How to deal with manual action penalty from Google

Did you receive a manual action penalty from Google? Learn how to deal with manual actions from Google and how to restore your site's rankings.

In today's blogging tips series, I am going to discuss how to deal with manual actions from Google. Today a Facebook friend asked me the same and he even showed me the screenshot of the warning he received in the Google Webmaster Tools account. Here is what he received:

Google Manual Action Penalty

Dealing with manual actions from Google

First and foremost thing to deal with the Google actions is, be patient. Most bloggers tend to quickly submit a review request and ask Google to take a second look at the violations. What will happen is, Google will review the site again in a few hours or few days and they will find the same violations there. Obviously, Google will not send you a manual action notice for fun. Only when they discover your website is part of a link scheme or some other sort of major violations are noticed, you will be issued a warning. They are not going to revoke the manual penalty until you cleanup your mess and resolve all violations.

Cleanup your site and make sure you follow the webmaster guidelines

When you receive a manual action penalty, your site will start losing the traffic from search engines. The traffic may change all of a sudden or gradually reduce. Watch how it goes for a couple of days. The traffic turbulence will get steady within a couple of days. Once your traffic is settled, check the damages. Did you lose a lot of traffic or your site is completely thrown out of Google search results?

Don't be panic. There is hope and you can get back to your old traffic, in most cases.

Identify the problem that caused the manual penalty

Analyze the message from Google. Sometimes, Google may not reveal the exact reason , especially if they find you are involved in fraudulent practices or if you are in the habit of breaking the rules often.

If the message is clear, you are lucky. Go ahead and make the corrections as indicated in the message from Google. The screenshot shown above indicates the site is penalized for participating in link schemes and unnatural link building practices.

It is time to revise your link building strategy. Are you using an SEO company to build links to your site? Contact them and ask them to stop all link building activities. Ask them to provide details of the link schemes they participated as well as the list of links they built in last few months or years.

Also, check your webmaster tools and find out the links to your website. Find out any links that do not look natural to you. If you are confused, show it to few of your friends and ask them to tell which are the links that look like paid links or links created manually.

Watch this video from Matt Cutts about manual actions

Cleanup your site

If your site is penalised for unnatural links, which is the most common reason for receiving manual action from Google, then your next job is to get rid of those links. In case of automatic penalty, you just have to cleanup the unnatural links and then wait for the algorithm to pick up your changes. However, in case of manual penalties, you have to contact Google and request a review of your site.

Your site may be penalised for participating in a specific link scheme and you may very well know which one it is, if you participated purposefully. Do whatever is required to get out of that link scheme. If you have been giving links to other sites to get links back to your site, get rid of all those links from your site as well as request other sites to remove links to your site.

Even if your site is penalized for participation in a specific link scheme, while reviewing your site again, Google may look for violations and issues in your site. So it is very critical to look for all possible violations in your site, even if they were not caught by Google for last few years. It is possible that Google will catch them while doing a manual review.

If your appeal is denied once, it is very hard to get Google to review your site again. So, it is important to do everything required to make your site look clean and in compliance with all webmaster guidelines from Google.

Using Disavow tool

If you fail to get rid of links to your site or if your competitors are building bad links to your site with the intention of getting you penalized, you can use this great tool from Google. However, it is not intended to easily ask for excuse for all the bad links you built. If you have been participating in lot of link schemes and trying to manipulate Google ranking, simply using Disavow tool will not save you. Google has made it clear that webmasters should make every effort to contact other webmasters and get the links removed by taking some manual efforts. If you fail to convince other webmasters to remove the links to your site, you may use Disavow tool to request Google to ignore the rankings from those links.

Keep this mind - do not submit a Disavow request as soon as you receive a manual action warning. Spend a few days contacting other webmasters and request them to remove all unnatural links. Politely tell them that you will be using Disavow tool if they do not remove the links and using the Disavow request against their website may impact the rankings of their site. I am sure they will help you.

Read more:

1. Official information about manual actions from Google:

2. webmaster guidelines from Google.

3. Read What is negative SEO? How to protect your website from negative SEO?

Article by Tony John
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including,, and many more.

Follow Tony John or read 695 articles authored by Tony John

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