Take That Back: Not Every Manual Action Must Be Acted On...

Sep 13, 2013 • 8:57 am | comments (12) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Webmaster ToolsI'll be honest, I am still confused on this. The other day, I reported on how an ex-Googler who worked in the web spam team, said that every manual action must be acted on or else the site will soon be penalized and have a negative ranking applied to it.

I honestly thought before I wrote that post that some manual actions do not lead to negative rankings. I wrote, "I tried to look back at an example of a manual action notification that I thought did not impact the site, but maybe..."

So then I spotted this comment in a Google+ thread from Google's John Mueller not saying that. He said:

That generally means that we're not counting some of those links in the way that we might have in the past. If you're aware of specifics around those links, then I'd recommend resolving them at the source and doing a reconsideration request. If you're not aware of the specifics, remember that we're essentially ignoring those links, so the rest of your site, and the other natural links, will be used as before. In short, you don't need to take action, but if you're aware of specifics, it's always good to clean up the issues directly too.

I bolded the "you don't need to take action" part, because you don't.

So we have a Googler and an ex-Googler suggesting two different things. So John came back in and said, "I'd recommend watching Matt's video on that specific type of manual action, he covers some corner-cases that make things a bit clearer."

So it seems John is implying that Kaspar is not wrong, because he is referencing corner-cases. However, I cannot find that specific video with the corner-case mention.

In short, it seems clearly that not ALL manual web spam notifications require an action from a webmaster. Meaning, not all notifications related to web spam are negatively impacting your site.

Or maybe, Google isn't counting some links, so removing the links won't have a negative or positive impact anyway.

See, I am confused.

Here is the video, it isn't 100% clear what to do here:

Forum discussion at Google+ and hat tip to +John E Lincoln.

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09/13/2013 01:50 pm

Lot of experiments / tweaks / and what-not run in G labs and I am sure nobody knows even 40% of how things work. They are as confused as us. Pretty sure many of these little algos running wild these days.


09/13/2013 02:02 pm

It's sad and unfortunate how the general population can't shake their Google brand loyalty and move on to another. It's a lousy search engine and most people either don't think about it or refuse to admit it.

Bas Taart

09/13/2013 02:06 pm

Only so-called SEO-ers want people to move to another search engine because they lost there rankings.....


09/13/2013 02:06 pm

I don't have a problem finding what I am looking for. That is really all that the average person cares about.


09/13/2013 02:28 pm

I like G for more than search. They are pretty innovative (than others). Its just that they get carried away too much with their tweaks and causes mass casualty. They need to be little more responsible while sending out those Little Algos. As far as search is concerned, they are fine too so are Yahoo or Bing or even Yandex.

Takeshi Young

09/13/2013 05:23 pm

"See, I am confused." That's the point.

Mike H

09/13/2013 05:55 pm

I'm confused too. We've been working for months trying to get a reconsideration request to succeed on our Partial Match penalty. We've documented our attempts, but there is just so much junk. Google is indeed providing examples though, which seem to be pointing to comment spam. These are incredibly hard to remove. Does a manual action - "partial match" imply that a website has a ranking penalty against it, or is it actually just a notification that the "bad" links are being ignored and we can move on as usual? Thanks for guys' thoughts!


09/14/2013 12:59 am

to guys at http://blackhatpwnage.com i mostly tell to not use disavow tool. at some point google will be disavowing everythign by themselves and will sot this crazy negative seo

Casey Markee, MBA

09/15/2013 02:29 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Google Plus thread referenced here has now appeared to have been removed (it disappears when you log-in to Google +). Clearly, John probably said MORE than he should have. But there is clear confusion between his statement and the linked to video from Matt that he referenced. This was pointed out by Bill Slawski in the thread as well. If you can update this, it would be appreciated. My take? I absolutely believe it is NOT necessary to submit a reconsideration request with every manual action. First off, if you get the “Unnatural Links to your Site – Impacts Natural Links” manual notice (the most common one sent these days), that's Google already telling you they've "taken action on these links and disavowed them." and given you the benefit of the doubt in the process (per the wording). Second, if you aren't noticing ANY drops in rankings or traffic, why submit a reconsideration request which can in MANY cases just raise your profile by triggering an automatic manual review that can review other issues? Let me answer that for you...you wouldn't.

Gracious Store

09/15/2013 04:16 am

I wonder if you are confused about Google's stand on manual actions, what should the rest of us do? I wish Google could be forthcoming with what it requires webmasters to do in case of manual actions applied to their sites

Kaspar Szymanski

09/16/2013 07:31 am

Just added my two cents on Google Plus -> http://goo.gl/v9Q9I0

Barry Schwartz

09/16/2013 09:44 am

Thank you!

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