Google Webmaster Tools Shows Your Manual Spam Actions

Aug 9, 2013 • 8:37 am | comments (44) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Webmaster ToolsGoogle announced the introduction of a new awesome feature in Google Webmaster Tools named manual action viewer.

The manual action viewer let's you see if your site currently has any manual actions applied to it. So if you have paid links pointing to your site, if you are hiding text or if you have user generated content spam - you can learn about it in the manual spam action viewer without Google having to send you an email about the issue.

Google said it is unlikely for you to see anything in that manual action section because "under 2% of domains" in the Google index "are manually removed for webspam," according to Google.

Here are some examples of what you may see.

No Manual Action:

google manual action viewer - none

Linking Out Badly Manual Action:

google manual action viewer - linking out badly

In addition to this, Google has documented most, if not all, of the manual actions you can get in their help center. You can see them over here.

Types Of Google Manual Actions

You should click through to all those documents, there is good content there, many with videos. This can help you learn Google's mindset to these manual actions and help clients deal with them as they come up.

I have summarized them all in one page named Google's manual actions search spam.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help, WebmasterWorld, BlackHat Forum, John Muller Google+ & Matt Cutts Google+.

Update: There is an issue and Google took it offline. Cutts wrote on the blog:

Update (12:50pm PT, August 9th): Unfortunately we've hit a snag during our feature deployment, so it will be another couple days before the feature is available to everyone. We will post another update once the feature is fully rolled out.

Update #2 As of Monday morning, August 12th, it is now back in action.

Previous story: Google Guidelines: Make Your Mobile Pages Rendered Incredibly Fast



08/09/2013 01:44 pm

Good guy Google finally comes through. Props. Respect. Synonyms.

Steve Peron

08/09/2013 03:43 pm

One concern I have is that under the page for "Unnatural links to your site—impacts links" It says "If you don't control the links pointing to your site, no action is required on your part. From Google's perspective, the links already won't count in ranking." However, in the video Matt Cutts say's "That we might take action on some of those Anchors. So you might not be able to rank for the phrases to be expected" (3:10 in the video). So, do the links not count, but anchor text penalty is applied? or does Google have the option to penalize the anchor? It is not clear on how you would determine solely on the warning in GWMT.

Marie Haynes

08/09/2013 03:51 pm

How many people are actually getting example links?


08/09/2013 05:05 pm

I have a client who got nailed prior to me helping and I have been going through this with intensity. The message was "Unnatural links to your site" Action was "On links to your website". Very interesting - shoot me an email, Doc. I'll share. But no example URLs were provided.


08/09/2013 05:06 pm

I think it's based on the level of links. If 99% of 'unnatural' links point to one URL, I can see that sub page being penalized; however, if 99% of unnatural links cover 50% of your website, I believe the links would be ignored, rather than an actual page penalty. Of course, just my thoughts, nothing to back or prove this.

Marie Haynes

08/09/2013 05:44 pm

Hi Josh. I have 16 clients in my WMT with messages in the "manual action" section and almost all of them have the exact same thing - "Partial action" that is "on links to your website". There is one site that was given an example URL and it was a very informative one actually as it pointed to a scraped version of an article that many would classify as a very high quality guest post. But, for the remaining 15 clients - no examples were given.


08/09/2013 05:46 pm

Interesting - and they all have the same messages?

Marie Haynes

08/09/2013 05:48 pm

All but one have the "partial action" message. One has "site wide action" that affects all links.


08/09/2013 06:24 pm

You been doing some highbrow SEO Marie to have all those clients smashed down with penalty. What are you doing Marie :)

Marie Haynes

08/09/2013 06:26 pm

:) All I do is unnatural link penalty removal. These clients all had penalties and came to me to help them get the penalty removed.


08/09/2013 07:22 pm

i had this segment in my account earlier but now it seems to be gone, am I alone?

Eric Bridges

08/09/2013 07:45 pm

This is for sure gone... Checked across three different accounts and none available. Google giveth and taketh away.

Stephane Brault

08/09/2013 07:58 pm

I just noticed it's gone from my account to. That sucks. At least I had the time to notice I had a penalty because one of my websites had been hacked.


08/09/2013 08:23 pm

Relax. Check out Cutt's post: Update (12:50pm PT, August 9th): Unfortunately we've hit a snag during our feature deployment, so it will be another couple days before the feature is available to everyone. We will post another update once the feature is fully rolled out.

Craig Payne

08/09/2013 08:49 pm

Only 2% - that is a lot of sites!


08/09/2013 09:15 pm

I was able to submit a request using the new feature. I received a message on wmt that it was received by them and that they would get back to me. Do you think I need to resend it once the feature is back live?

lez bennet

08/09/2013 10:02 pm

There once was a startup named Google. That ate much more than noodles and strudel. Their loyal patrons didn't mind, When treated so unkind. Too late, the internet is their kit and caboodle.

Jodie Peg

08/10/2013 06:09 am

Manual option is not showing in my webmaster -- what should i Do


08/10/2013 07:06 am

The Manual option is not showing in my webmaster ????


08/10/2013 02:26 pm

Learn to read.


08/10/2013 02:28 pm

No, The Manual option is not showing in your webmaster !!!!


08/10/2013 02:33 pm

It depends. If you have nothing better things to do, then you can send it again ... and again ... and again ...

Sanjay Kumar Negi

08/10/2013 06:15 pm

Manual action viewer is really a great feature, it will help us to find out manual penalties by Google. Really love it.

Ana Hoffman

08/10/2013 06:32 pm

Did you see that the Manual Actions have disappeared from GWT? Hope it's a temporary glitch.


08/11/2013 07:59 am

Manual action viewer is useful tool introduced from Google webmaster Team which will let us know whether our blog is hit by Google penguin and panda updates or not.


08/11/2013 03:08 pm

why they not show us all types of penalties - panda, penguin, over-optimization, etc. Google become very unstable search engine, so this datas really help to webmasters to at least recognize where is the problem.

Dev Saini

08/11/2013 04:54 pm

Great tool by google. Thanks

Yogita Aggarwal

08/12/2013 03:53 am

For me its a great feature from Google. Keep it up Google :)


08/12/2013 05:42 am

Aren't they already sending mails for manual actions? They should have implemented a tool that let users informed about the Panda or Penguin actions.

Nikhil Chandra

08/12/2013 07:11 am

This is awesome :-)


08/12/2013 09:51 am

yeah...and should have to suggest users about how to solved panda and penguin issues.


08/12/2013 11:52 am

Really, this is very useful and informative tool. Now website admin can see the exact reason of manual action by Google team. It can save our lots of time and recover the ranking soon.

Mayur More

08/13/2013 12:19 pm

Stephane, me too got same message in my GWT tool. I checked across but didn't found any suspicious. Curious to know from you what steps you had been taken after looking this issue.


08/13/2013 12:59 pm

Hi to All, I have a website which was rank in top 5 on many keywords but due to google algo changed now we are not ranking and keywords so far near about 225. We are not getting any manual spam message from google team. we have also removed bad links but not get pre ranking. I am also trying to send reconsider mail but he send me on link to that you have no manual penalty. Could any body inform me about that how we can send reconsider mail to google spam team?

Dax Greener

08/13/2013 02:46 pm

From what I have been able to tell, it is still not going to tell you whether you have been hit by penguin or not. I have a client that was hit by penguin 2.0 but there still isn't a notice in webmaster tools of any issues with links.

Stephane Brault

08/13/2013 03:03 pm


Flower Delivery Guy

08/16/2013 09:41 am

OK so I would assume most webmasters will have received a message like this. Question is how does one now go about resolving this issue and knowing which unnatural links Google may refer to. gordon @


08/16/2013 07:25 pm

I received a "Partial match - Unnatural Links to you site - Impact Links" penalty from Google. I suspect it was due to the fact that I got paid posts from blog networks linking to my site. I don't want to remove the posts/links as they are a solid stream of traffic. My question is: Can I just ask the bloggers to no-follow the links and submit a reconsideration request?

osman musa

08/17/2013 07:15 am

Barry is the Matt Cutts of the SEO world, we all depend on him for news on new changes in SEO. Personally I think unnatural backlinks cannot be avoided, regular surfers of your site can be putting your links anywhere they want on the web as is the case for me. I've discovered a site with no backlinks and no SEO work that managed to get a page rank 3. I'm tired of waiting Google to update pagerank, but I discovered I don't even need it. I rank on top of first page for most of my posts @ techlivewire dot com

Ronan Leonard

08/31/2013 02:19 am

Hi Marie, I got a manual notice on 2 websites yesterday and I face the same question. How do you know which links Google is referring to and how can you successfully clean up the site and get the penalty removed?

Marie Haynes

09/02/2013 01:36 pm

Ronan, Google may give some example links of where the problem lies. However, they're not going to tell you every single link that needs to go. When you get one of these notices, what Google wants to see is that you have tried to remove every link that is self made. A natural link in Google's eyes is one that your website earned as opposed to one that you made.

Wayne McDonald

11/01/2013 06:57 am

I got the message: Unnatural links to your site—impacts links Google has detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative links pointing to pages on this site. Some links may be outside of the webmaster’s control, so for this incident we are taking targeted action on the unnatural links instead of on the site’s ranking as a whole. Learn more. I watched the video, I download the data (a csv file) and started looking at the most recent URLs with links, except most of these URLs did not have a link to my site. Most of the URLs were for site I was not familiar with. I can't ask the website of the site to remove a link that does not exist. Any suggestions? Are there other places I need to look? Thanks, Wayne


03/12/2014 03:39 am

hi i got this what does it mean Manual Actions Site-wide matches ----None Partial matches ---Some manual actions apply to specific pages, sections, or links Unnatural links to your site—impacts links Google has detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative links pointing to pages on this site. Some links may be outside of the webmaster’s control, so for this incident we are taking targeted action on the unnatural links instead of on the site’s ranking as a whole


03/31/2014 04:03 pm

We are ready to submit a reconsideration request but the 'Manual Actions' entry has disappeared in WMT with no explanation..?

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