Google has established general webmaster quality guidelines that serve to support Google’s efforts to find, index, and rank websites in search results listings. If you (or your web developer) perform an action on your website that Google views as negative or in violation of those guidelines – an illicit, deceptive, or manipulative practice – you will find yourself in trouble with Google sooner or later.
In cases where spam is the violation, Google’s own algorithms automatically detect the violation and demote the website in search rankings. Google also relies on humans to review web pages manually. If these reviewers find a violation of the quality guidelines, they take a manual action to address it. Depending on the circumstances, the manual action could be lowering your website’s ranking, removing specific web pages or content, or, in extreme cases, removing your website completely from Google’s search index.
Information relating to all manual actions taken can be found in your website’s Manual Actions Report. You might also receive the following message on the dashboard of your search console: “This site may not perform as well in Google results because it appears to be in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
Google takes a manual action any time they detect that a website is attempting to trick or manipulate their search engine results and website rankings. While a manual action by Google may appear to be a negative for you or your website, it is not; manual actions are taken to ensure everyone plays by the same rules when it comes to website security, content, SEO, etc.
Manipulation of a website occurs in many forms. A few examples follow.
• Hacking of your website
• User-generated spam that appears on your site’s user profiles or guestbook or forum pages
• Artificial or deceptive external links that point to your site with the intention of manipulating your page ranking
• The content on your site is of little value, low quality, and not unique, such as occurs with content that is generated automatically or from blog posts from others
• Images and pages appearing differently on Google’s search results from those on the page or image where a user actually lands when they click on the image, an action called cloaking
• Overuse of keywords and phrases with the intent of manipulating search rankings
How to Handle a Manual Action
First and foremost, when building your website or developing content for it, understand and adhere to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. As long as you follow the rules, do nothing that intentionally attempts to manipulate your website’s search rankings, and take steps to keep your website secure, you should not be worried about your website receiving a manual action. In fact, web developers should be doing everything they can to avoid appearing to trick Google and instead provide the best possible experience for users and visitors to the website. Of critical importance is to ensure all aspects of the technical SEO for your website are set up and working optimally so that Google can find the website and be certain it is working well and within the guidelines.
Should you receive a manual action notification, review it and take steps to address the issue. Once you have fixed the problem, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google’s webmaster team to manually review your site again.
The web developers and designers at Perfexion, Inc. take the performance of every client’s website seriously. We manage websites and regularly monitor SEO and search results. If we find something off or unusual, we check all analytics and reports to find the issue and then take immediate steps to correct the problem. When your website is properly ranked and reaching your target audience, you can trust we are following the rules.
Contact us to learn how we keep your website safe, ranked appropriately in search engines, and out of cyber jail. We want customers and visitors to your website to find your content valuable and relevant to their needs. Most of all, we want them to feel they can trust you and your website and feel secure doing business with you.