65% Prefer Google Manual Actions Over Algorithmic Demotions

Apr 15, 2014 • 8:25 am | comments (21) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Penalty CardsA while back, we polled our audience asking if they prefer manual or algorithmic penalties by Google - that is, if you had to pick one or the other.

Imagine Matt Cutts coming over to you and saying, you're a bad boy. You deserve a penalty but I'll let you pick, you can have an algorithmic demotion or a manual action. Which would you pick?

I explain in detail the different between the two over here and the response was that 65% prefer a manual action, whereas 35% said they prefer an algorithmic demotion.

seo penalty preference

We had over 300 responses to the thread. Disclaimer: Please see my poll disclaimer post before coming to any conclusions on these results.

Forum discussion continued at WebmasterWorld.

Note: I am offline today and this post was pre-scheduled to be automatically posted. So if I am delayed in responding to issues or comments, I apologize in advance.

Previous story: Google's Matt Cutts: The Shirts Rarely Correlate To The Video


F1 Steve

04/15/2014 12:34 pm

Thanks for making the effort to provide us with news even though you are away Barry, its appreciated!!

Mike Weaver

04/15/2014 12:41 pm

Yeah, Barry's alright. Then again, Durant needs somewhere to come each day to suck up to Matt.


04/15/2014 05:11 pm

Interesting stats Barry! I would imagine this has more to do with the fact that with a manual penalty, you absolutely KNOW what you need to do to have it removed. With an algorithmic penalty, it can take some additional work to investigate the real cause behind the algorithmic lull.


04/15/2014 05:59 pm

I wish they would tell you, especially with Panda that your page or site is not up to par panda wise and maybe what part of your site within panda is the issue. The thing is you can build a site which you think is in the best interest of your users and google comes along says it doesn't think your website is good enough, I would like to know what they object to.

Martin Woods

04/15/2014 06:47 pm

An interesting result Barry. I was having this exact conversation today with my algo/manual removal team who specialise in this field. We would all always prefer a manual action over a algo issue, as it has already been stated, you know what you're working with. Added to this their is the benefit that you don't have to wait for a refresh of the algo to see the end point for all the hard work, (more of an issue with Penguin now thankfully Panda roll more often). I'm a bit surprised so many people would prefer a to have an algorithm issue, if you follow a set process/workflow manual actions are relatively easy to remove in comparison,

Durant Imboden

04/15/2014 09:39 pm

It would be nice if Google could at least provide a "Panda quality score," but expecting anything more that probably isn't realistic because an algorithm is, by nature, more complex than a manual penalty. Still, it does seem unfair that people who cheat and get caught are treated better than people who haven't thumbed their nose at Google's Webmaster guidelines but get tripped up by an algorithm. Google seems to be encouraging a "sin, suffer, repent" mindset with its notices of manual actions and its reconsideration requests.


04/15/2014 10:21 pm

Although I can understand why Google doesn't want to provide the information. It is very very frustrating to try and figure out where to go and what to fix. I know a lot of people who just ditch the site, take what they hope is the "good" content and start over. I'm looking at it as a challenge. Can I remove all the junk links, fix the content issues and see if it comes back to life? I suppose how bad the damage is?

Daniel Martin

04/16/2014 04:25 am

I personally think if you are a bad boy, and Google give's you a chance to select, then you should go for Algorithm penalty. Try to understand the logic behind both!!


04/16/2014 07:40 am

U r the heights of spamming in comments. By God's GRACE you should be penalized by Google Miss GRACE


04/16/2014 09:23 am

I think one of the biggest problems is knowing when it is 'fixed' Quite often the highest rankings are seen when the site is 'broken' with spammy links coming in e.t.c. Till it gets caught of course. So the webmaster thinks they have to 'fix' it till it receives the same rankings. Which then results in over-optimisation e.t.c.

Jitendra Vaswani

04/16/2014 09:44 am

Manual action penalty is far better , it gives us a warning and we can always rectify that issues .

Patti Paz

04/16/2014 12:34 pm

Come on, Barry, enough is enough. I go to your posts for insight and other opinions and thoughts. Thus far, I have found spammy comments like this on every one. Can you clean up this? Naturally, a Manual Penalty is in order!!!


04/16/2014 02:10 pm

Thats the thing. Nobody tells you - "Hey you need to watch your backlink profile like a hawk!". So I know a lot of people are probably caught off guard when they find out their site has essentially been de-indexed from Google. I joked by saying that Google 'right-sized' my site. But I'm going through the backlinks and removing those that are irrelevant, outright spam, or have keyword rich links that don't line up with the site. It should be pretty safe to do this - as long as your doing it correctly. Don't just create a huge list and Disavow them! Plus your disavow text file has to have #comments stating what you did to try and get the links removed to begin with! It is such a royal PITA and so time consuming to do this. If you have a new website? Unfortunately I highly suggest watching your backlink profile from the start and rule it with an iron hand. (And stop creating crappy backlinks to begin with!)


04/16/2014 02:21 pm

True, but if you buy a new car, no-one tells you that you need to keep the oil and tyres topped up/inflated either :) Really anyone getting a website for business purposes should do some research on it first. Too many people go in completely blindly which is why they get stung, often by cowboys/snake oil merchants and then blame Google. There is an old quote about computers (which I can't remember who said it) that fits perfectly here: "Computers are like old testament gods. Lots of rules and no mercy" :)


04/16/2014 02:22 pm

I don't know, I'm kinda up for the idea of spammers been made to 'suffer and repent'. Public flogging sounds like a good idea :)


04/16/2014 04:17 pm

LOL oh so true! Unfortunately I was one of those suckers.... So now I pay the price. I'm definitely not blaming Google in my own case. I blame myself first and foremost. Although Google slammed me - I was initially pissed off. But now? I just suck it up and get back to work and see if I can fix the mess I created.

Barry Schwartz

04/17/2014 01:09 am

I was offline for two days as all my posts said, I am cleaning it up now. Jeez, give me a break. I took off for a holiday but yet spent the time scheduling posts here.


04/17/2014 07:31 am

How was your holiday Barry?

Patti Paz

04/17/2014 10:15 am

Oops, oh so sorry! Ok, you got a break.


04/21/2014 03:08 am

Of course people will favor manual penalty because they know chances are pretty less that someone at Google Desk will find them. That is exactly why the algo penalties were created because things were getting out of control. I would personally chose algorithm penalty because that way I wouldnt be cursing at some innocent family man working at google trying to make a living and raising a family. I can simply blame the genius algorithm and start over.


04/21/2014 04:13 pm

i don't know anybody (except google) who prefer any penalties. It only google thing to make more momey. It completely unnatural.

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