Poll: Does A Manual Action Removal Impact Google Rankings?

Sep 5, 2013 • 8:32 am | comments (22) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google PenaltyI see many threads with complaints, excitement, sadness and fear in the forums. Most have to do with Google rankings. It goes like this...

The webmaster says something like, "my rankings and traffic from Google tanked," now I look and I have a manual action." Few days later they come back in and claim they submitted a reconsideration request and then days later, they yell with excitement that their manual action was revoked. They then sit back and wait but nothing happens. Their traffic doesn't improve, their rankings don't increase - they are in the same boat after the manual action is revoked that they were in during the penalty. With the exception that Google says they do not have a penalty.

A few weeks ago, I spent some time chatting in a Webmaster/Search Helpdesk Hangout where I asked about 9 minutes into the hangout about this. I asked, how soon does it take for the traffic and rankings to return.

There is a distinction between getting the manual action revoked and then for the traffic to return. It seems like many who do get a manual action revoked still need to spend a lot of time working on getting their rankings returned.

Here is the video:

We discussed this before, in a post I titled, Google Penalty Removal Won't Necessarily Improve Rankings.

So time for a larger poll, please let me know and share it with your friends:

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

This post was written earlier this week and scheduled to be posted today.

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09/05/2013 01:10 pm

Barry, any idea why long posts don't show in the comments for up to a few hours after posted? I get that I am long winded, but is there something with the Disqus system that lags long posts from being displayed? Not upset, just curious (I learned to save my long rants in a notepad file just in case it doesn't ever get displayed).

Paul Keene

09/05/2013 02:07 pm

Barry - R U working on Rosh Hashanah. Me too, now I don't feel so bad...Shana Tovah

Andrew Smith

09/05/2013 02:15 pm

Certainly hasn't improved rankings for a site I work on. Everything exactly as it was prior to the penalty being lifted. Sucks! Makes the whole effort pretty pointless!


09/05/2013 02:19 pm

Penalty was lifted because you cleaned up your spam. Your spam is what was ranking you pre-penalty. Why do you expect to be back where you were pre-penalty after cleaning up the spam that allowed you to be there in the first place?

Andrew Smith

09/05/2013 02:52 pm

Because it's not just the spam which gave the site it's rankings. There are plenty of natural links too. Thought being that the manual penalty is artificially reducing rankings, take that away and surely that dampening should disappear...

Stephane Brault

09/05/2013 03:14 pm

It depends on what the manual action was. I had a website penalized because it had been hacked and it was now distributing malware. In that case, the traffic resumed 100% after the manual action was revoked. On the other hand, I had a website which had been penalized for unnatural links in which case it never recovered.


09/05/2013 03:25 pm

The clean up for the penalty also gets rid of the additional ranking benefit you were receiving. You may have natural links and great content, and all that...but you now have less of it so don't expect to be back where you were. Also, I would be AMAZED if Google didn't factor trust into this. Your domain, if my assumption is correct, would have been penalized and basically given a scarlet letter to walk around with in the eyes of the various algo components after the penalty is lifted. So perhaps you are seeing a loss in 'trust', affecting your domain as a whole, at the algo level, and not just individual landing pages. Basically what I am saying is that you need to stop worrying about why things aren't at pre-penalty level and start working on making your site worthy of the rank you once enjoyed with the help of guideline breaking activity.


09/05/2013 04:29 pm

yes, it exactly why not need to fill any reconsideration requests. Just remove all site (remove urls in gwt), move content to new domain and you are ready to go with no history & normal trust!


09/05/2013 06:28 pm

It´s their BS ranking algos kicking in. First it needs to work out what drivel you have posted and then it needs to add a minus 10 because you come across as a real dick. It´s all about the algo, there is nothing Barry can do about it because he has nothing to do with the software apart from use it on his site. You probably get another minus 10 for being thick.


09/05/2013 06:57 pm

Wow. So you don't know if Disqus has a policy about long posts put up by guests?


09/05/2013 08:30 pm

To get a manual penalty revoked, you have to remove most/all of the links pointing to your site. In many cases where the site will rank at after revoking the penalty will be much worse than where it was when the penalty was originally applied. And you may also lose referral traffic from people clicking on those links that once pointed to your site - making your site even more dependent on traffic from search. The bottom line is there is no way out of the hole when you keep digging deeper!

Adam Mason

09/06/2013 07:17 am

From what I have seen, in most cases you will see some improvement from being revoked from a manual penalty. However there are a lot of cases in which algorithmic filters such as Penguin will still be holding the site down. As we all know it takes longer for Google to let go of a site hit with Penguin. All comes down to how Google also deals with the disavow file. They will look at it when revoking a manual penalty but it looks like they do not fully trust the disavow file on sites hit with Penguin. Basically, when your dealing with unnatural links, always go for trying to remove them and don't just rely on the disavow file. This way you should eventually see a good recovery.

Adam Mason

09/06/2013 07:22 am

Also, can depend on how many links are unnatural. I have seen some cases where you have to remove the majority of the link profile to recover. If this is the case, You will not see the original rankings until the site has some decent links.

Amit Kumar

09/06/2013 08:14 am

Definitely you will see the effect on your rankings.


09/06/2013 11:14 am

some time ranking will improve and some times will not

Kinex Media

09/06/2013 11:33 am

Thanks Barry for the post. It depends on the manual action,sometimes it improves and sometimes it doesn't.

Ravi Kumar

09/06/2013 12:18 pm

Please do not put me in fear, I have got one message regarding manual action of one of my client. I will take action. Client wants to get rank again. What would be my strategies after removing bad links or disavoing links.


09/06/2013 10:14 pm

i was actually having a manual penalty for one of my site and after two months i've managed to remove it but the ranking are goone i was in page 1 in all of my keywords but now nothing

Barry Schwartz

09/08/2013 12:56 am

No, I was offline.

Daniel Sherf

09/08/2013 10:11 am

Barry, it doesn't make scence that your site will get back the same traffic and the same rankings after the reconsideration. Think about it for a sec - The links that got you ranked high in the first place are now gone, you deleted/disavow them. And those links was the reason your site ranked high. Now they are gone. You want to rank high again? Think of a new strategy (new links, new links, new links). End of the mystery.


09/08/2013 01:48 pm

Follow Google's Webmaster guidelines and don't try and game the system.

Doc Sheldon

09/09/2013 03:22 pm

I've seen limited upturns in rankings after the manual penalty was revoked, which I'm assuming may be the lifting (or incremental reduction) of a dampener. They're usually so slight that it's difficult to even be sure they're there. Looking at the chart six months later makes them a bit more obvious. But only new efforts can eve get sites back to where they originally were, pre-penalty.

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