An In-depth analysis on Google Manual Actions (Google Manual Penalty)

Guna Nadar by - 12/16/2013 7395 Views

I wrote an article on Google algorithmic penalty earlier and had got a number of requests from readers on how many types of manual penalties are imposed by Google and how they can revoke those manual actions.

I wrote an article on Google algorithmic penalty earlier and had got a number of requests from readers on how many types of manual penalties are imposed by Google and how they can revoke those manual actions.

Difference between Manual Action & Algorithmic Penalty

Manual action is very different from Algorithmic penalty as manual penalty is imposed by Google’s web spam team, who constantly watches out for black hat techniques and send it out to webmasters who had employed anything outside of Google webmaster guidelines.

Do I have a Manual Penalty?

To find out if you have received a manual action or warning from Google follow the below steps

Manual action

The Most Dreaded Manual Action – “Unnatural links to your site

Cause:  Bad links- From irrelevant sites, other languages sites, article directories, paid links, low quality directories, PR sites, Social bookmarking, Site wide links, Link farms, reciprocal links, 3way links etc.

Effect:  If you have received this warning then chances are that the traffic must have fallen from the cliff and from my experience these sites witness a drop in organic traffic  from a minimum 40-80% in some cases 90 plus. This is one message no webmaster would like to see in his lifetime. Don’t get carried away by the smile of Matt & his colleague as they are delivering a sugar quoted quinine pill.   

Solution: There is no quick fix solution for this. You need to do a back link audit by downloading all the back links from Google webmaster tools and cleanup the bad links (irrelevant links, article links, paid links, low quality directories, PR sites, Social bookmarking, Site wide links, Link farms). 

You need to contact the website owners of these bad links and request them to remove the links. Follow them up in a couple of days if the link is not removed and send remainders. Wait for two weeks since your first link removal request date and then disavow all bad links through the disavow tool. Send a detailed reconsideration request on Google. The entire process may take from 30-45 days and can expect Google to take action in 15-20 days.

Caution: Do not disavow the entire links, if so you will have your penalty revoked but will not get back the rankings and traffic. If you hire a service provider confirm the disavow file before submitting it.


I know what you did – “Unnatural links to your site-Impact sites

Cause:  Pattern of backlinks, Paid networks, unnatural, artificial, deceptive, or manipulative links. This s a way of Google telling you that “Hey I know what you did to get these links and get rid of it”

Effect:  As “Unnatural links to your site

Solution: You might have bought links by yourself or hired an agency, freelancer to build links or do SEO. If you have paid for the links you should consider removing it immediately. Instruct your service provider to stop all link building activity and remove those links. After doing so, send a reconsideration request to Google explaining the situation.

Caution: If any of the links generate traffic to site directly then consider using a “rel=nofollow” for those links.


Links that pass the juice – “Unnatural links from your site

Cause:  Selling text links at site to pass link juice.

Effect:  Sites are not affected initially but failing to take action may lead to a 20-40% drop in traffic.

Solution:  Google is not against advertising but do not tolerate selling text links which pass the link juice. So the solution is simple, add a “rel=nofollow” tag and problem solved.


Doom & Disaster – “hacked site

Cause:  Site attacked by Malware, Virus, Trojan or any other hack.

Effect:  Almost 100% drop in traffic.

Solution:  Contact your webhosting company and they will clean up the malware for you. If your site gets attacked frequently consider upgrading your CMS to the latest version or move to a more secured Server.


Cheating Googlebot – “Cloaking & Sneaky redirects

Cause:  Showing different version of pages to Googlebot and the Visitor. Tricking Googlebot with keyword rich content, while showing a lighter version to the visitor. Using doorway pages.

Effect:  20-40% drops in organic traffic. The pages which employ the above technique are dropped from index

Solution:  Remove the pages and create fresh pages with unique content. Use “fetch as Google” option to check if the contents are served exactly the same to the end user(visitor) and googlebot.


Cheating Googlebot: over optimization – “Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing

Cause:  Trying to cheat Googlebot with hidden text in form of layers, divisions or by camouflage. Excessive usage of keywords only for the sake of optimization.

Effect:  40-60% drops in organic traffic.  Pages or sometime the entire site is de-indexed by Google.

Solution:  Check the keyword density of the pages and make sure keywords are not stuffed and are not over 3-4%. Use the “fectch as Google” option at WMT and see if there are any hidden content. Your SEO service provider may have camouflaged content. Remove the content if any and send reconsideration request.


Useless Junk – “pure SPAM

Cause:  Spun content, Scrapped content, Automatically generated Gibberish, Translated content by automated tools, MFA content.

Effect:  Almost 100% drop in traffic.

Solution:  There appears to be no definitive solutions to the problem as there is no way these sites can earn the trust again.


SIM solutions to prevent & protect Google Manaual Penalties

"Unnatural Links to your site
"Unnatural links to your site-Impact sites"

 Google Penalty prevention & recovery service

"hacked site"
"cloaking & sneaky redirects"
"Hidden text/Keyword stuffing"

OnPage Optimization Service




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About Guna Nadar

Guna Nadar

Brief Info about Guna Nadar +

I mostly write technical aspects and not much into creative writing. For the past decade I worked along with top notch SEO & Internet Marketing professionals which naturally lured me into the world of Search Engines. When I am not writing I read from comics to philosophy.Antiques, Fishing, hunting are my passions. Currently I am working on Google Penalty protection and .... more info