Google Automated Action Viewer In Search Console Might Happen?

May 14, 2024 - 7:21 am 2 by

Google Speaker Siren

For over a decade now, I've been talking about Google adding an automated action viewer to Google Search Console to accompany the manual action viewer. This would provide a way to see if a Google Search ranking algorithm negatively impacts your site's performance.

Danny Sullivan, the Google Search Liaison, said on X last night that he is supportive of the idea of a way to "you could go into Search Console and if you have an algorithmic action, you'd see a notice just like if you have a manual action." In fact, he said he expects the Google Search team to revisit the idea, "I was just talking about this with some folks on the search team last week, and I expect to revisit the idea," he wrote.

In fact, in 2015, Google said it won't be coming anytime soon but then in 2018 we discussed it again and have so year after year.

We know Googlers themselves can look up specific algorithmic issues with specific sites, heck, we saw they have a Google penalty server and we know Google employees can look up issues on the automated algorithmic side.

So what are the challenges of doing so? Sullivan explained:

First, there are some sites that do really bad spamming. Anyone who thinks that's not them -- you're right, it probably isn't. Those that do, they know. And if you tell them what the algorithm thinks is spam, then they can adjust and try to game it -- not good for anyone, searchers or other sites."

Second, there's no way to "manually" lift an algo action. It's the algorithm. It's not focusing on a specific site. It doesn't have a list of sites added to it. It's automatically understanding patterns that make it think "across all this content, I see these patterns, and this makes me think generally I see spam here." So there's no way to go in and somehow "remove" a site, if that makes sense. With an actual manual action, we can -- because an action was placed against a specific site.

Here is the full post:

Two different things. A site could have an algorithmic spam action. A site could be not ranking well because other systems that *are not about spam* just don't see it as helpful.

I've looked at many sites where people have complained about losing rankings and decide they have a algorithmic spam action against them, but they don't. That's why I'm supportive of the idea we'd perhaps share as much in Search Console. That maybe you could go into Search Console and if you have an algorithmic action, you'd see a notice just like if you have a manual action. I was just talking about this with some folks on the search team last week, and I expect to revisit the idea.

It's not a new idea, either. It's challenging, however, in two key ways. First, there are some sites that do really bad spamming. Anyone who thinks that's not them -- you're right, it probably isn't. Those that do, they know. And if you tell them what the algorithm thinks is spam, then they can adjust and try to game it -- not good for anyone, searchers or other sites. Second, there's no way to "manually" lift an algo action. It's the algorithm. It's not focusing on a specific site. It doesn't have a list of sites added to it. It's automatically understanding patterns that make it think "across all this content, I see these patterns, and this makes me think generally I see spam here." So there's no way to go in and somehow "remove" a site, if that makes sense. With an actual manual action, we can -- because an action was placed against a specific site.

And ... I'm greatly sympathetic to the idea that with a manual action, you can file for reconsideration and get the manual action removed versus with the algo, a sense of not only do I not know, but if I did, I can't even talk to someone about it. One thing I'm wondering is if there's a way, at least as a start, that we could let people who got notifications say "Not spam!" kind of like with email. And maybe we could use those reports in aggregate to better improve the automated spam systems overall. Of course, the challenge is actual people who are knowingly spamming might say the same thing, so it takes some thinking about how we might come up with a system that would be useful. Part of what I'm hoping to talk to folks more internally about.

Before I leave the spam thing -- you don't really want to think "Oh, I just wish I had a manual action, that would be so much easier." You really don't want your individual site coming the attention of our spam analysts. First, it's not like manual actions are somehow instantly processed. Second, it's just something we know about a site going forward, especially if it says it has change but hasn't really.

Moving away from spam, we do have various systems that try to determine how helpful, useful and reliable individual content and sites are (and they're not perfect, as I've said many times before, anticipating a chorus of "whatabouts....." Some people who think they are impacted by this, I've looked at the same data they can see in Search Console and ... not really. Some of them ranking really well. But they've moved down a bit in small positions enough that the traffic drop is notable. They assume they have fundamental issues but don't, really -- which is why we added a whole section about this to our debugging traffic drops page.

But some clearly have had large drops. Another thing I've been discussing, and I'm not alone in this, is could we do more in Search Console to show some of these indicators. This is all challenging similar to all the stuff I said about spam, about how not wanting to let the systems get gamed, and also how there's then no button we would push that's like "actually more useful than our automated systems think -- rank it better!" But maybe there's a way we can find to share more, in a way that helps everyone and coupled with better guidance, would help creators.

He also wrote more, so maybe click through:

Here is more:

So do you think we will get some sort of automated action viewer of some kind?

Forum discussion at X.

 

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