Google Sends Manual Actions For Rich Snippet Spam & Spammy Structured Markup

Feb 5, 2014 • 8:30 am | comments (50) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Rich Snippets SpamRich snippet spam has been an issue since rich snippets came out and eventually added a report rich snippet spam tool. Then Google dropped the amount of rich snippets showing in the search results recently.

It seems like Google is now sending out notifications to those who have been spammy with their rich snippets.

One webmaster posted a notification he received in the Google Webmaster Help forums of a manual action he received for "Spammy structured markup."

Here is the text of that notification:

Spammy structured markup

Markup on some pages on this site appears to use techniques such as marking up content that is invisible to users, marking up irrelevant or misleading content, and/or other manipulative behavior that violates Google's Rich Snippet Quality guidelines.

This is the first time I have seen a webmaster report getting a manual action sent to them for spammy structured markup.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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Jonathan Hatton

02/05/2014 02:11 pm

This is interesting, haven't seen this before. Wonder what the effect of the penalty will be and how you can revoke the action.


02/05/2014 02:22 pm

Google, if you want to stop spam, then stop forcing web developers to use hints for your algo. Create algo, that will be able to work without hints. Neither web developers, nor search users need your markup or authorship.

Paul Zanelli

02/05/2014 02:40 pm

This is news to me. I certainly haven't seen any evidence of this but I will be keeping my eye out now!

The God of SEO

02/05/2014 03:21 pm

But but but... I reallllllllllly want my picture and um, I really want those pretty stars and um. But Google said I'll get a better CTR and it's really good for linkbait for them to see my face...and um. [/sarcasm] [/mattcuttsislost]

The God of SEO

02/05/2014 03:22 pm

CTRL + ALT + DELETE? Wait, no. Disavow Schema? Report myself as the spammer of my own schema? There are ways. There. Are. Ways...


02/05/2014 03:43 pm

I think this is well over-due, considering how easy it was for a business to schema a 5 star review with 369875283 reviews to appear in the SERP display

Dave Fogel

02/05/2014 03:52 pm

Just what we all needed -- another penalty.

The God of SEO

02/05/2014 03:55 pm

Or...I have a better idea. Make it simple and put a limit as to what can or cannot be placed into Schema and how it actually displays. My SERPs look like a goddamned circus. Makes me long for the "cleaner" days of SERPs, when I could actually get to what I needed.

Alexander Hemedinger

02/05/2014 04:18 pm

Perhaps disavow a review lol!

PM Fiorini

02/05/2014 06:13 pm

With all these new penalties, I hope Google will have a "disavow your business" tool soon.

PM Fiorini

02/05/2014 06:13 pm

LOL! Indeed. Indeed.

PM Fiorini

02/05/2014 06:14 pm



02/05/2014 06:34 pm

What a silly comment. Google's penalties are aimed at those who spam, that's it.

Some Guy

02/05/2014 06:50 pm

I think we should start referring to Matt as Commander Queeg. The spam paranoia is on full tilt over at Googleville. "Ah, but the strawberries!"


02/05/2014 06:54 pm

because they have not enough money now. And it will continues... It all starts when they start selling stocks & distribute spyware & because of their fin schemes.


02/05/2014 06:55 pm

no, this penalties for all sites (white or black hat), it not matter. only google approved sites must be at top 10. otherwise any type of penalty.


02/05/2014 06:59 pm

[mattcutts-say-true]we cannot stop issue new penalties, because of our hard financial situation. that sharks on the stock exchange market... So we not have another way even for totally white hat sites, we need to kill your site to survive[/mattcutts-say-true]

Nick Ker

02/05/2014 10:06 pm

Apparently some do need it, since they can't tell right from wrong without someone imposing penalties. People are still trying to lie to consumers, and Google doesn't want to facilitate that.

Nick Ker

02/05/2014 10:07 pm

"White hat" sites are not faking the content of their rich snippets. Thus, they are not being penalized.

Nick Ker

02/05/2014 10:09 pm

Have you done enough shady things that you need to disavow your whole business?

Jared Carrizales

02/05/2014 10:16 pm

Absolutely agree. Reviews, and putting authorship on all pages (even HP) is something that has always irked me.

Jason Jersey

02/06/2014 02:15 am

Again, more old news. They've been performing Manual Actions For Rich Snippet Spam & Spammy Structured Markup since August.


02/06/2014 05:18 am

Action against spammy rich snippets is not a new release from Google as earlier the action against famous lyrcis site was enough to show how dreadful google algos can be when it comes to cutting all kind of spam.

Jitendra Vaswani

02/06/2014 06:15 am


Jitendra Vaswani

02/06/2014 06:16 am

Yes white hat SEO will survive. Spam will die

Catalin Claudiu Rosu

02/06/2014 07:44 am

Sorry Jason - on 20 August 2013 the Hummingbird Algorithm was implemented. What Barry is talking about now is a new tool that is doing something totally different than an algorithm. Please inform you better and then talk about old news.

Barry Schwartz

02/06/2014 10:53 am

This is new. This is the first documented case of manual action notification for spammy rich snippets. Sorry. This is new.

Jason Jersey

02/06/2014 10:57 am

Maybe it's not documented online, however my team has been racing to the fences since August fixing this exact problem on several dozen sites.

Barry Schwartz

02/06/2014 11:03 am

Forward me a copy of your notification(s).

Jason Jersey

02/06/2014 11:06 am

Barry, send me your email. I don't want publically disclose this email I am going to forward you.

Barry Schwartz

02/06/2014 11:07 am

I just emailed you.

The Anti Cutts

02/06/2014 11:14 am

Jason, please disclose your email address so I can contact you. Your site isn't ranking very well, we are a fast growing company based in India with primary focus on SEO (Jason, that stands for Search Engine Optimization) by Outsourcing either complete or part of your work to us in India :)

Jason Jersey

02/06/2014 11:16 am

what? lol

Jason Jersey

02/06/2014 11:16 am

Barry, just emailed you from my liquidnet email.

Barry Schwartz

02/06/2014 11:18 am

That is a pure spam notification. Not a spammy structured data notification. Thanks for your email. This is a new notification.

Jason Jersey

02/06/2014 11:21 am

However, this one is directly related to the structured data, maybe the lingo in their messages changed, but its exactly the same thing. It was a pure spam manual action as a result of structured data implementation the Wrong way.

Jason Jersey

02/06/2014 11:24 am

You just said August 20th... hello, we've started seeing problems with structured data in August. I didn't give a day lol. Only thing different Barry provided was a message with different verbiage. But the result was exactly the same thing caused by the same thing.

Barry Schwartz

02/06/2014 11:29 am

Maybe. But I reported that this is a new message being sent by google.

Jason Jersey

02/06/2014 11:32 am

Yes, it's definitely a new message. I presume the old message drove too much confusion to most, multiple reconsideration requests, etc. We just so happen to have got lucky and found the source immediately because the old message was extremely vague.

Barry Schwartz

02/06/2014 11:34 am

So this is new news.

Gaurav Srivastava

02/06/2014 12:11 pm

Finally you win the conversation..And Yes...It is New.


02/06/2014 12:24 pm

Barry, Is this new news?


02/06/2014 04:12 pm

LOL - good one :)

Shugga Dopeness

02/06/2014 05:18 pm

I'm sure there are other reasons but the ton of 5er folks offering to write snippets may have something to do with it too. Webmasters may like their image showing up in search but to me it does not mean you are an authority, it's kind of annoying. Imagine seeing Larry and Sergey's face plastered on every search listing that has to do with Google. Search would feel like some awkward dating site.

Davis Johnson

02/06/2014 05:37 pm

I am sorry but plenty of sites that do not do anything sketchy have been caught up with these penalties. I understand PM Fiorini's frustration SARCASM because it is laced with truth.

Gary R Beal

02/06/2014 10:10 pm

Guess Yoast is going to see a sales drop

Jan Dunlop

02/07/2014 12:53 am

I would think all you need to do is remove the schema markup

Nick Ker

02/07/2014 04:54 pm

Name one.


02/10/2014 09:45 am

you need to check their serp better to see what penalties not based on "hat" of site. Also updates from 5-6feb target almost all sites, looks like google money updates again.

Nick Ker

02/10/2014 02:30 pm

Hmm. Not seeing any problems for my site nor about 20 other sites I work for. Please give an example of what has gotten you so upset.

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