What is a manual penalty?
A manual penalty is a type of punishment given to websites that are caught manipulating a search engine. Google regularly use manual actions to target websites that are caught using the following tactics:
- Hacked site.
- User-generated spam.
- Spammy freehosts.
- Spammy structured markup.
- Unnatural links to your site.
- Thin content with little or no added value.
- Cloaking and/or sneaky redirects.
- Unnatural links from your site.
- Pure spam.
- Cloaked images.
- Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing.
How can I check for a manual penalty?
Checking for a manual penalty is easy, to get started you will need to open Google Search Console. Inside the Search Traffic > Manual Actions page you will find a notice on whether or not your page has a manual penalty.
If Google penalise your website and a long time passes, they remove the manual action notice. However, your site rankings will not return to normal until you fix your website.
How can I remove a manual penalty?
To remove a manual penalty, you will first need to fix whatever issue got you penalised. The most common form of punishment is related to link manipulation. Link penalties require a significant change in tactics.
Google expects you to demonstrate that you have achieved the following:
- Removed the offending issue, whether this is links, hacked content or malware on the website.
- Show that you have reformed and will not likely face this same issue in the future. You may need to stop using manipulative link building strategies.