04.06.2024 r. Insight Land

Manual Action

What is Manual Action?

Manual Action, within the context of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), refers to a punitive measure taken by search engines, most notably Google, against a website that has been found to violate the search engine’s Webmaster Guidelines. This action is not the result of automated processes or algorithms but is instead manually imposed by a member of the search engine’s review team. The purpose of a manual action is to demote or remove web pages or entire websites from search engine results pages (SERPs) to ensure that users are presented with high-quality, relevant, and safe content. Manual actions can be applied for a range of infractions, including but not limited to, spammy content, hidden text or links, and unnatural links to or from a site.

Why is Manual Action important?

The importance of understanding and avoiding manual actions cannot be overstated for SEO professionals and website owners. A manual action can significantly decrease a website’s visibility on search engines, leading to a drastic drop in organic traffic, which can, in turn, affect revenue and brand reputation. Since search engines are a primary source of web traffic for most sites, maintaining compliance with their guidelines is crucial for online success. Furthermore, recovering from a manual action can be a time-consuming and complex process, requiring the identification and rectification of the violations, followed by a reconsideration request to the search engine. The process emphasizes the need for a proactive approach to SEO, focusing on quality content and ethical practices.

How does Manual Action work?

When a site is subjected to a manual action, the site owner is typically notified through the search engine’s webmaster tools, such as Google Search Console. The notification will detail the specific violation and provide suggestions for corrective measures. To resolve the issue, the site owner must take the necessary steps to address the violation, which may involve removing or disavowing spammy backlinks, revising content to eliminate keyword stuffing, or making hidden text visible. After making the appropriate changes, the site owner can submit a reconsideration request. The search engine’s review team will then re-evaluate the site. If the site is found to comply with the guidelines, the manual action will be revoked, and the site can regain its previous standing in the SERPs over time.

Good to know about Manual Action

It’s essential to recognize that not all drops in search rankings are due to manual actions; algorithmic changes can also affect site visibility. However, distinguishing between the two can inform the appropriate response strategy. Best practices to avoid manual actions include regularly auditing your site for compliance with search engine guidelines, engaging in ethical link-building practices, and producing high-quality, relevant content. Real-world examples, such as a major retailer being penalized for buying links or a popular blog being demoted for keyword stuffing, underscore the consequences of violating SEO best practices. Ultimately, understanding manual actions is crucial for SEO success, as it reinforces the importance of maintaining a user-first approach to website optimization and content creation.