Google issues search ranking penalties through manual actions

by | Mar 9, 2024 | Digital Marketing, Google, Google Search Console, Google SEO, SEO

In March 2024, Google implemented new search spam policies, leading to penalties for websites that were found to be in violation of these policies. These penalties resulted in some sites being completely or partially removed from Google’s search results, causing a significant loss in search traffic. Websites that were penalized received notifications in the manual actions section of Google Search Console.

Google issues manual actions against sites when a human reviewer determines that the site is not compliant with Google’s spam policies, particularly in cases where there are attempts to manipulate search results. Examples of manual actions include pure spam violations, which involve aggressive spam techniques such as generating gibberish content, cloaking, or scraping content from other websites.

Sites may also receive manual actions for misleading content, where the site misleads users with false promises in its content. Manual actions are distinct from algorithmic updates, as they are carried out by human reviewers at Google. Algorithmic updates, such as the March 2024 core update, do not trigger notifications in the manual action viewer and are automated processes that can impact a site’s search ranking.

If a site receives a manual action, Google provides steps to resolve the violation and remove the penalty. This includes identifying affected pages, fixing the issues on all affected pages, ensuring accessibility to Google, and submitting a reconsideration request detailing the issue and the steps taken to address it. Reconsideration reviews can take several days or weeks to complete.

Checking the manual action viewer on Google Search Console is essential for site owners to identify any penalties and take corrective actions. Recovery from manual actions requires decisive steps and compliance with Google’s guidelines. It is important to differentiate between manual actions and algorithmic updates, as the latter may take time to fully roll out.

Overall, site owners should be vigilant about adhering to Google’s spam policies to avoid penalties and ensure a positive presence in search results. Addressing manual actions promptly and following Google’s recommendations can help in restoring a site’s visibility and traffic.

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