Manual Google Penalty? Know for sure now.

Posted on August 8, 2013 • Written by Brad Anderson

With Fruition’s Google penalty checker tool we get a lot of questions on manual penalties. It usually goes something like this; “I know that Google manually penalized my website because of x, y, and z. What can I do about it?” In most instances, there is not a manual penalty. Yet, marketing managers or website owners will go so far as submitting a reconsideration request when in fact the real problem is just an algorithm change from Google.

Now you know for sure if there is a manual Google penalty

In webmaster tools go to Search Traffic > Manual Actions. There it will tell you if you have a manual penalty or not! It is now that simple. Here is the official post on the topic. Below we show you an example of a site that has a manual Google penalty.

Example of manual penalty

Here’s an example of a message for a site that has a manual penalty:

manual penalty example

Note that Google tells you several items including:

1. Site-wide Penalty – If you have a site wide penalty using the disavow tool is more important. It is more important because you probably cannot delete the page with the biggest impact (the homepage) and you probably can’t get rid of the links since removing links is virtually impossible. Google has a nice video up about this here.

2. Partial Match Penalty – “Some manual actions apply to specific pages, sections, or links.” Then Google tells you what they are. The example above tells you that “Google detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative links point to pages on this site.” In the example above, Google is saying that they are taking action on the links i.e. devaluing them; as opposed to penalizing the specific section or page of the site. That is a very important distinction and very important to understand thoroughly before you start disavowing links. If you disavow the wrong links you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Manual Google Penalty vs Algorithm Google Penalty

Here’s the important distinction. A manual action is VERY rare. An algorithmic action (aka penalty or filter) is VERY common.

Once you know for sure that you do not have a manual penalty the hard work begins. Use Fruition’s Google Penalty Checker Tool to see which algorithm penalties maybe impacted your website.

If you’re interested in improving your organic search rankings check out our SEO services and then give us a ring!

Implications of manual Google penalties outside of SEO

We’ve had several consulting gigs to determine if a domain name was irretrievably penalized thus not worth purchasing. Now, if you are interested in purchasing a domain name you can at least get a better idea if there is a big manual penalty on the domain name before purchasing it. You accomplish this by asking for access to the domain’s WMT and checking for a manual penalty. You still have to do a comprehensive link analysis to ensure it wasn’t hosting nefarious content and getting really bad links. On a side note, if you change ownership of the domain, change servers, and change registrars (e.g. Godaddy to Name Cheap) you can usually overcome manual penalties without a reconsideration request. Therefore, sometimes it is worth the effort to get the beat up domain name and then rehab it. It is not unlike buying a foreclosure in the real property world, fixing it up, and then flipping it.

What does Google Webmaster tools say about your website? Penalty or no?

Discuss below what you see in your webmaster tools!

Brad Anderson

Written by Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson is the Executive Director and Founder of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.

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