y ikes! A manual action has been taken against your site! Don’t panic, There are ways you can redeem yourself. Google takes manual actions against spammy or manipulative behavior. Some of the most common reasons your website can result in a removal or demotion are cloaking, spammy links, DMC complaints, viruses, or spammy structured data. Truly malicious content or behavior is more than likely to be removed from Google. Google ‘reserves the right’ to decide which category your situation falls in and what the best outcome for their users is, as advised by Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s WebSpam Team. Cookie cutter content such as duplicate content or schema markup issues are more of a gray area and can result in a demotion rather than a full removal. Sometimes, the Webmaster team will specify which of the two your website has received. For a full understanding of reasons for a manual action, it is a good idea to review Google’s webmaster quality guidelines.
Filing for reconsideration with your SEO Company or Developer
In your Google Webmaster Tools, under ‘Messages’ you will see communication about your manual action notice. The next step is to determine what the cause of the manual action is. Your SEO company or developer will investigate, put together a plan, and aim to resolve the matter. Documentation of the completed efforts during these steps is helpful for troubleshooting in case of denial and for the final report. The goal of your reconsideration request is to state how you have resolved the issue and how you will discontinue this behavior.
For example, if you hired an SEO company that participated in some black-hat SEO tricks, state how you are resolving the issues that they created and that you are auditing your SEO company. If there was a genuinely innocent reason as to why their actions were not malicious, such as algorithm updates or old code on your website, then give them a break. However, if they purchased farmed links that got you the penalty, well then, let Google know that you have hired another SEO company. Once a final report has been completed, go back to Webmaster Tools, click on ‘Messages’ and then click the “submit for Reconsideration’ tab, along with your report. Hopefully, you have resolved all of the issues you were flagged for, or are in process of doing such.
Google Delivered Over
4.3 Million Manual
Actions in 2015.
Reconsideration Resolution Timeline
It may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get your final response. In our experience, 3 weeks has been the average, and often time faster. You’ll receive a confirmation of your submission in the ‘Messages’ tab. Hopefully, your reconsideration gets approved, and you’ll receive a written validation of it in your Messages tab. If you haven’t received confirmation of your submission or it has been over a month since your resubmission, you can try refiling, and then reach out on Google Forums. During this time, to determine if your search rankings have been affected, monitor your web traffic in Google Analytics at 1-2 week intervals and compare the same length of data to a previous month.
Reconsideration Denial and SEO Community Outreach
If your reconsideration got denied, there are more steps you’ll have to take. In a similar fashion, you’ll have to research and possibly do some outreach to SEO professionals or developers and then refile for reconsideration. Some common mistakes during re-submission are not using the disavow tool correctly, not using google fetch for hacked sites, or submitting requests for empty sites. Sometimes, however, you can use all of Google’s testing tools, get a green light, and still have an issue, as has been the case for some spammy structured data notices. The violation may be more of a situational use issue rather than a technical one, such as a form of duplicate content, misuse, mislabel, or incorrect markup. You can check out some websites or forums to help aid you in your quest. The easiest way to do this is by typing, into the Google Search box, the exact penalty category such as ‘spammy structured data’ and adding Moz Community Forum or Google Webmasters Forum to the phrase. You can use some great tools such as Google Fetch, Robots.txt Tester, Google Structured Data Tool, Google Mobile-Friendly Test, or several other third-party tools.
These situations can be overwhelming and complex, but you don’t have to go through them alone. If you are having a complex issue manual action issue or just need some advice, feel free to reach out to us at Azoolu through social media or a good old fashion phone call.