Google Official FAQ On Pure Spam Manual Action

Mar 14, 2024 - 7:41 am 6 by

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Google has posted an FAQ on what to do if you received a pure spam manual action. This was posted by Ryan T. from Google who titled his post in the Google Webmaster Help forums as Received a 'Pure Spam' Manual Action Notice? See What It Means for Your Site and How to Address It.

With the mass manual actions sent out last week and all the updates to the Google spam policies - I suspect Google felt it was a good time to post this refresher.

Here is the full FAQ Ryan posted (these posts tend to disappear over time, so I will archive it):

What is a Pure Spam Manual Action?

Google issues a pure spam manual action when a site appears to use aggressive spam techniques that violate Google's spam policies. This includes tactics like automatically-generated content, cloakingscraping content from other websites, or other severe violations. When such an action is applied, it may affect some or all pages of your site, significantly impacting your site's visibility on Google search results.

Why Do Manual Actions Exist?

The goal is to maintain high-quality and relevant search results. Manual actions help Google combat spam and manipulation attempts, ensuring that users find the information they're searching for and that legitimate sites receive the visibility they deserve.

How to Identify If Your Site Has Been Penalized?

Check the Manual Actions report in Search Console. If there's a pure spam action against your site, it'll be listed there along with details about affected pages and the specific issues detected.

Additional Points:

While most sites hit with a "pure spam" Manual Action exhibit clear violations of Google's spam policies, there are occasionally websites that, at first glance, don't neatly fit into the category of being overtly spammy. This could be due to subtler issues, which might not be as straightforward to identify as clear spam but still adversely affect the site's quality and relevance. Violations might not always be obvious, and a deeper review of the site's content and structure is crucial for identifying and addressing potential issues.

Steps to Resolve a Pure Spam Manual Action:

  • Understand the Violation: Review Google's spam policies to understand the violations leading to the manual action.
  • Audit Your Site: Go through your site to identify content or techniques that might be considered spammy.
  • Make Necessary Changes: Remove or revise the problematic content and practices. Update your site so it adheres to Google's guidelines.
  • Request a Review: Once you've cleaned up your site, use the "Request Review" option in the Manual Actions report. Describe the changes made, providing examples of removed and improved content.
Important Points to Remember:

  • Reconsideration requests can take several days to weeks, depending on the complexity of the review.
  • You'll receive notifications via email about the status of your request.
  • Removing the manual action doesn't guarantee immediate restoration of your site's previous rankings. It allows your site to be reconsidered for indexing and ranking in search results.

Key Considerations:

  • Focus on Compliance and Quality: Emphasize aligning your site with Google's policies and improving overall content quality. This addresses both the immediate manual action and contributes to a healthier, more sustainable site strategy.
  • Long-Term Strategy Over Quick Fixes: Addressing a manual action effectively requires looking beyond immediate fixes to consider the long-term viability of your site's approach. Adapting to user expectations and policy changes is crucial for lasting success in search rankings.

  • Q: Can fixing just a few pages lead to the removal of the manual action? A: No, you need to address the issues across your entire site. Partial fixes won't result in the removal of the action.
  • Q: Should I remove the rel=canonical tag to avoid contradicting Google's chosen canonical for spammy pages? A: It's generally recommended to maintain proper canonical tags as per your site's structure and content. For pure spam actions, focus on removing or correcting the spammy content itself.
  • Q: What if I've corrected the issues but my site still isn't ranking well? A: Restoring a site's ranking after a manual action can take time. Continue focusing on creating high-quality content and following best practices.
  • Q: Is my domain lost? Do I need to bin my site and start over? A: Receiving a pure spam manual action does not mean your domain is irreversibly damaged. By addressing the violations, removing spammy content, and aligning your site with Google's guidelines, you can request a review and work towards having the penalty lifted.
  • Q: Why was my site deindexed for spam, but there are still other 'spammy' sites ranking? A: Google uses complex algorithms and manual reviews to identify and penalize spammy behavior, but it's possible that some sites temporarily evade detection. This doesn't mean these sites won't be penalized in the future. Focus on ensuring your site adheres to the guidelines to provide long-term stability in search rankings.
  • Q: My site lost a lot of its traffic, but didn't receive a manual penalty, what do I do? A: Traffic drops can stem from various factors, such as technical SEO issues or changes in Google's algorithms. It's crucial to perform a comprehensive audit of your site to identify any areas that could be improved. Regularly monitoring your site’s performance in Search Console is important for spotting traffic trends and addressing potential problems.
For more detailed guidance on resolving pure spam actions and improving your site's compliance with Google's policies, visit: Manual Actions reportSpam policies for Google web search and Google Search Essentials.

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