Google Search Console is an essential tool for website owners, webmasters, and SEO professionals. It provides important data and insights about a website’s performance, traffic, and rankings on Google. However, sometimes Google may take manual action against a website if it violates their guidelines or policies. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about Google Search Console manual actions, including what they are, how to identify them, and how to fix them.
What Are Google Search Console Manual Actions?
Google Search Console manual actions are penalties that Google imposes on websites that violate their guidelines and policies. These manual actions are taken by Google’s human reviewers, who manually check websites for any violations. The manual actions can affect a website’s search rankings and visibility on Google search results. There are several types of manual actions that Google may take against a website, including:
- User-generated spam: This manual action is taken when a website has spammy user-generated content, such as comments or forum posts that contain links to low-quality or irrelevant websites.
- Spammy structured markup: This manual action is taken when a website has structured data markup that violates Google’s guidelines, such as adding irrelevant or misleading markup.
- Unnatural links to your site: This manual action is taken when a website has backlinks from low-quality or irrelevant websites, or when the website owner has paid for backlinks to manipulate search rankings.
- Thin content with little or no added value: This manual action is taken when a website has low-quality or shallow content that doesn’t provide any value to the users.
- Cloaking and/or sneaky redirects: This manual action is taken when a website shows different content to Google’s crawlers than what users see, or when it redirects users to a different page than the one they clicked on.
- Hacked content: This manual action is taken when a website has been hacked and contains spammy or malicious content.
- Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing: This manual action is taken when a website has hidden text or keywords that are not visible to users, or when it has excessive and irrelevant keywords in its content.
How to Identify Google Search Console Manual Actions?
If your website has been hit by a manual action, you will receive a notification in Google Search Console. The notification will provide details about the manual action, including the type of violation and the affected pages. You can access the manual action report in Google Search Console under the “Security & Manual Actions” section.
To identify manual actions, you need to log in to your Google Search Console account and navigate to the “Security & Manual Actions” section. Here, you will see a list of any manual actions that Google has taken against your website. Clicking on each manual action will provide more details about the violation and the affected pages. You can also use the “Request Review” button to ask Google to review your website after you have fixed the violation.
How to Fix Google Search Console Manual Actions?
Fixing Google Search Console manual actions can be challenging, depending on the type of violation and the severity of the penalty. However, it is crucial to fix the violations as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your website’s search rankings and visibility. Here are some general steps you can take to fix manual actions:
- Identify the cause of the manual action: Before you can fix a manual action, you need to understand what caused it. Review Google’s guidelines and policies to see which ones you have violated.
- Fix the violation: Once you have identified the violation, take steps to fix it. For example, if your website has spammy backlinks, you can disavow them using Google’s Disavow Tool. If your website has thin content, you can add more high-quality and relevant content to the affected pages.
- Submit a reconsideration request: After you have fixed the violation, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google to review your website. Provide a detailed explanation of the steps you have taken to fix the violation and how you will prevent it from happening again in the future.
- Wait for Google’s response: Google’s manual action team will review your request and provide a response within a few weeks. If your request is approved, the manual action will be removed, and your website’s search rankings and visibility may improve. If your request is rejected, you will need to continue working on fixing the violation and resubmitting the request until it is approved.
Tips for Avoiding Google Search Console Manual Actions
Preventing Google Search Console manual actions is the best approach to maintaining a healthy and successful website. Here are some tips for avoiding manual actions:
- Follow Google’s guidelines and policies: Make sure that your website complies with Google’s guidelines and policies for webmasters and SEO professionals. This includes creating high-quality and relevant content, avoiding spammy and manipulative practices, and providing a positive user experience.
- Regularly monitor your website: Use Google Search Console and other SEO tools to regularly monitor your website’s performance, traffic, and rankings. This can help you identify any issues or violations early on and take corrective action.
- Keep your website secure: Ensure that your website is secure and protected against hacking and malware attacks. Use strong passwords, SSL certificates, and security plugins to prevent unauthorized access and malicious activities.
- Build high-quality backlinks: Focus on building high-quality and relevant backlinks from reputable websites in your niche. Avoid buying or exchanging links, as this can lead to manual actions and penalties.
- Continuously improve your website: Regularly update and improve your website’s content, design, and functionality to provide a better user experience and stay ahead of the competition.
Google Search Console manual actions can be a challenge for website owners and SEO professionals. However, by understanding what they are, how to identify them, and how to fix them, you can avoid the negative impact on your website’s search rankings and visibility. Follow the tips for avoiding manual actions, and regularly monitor your website to ensure that it complies with Google’s guidelines and policies. Remember to submit a reconsideration request after fixing a manual action, and wait for Google’s response before continuing with further steps.
What is the difference between a manual action and a penalty?
A manual action is a penalty that is imposed manually by Google’s human reviewers for violating their guidelines and policies. A penalty, on the other hand, is an algorithmic or automatic action that is taken by Google’s search algorithms for violating their web spam guidelines.
Can I recover from a Google Search Console manual action?
Yes, you can recover from a manual action by identifying the violation, fixing it, and submitting a reconsideration request to Google. However, the recovery process may take time and effort, depending on the severity of the violation.
How often should I check for manual actions in Google Search Console?
You should regularly check for manual actions in Google Search Console, especially if you have received notifications or notices from Google about possible violations. You can also set up email alerts for manual actions and other issues in Google Search Console.