Google Telling Webmasters They Don't Have Manual Penalties

Apr 11, 2011 • 8:51 am | comments (17) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

google webmaster notificationsAs we described a month or so ago, Google has both automated and manual penalties and based on which one you have, either submitted a reconsideration request will help or it won't.

For the first time ever, at least that I've seen, Google has replied to a reconsideration request telling the webmaster that his site was not penalized with a manual penalty. Since there was no manual penalty, there is nothing Google can manually do to help the site rank any better.

In the past, Google did not reply to people who submitted reconsideration requests and did not have a penalty. Instead they just let the email sit idle, delete it or ignore it completely. Now they are replying to some, telling them they have no manual penalty.

Here is a copy of the email as posted in WebmasterWorld:

Dear site owner or webmaster of ,

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team.

Of course, there may be other issues with your site that affect your site's ranking. Google's computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users.

If you've experienced a change in ranking which you suspect may be more than a simple algorithm change, there are other things you may want to investigate as possible causes, such as a major change to your site's content, content management system, or server architecture. For example, a site may not rank well if your server stops serving pages to Googlebot, or if you've changed the URLs for a large portion of your site's pages. This article has a list of other potential reasons your site may not be doing well in search.

If you're still unable to resolve your issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely,

Google Search Quality Team

This is good news. Now if you get one of these responses and you know you are penalized, you can make changes, wait for Google to recrawl your site and then hope whatever you fixed made a difference. Because automated penalties will fix themselves automatically when you make the necessary changes and Google picks up on those changes in their crawl.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Court: Google Must Share Data Metrics On AdSense For Domains
 

Comments:

seogabs

04/11/2011 01:00 pm

Seems we are getting more and more responses from google which has always be the main problem for so many site owners.. great news

googlemonopolyeu

04/11/2011 04:25 pm

This remains useless form output from Google. Google ought to create a login enhancement to Webmaster tools to isolate items it believes a site is algorithmically being penalized for. These items should be based on actual math determining rank, not goofy but widely disputed items like canonical URLs or vague site loading time. Google says a lot of things deceptively (for the little they actually says). They've denied in Courts the existence of whitelists and blacklists only later for another senior Googler to admit the presence of both. If Google has no white or black list I'd like them to explain under oath to a Court how Cult of Mac was restored in placement in 24 hours after mass media covered their search result plunge? Google didn't fuss with their algorithm for just one site and get such a quick response algorithmically. Clearly, this was a white list or some other flag being modified. Google needs to stop playing word games.

Roshan Joshi

04/11/2011 05:16 pm

that's a relief to many webmasters who are left wondering whatever happened to their site.

Pierre Far

04/11/2011 07:55 pm

Hi Barry, Yes we're running an experiment to give more feedback to webmasters with additional reconsideration response messages. This message and others are for some cases where we will be able to provide details about the outcome of the request, such as whether a manual spam action was revoked, if a site still violates our guidelines, or if Google wasn't taking manual action against the site. Cheers, Pierre (Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google)

Barry Schwartz

04/11/2011 07:56 pm

Thanks for the official confirmation Pierre!

Smithblogger

04/11/2011 09:10 pm

Its good to see that Google is there to help webmasters now. I always hated Google because of poor support for webmasters. Just think what will happen if every webmaster add this two line of code in robots.txt User-Agent: Googlebot Disallow: / When Google gets sued in Court of law then there are lawyers to help them but when a site gets banned by Google then there is nobody to help that poor webmaster.. I heartily welcome this Move from Google.

Geoff

04/11/2011 09:11 pm

Good news & Pleased you are settling in well Pierre :-)

pkenjora

04/11/2011 10:19 pm

Any plans to do a pre-consideration request? Let's say I'm launching a service or startup, and I want to know it's good with Goolge. Could I get an opinion before launching? Yes there are services that fall into this, for example directories, aggregators, or social sites. Not all are reputable, some are. pre-consideration would help improve them.

gruvr

04/12/2011 02:13 am

So combined with other statements Matt Cutts recently made, we can safely assume that if it is NOT a manual penalty - we should also get some message with a hint about what is wrong that triggered a filter?? Yes? Gosh this would be so useful - it would probably help prevent millions in collateral damage to the economy from these 'quality' updates...

tdf

04/12/2011 08:51 am

The email from Google in the article clearly states that manual action is sometimes taken against sites. This is equivalent to a whitelist/blacklist. Which article were you reading?

ES

04/15/2011 08:07 am

Help yourself: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769

Paul Kenjora

04/15/2011 10:42 pm

Thanks, Ran through the checklist and we're good. Theres a bit of a gray area there that I could use direct feedback on. Its gray because no one has attempted this, not because its a scheme. For example I can pay to have a premium account on LinkedIn, this allows me to ask people to link with my site. I didn't pay to get the link but I did pay to ask for a link. What if I pay for being listed in a directory? Is that violate the terms? What if I charge people to include them in a list of partners to which I link to based on relevance? I ask because I need to assemble an appropriate billing method for a startup and I need 1:1 feedback from someone authorized to give it. Can anyone at Google commit 20 minutes to evaluating the model? The model: Ask people to pay to be included in a network (subscription). Members can (don't have to) find partners to link articles with based on relevance. Partnerships are not automated, but links between articles are once partnership is accepted. Can I charge for a subscription, without no-follows, and stay kosher with Google? I imagine its OK since this provides social proof for quality of posts. No one wants to partner with a spammer. Also links are highly relevant. Process of choosing partners is done by humans with brains. Thoughts...?

Tony

04/17/2011 10:42 pm

That would be really nice if they did. Unfortunately, Google doesn't give you any advice on what to do if you have an algorithmic penalty.

Tony

04/17/2011 10:59 pm

Can someone clarify whether or not algorithmic penalties have any time length? I have a new site that went from first page rankings for a few terms to all of my terms dropping past page 40. My reconsideration request said this was not a result of any manual actions taken by the spam team. This was good news. If this is the case, should on-page fixes to my site automatically put me back up when the site is recrawled? Or is there a such thing as an algorithmic penalty that has a fixed time length?

Jackie Frandsen

07/15/2011 07:34 am

I believe that the title is misleading. Of course Google have manually penalties but they have spitted it into manually and automated penalties. When a site has gotten an automated penalty it would be solved automated when a site owner fixed the issues. I'm sure that Google still look at the spam reports at buzz manually. Otherwise this is rubbish news.

Mike

08/03/2011 01:05 am

Any body could help me to check this site? Thanks

Mike

08/03/2011 01:10 am

I get email below from Google: anyone could help me? Dear site owner or webmaster of http://iexplorevietnam.com/ We received a request from a site owner to reconsider http://iexplorevietnam.com/ for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines. We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team. Of course, there may be other issues with your site that affect your site's ranking. Google's computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users. If you've experienced a change in ranking which you suspect may be more than a simple algorithm change, there are other things you may want to investigate as possible causes, such as a major change to your site's content, content management system, or server architecture. For example, a site may not rank well if your server stops serving pages to Googlebot, or if you've changed the URLs for a large portion of your site's pages. This article has a list of other potential reasons your site may not be doing well in search. If you're still unable to resolve your issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support. Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team

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