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Getting ranked high up in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) is vital for many online businesses.

A higher ranking in SERPs gives the business a strong boost, proper exposure and heavy traffic. But, the many tactics that SEO experts and marketers used to employ for higher rankings become quickly ineffective.

It’s getting harder to achieve high rankings as Google and other leading search engines are constantly updating their programs to make themselves accurate and deliver the best user experience. So, many SEO experts  & consultants are twisting the link-building process for rapid growth. Consequently, many websites are being thrown the book at for violating Google’s guidelines.

Google penalties are a major concern and setback for SEOs. You may try your best to comply with Google’s guidelines, yet you may still get hit by a penalty. The penalty doesn’t call for website disposal.

No matter why your website gets penalized, you can take effective actions to redeem your organic search engine rankings by removing manual penalty or so on.

How to Know If Your Site Has Been Penalized?

Seeing a traffic drop all of a sudden? You have to investigate what is causing the drop. Traffic drop doesn’t necessarily mean your site has been penalized. But, there are some factors that could signify a penalty on your site.

You can monitor your website to find out if your site has been penalized. If you are not monitoring, you need to start now. Because you will hardly be able to spot Google penalties before they hurt your business.

If your page rank (PR) goes to zero or notice significant traffic drops on individual pages, it could indicate a penalty.

If you also notice traffic drops on certain keywords or a hefty traffic drop overall, you site may have been penalized. Penalty may also lead to a number of pages getting de-indexed or an entire site getting de-indexed.

Just do a site search on Google and see if all of your pages are deindexed. If so, you have got a manual penalty from Google.

manual penalty by Google

Manual Penalty Types

There are two main penalties Google can dish out. The first penalty is a manual action dished out by Google’s spam team and the second one is an algorithm penalty. So as a list:

1. Manual Action Penalty
2. Algorithmic Penalty

In this article, I’ll discuss Google’s Manual Action Penalties, identification, remedy and recovery.

What is Google Manual Action Penalty?

Manual Action penalties are more noticeable than the algorithmic ones. The webspam team could impose a penalty to your site for a number of reasons. And, Manual Action penalties can be either site-wide or partial match.

Site-wide match can affect the site as whole and it’s imposed for more grave breaches and the effect impacts a large number of pages throughout the site.

While, partial match action affects only some pages of a site and is limited to certain pages, sections or links.

Site-wide action is a much harsher penalty. And, the site affected by it is usually more difficult to recover from. It may result in the entire site’s removal from the search engine index. Your site could not just be dropped in rankings, but be completely removed from Google.

How to Know If Your Site Suffered a Manual Action Penalty?

Your website is highly unlikely to face a Manual Action penalty, unless you’re doing something on a shady purpose. If you do suspect your site has been penalized by Google, let’s see how you can be sure of the penalty.

  • Step 1 – log into Google Search Console which was previously known as Google Webmaster Tools. Google Search Console is the way Google uses to get in touch with webmasters and inform them of potential issues that their sites are affected with and this includes notifying them of Manual Action penalties as well.

  • Step 2 – click on “All Messages” from your main account’s dashboard. Or, click on “Messages” on the side menu that drops down.

  • Step 3 – conversely you can look for Manual Action penalty by going to “Search Traffic > Manual Sections” section of the menu. 

Alternatively, you can try to login into Google Analytics to check if your website is penalized. If you notice a drop in traffic rate during the dates that Google publicized an algorithmic change, then it would indicate your site is hit.

manual penalty traffic drop

  • From the Google Analytics Dashboard, find and select your website, then go to >> Acquisition >> All Traffic >> Source >> Medium. Select Google >> Organic from the list. You can now view the number of visits you got from Google Search Results.

You can change the reporting period from the top right and return to as far as January 2011. Now you can compare the dates and detect a major drop in traffic.

Most Common Reasons for A Manual Penalty; Remedy & Recovery

While there are a number of causes that drive a Manual Action, let’s start with the most common causes of Manual Penalties.

 The most common manual action taken against sites with unnatural links. Google penalizes sites with both unnatural incoming links and unnatural outbound links.

There are mainly two types of Manual Actions imposed upon a site with unnatural links. The first type “impact links” message is delivered when Google detects that unnatural links they found could be out of control, meaning you’re not completely responsible for their dissemination. So, they don’t affect your website’s overall rankings. However, Google suggests that you remove the links that you can control.

Penalty involving “impact links” is the most lenient type of punishment you can receive as it has minimal impact on your site in comparison. The impact is minimal because targeted action is directed against the inbound links, diminishing them without directly or manually impacting your rankings or indexing on Google. But, there can be indirect impacts to your overall rankings.

The second type of Manual Actions is where Google detects that your website has complicity in link schemes. Deceptive or manipulative link practises may lead to this type of Manual Action. With this type of Manual Action imposed on you, you have to show that you’re making efforts to rectify the site. You need to remove as many unnatural links as you can.

Google Penalty Remedy & Recovery

  • Consider carrying out Backlink analyses to discover links that could be unnatural. You can have these links removed or nofollowed.

    You can use LinkDetox to identify your unnatural or negative backlinks.

  • Use the Google Disavow Tool to disavow any links that could be creating issues. Place a reconsideration request and await a response.
  • While awaiting a response, employ new ways to produce strong, natural links. Create standard content that people are likely to link to and share.
  • Like i said above, Link Detox is an effective tool for analyzing your Backlink profile and simplifying the rebounding process from unnatural links.
  • Link Detox will identify the links quickly and remedy them.
  • You can also integrate LinkResearchTool with Pitchbox to request webmasters to remove links to your website.

Lets check the reasons of why your site might be penalized and get a manual action penalty from Google Team along with the ways out of it.

Unnatural Outbound Links

Google will punish your site if it finds outbound links on your site breaching its guidelines. This penalty is imposed upon websites that Google believes are selling links to other websites without being properly marked as “sponsored”. The outbound links also include irrelevant links and pages set up for linking schemes.   

unnatural links penalty

Remedy & Recovery From Unnatural Links

  • If your site is penalized for unnatural outbound links, you can try removing paid links, exchanged links and random links that you have provided to other websites.

  • If the outbound links on your site aren’t part of a linking scheme, then consider dofollowing links in comments that are left on your blog or forum posts. 

Hacked Site

Google will impose a Manual Action on your site as soon as it notices malicious code. Yes, you’re not responsible for a website being hacked. But, Google will deliver a penalty anyway. This sort of penalty could indicate that your site is hosting malicious activity and it’s hacked by a third party. If your site is hacked, then your visitors won’t be able to view the content they are expecting.

hacked site penalty google

Remedy & Recovery from Hacked Site Manual Action


  • You can utilize the services provided by security companies like Sucuri or SiteLock if you don’t know much about fixing a hacked site. 
  • You can contact your hosting service and regain your access to your site. 

You can prevent the future attacks by hiring similar services to monitor your site.

Thin Content

Content with little or no value is called thin content. Google expects your website to contain updated, useful and resourceful content. If your website contains content that doesn’t provide value, Google can impose a manual action against your website.

According to Google, thin content is what as follows:

Automatically generated content – If a human is not creating your content, then it will likely fall under this category and be considered thin content.

Thin affiliate pages – If the only content your website has is for the purpose of promoting products or services as an affiliate and provides no additional value, it might be considered thin content.

Content from other sources – If you rely upon content scrapers to steal content from other websites, or you get low-quality content from outside contributors (guest posts), then it might be considered thin content. google-manual-action-thin-content

Doorway pages – If you have multiple pages or websites that you are trying to rank for specific queries that take the user to essentially the same piece of content, then they might be considered doorway pages.

If your website contains any of these types of content, then Google determines that the pages cannot provide value to users, thus demotes your site.

sitewide manual action penalty

Remedy & Recovery from Thin Content Penalty


  • Review Google’s Guidelines to understand high-quality content type. 
  • Review your website and filter similar content on your site pages. 
  • Also, filter content that is similar to content on external sites.

Pure Spam

Your site can be subject to a Pure Spam Manual Action for a number of abuses. If you breach Google webmaster guidelines, your site may receive a Manual Action. Breaching Google’s guidelines includes publishing automated gibberish content,  scrapped content, automatically generated content, content copying, etc.

pure spam penalty

Remedy & Recovery from Pure Spam Penalty


  • Clean up any pages and link that are in breach of Google’s Guidelines. 
  • Do not duplicate techniques designed for search engines. 
  • Your website may require changing its architecture, and content contingent on the type of spam.

User-Generated Spam (UGC)

Google distributes this type of penalty when users on your website, blog or forum contribute spammy blog comments, or forum posts. If you own a social networking site, you may receive a penalty based on the behavior of your users’ profiles, members or visitors.

Google wants to rank websites removing all sorts of spam. So, if it notices your website is rife with fake comments, and spam, your website will be punished for your users’ wrongdoing.

user generated spam penalty

Remedy & Recovery from UGC Penalty


  • Look for spammy blog posts or fake comments that are piling up on your site. 
  • Target the spammers and issue them a ban. 
  • Remove spammy UGC from your site. 
  • Implement a system of voting in your community, so that users can vote down offensive and spammy content and you can remove such content.

Cloaking and Sneaky Redirects

Cloaking occurs when your website shows content to Google, but not to visitors. In order to manipulate search engine rankings, sites offer different content or pages to search engines.

Sneaky redirects refers to landing pages that users are redirected to. If your website contains any pages that are indexed on Google, but reroute users to other pages, then you may have “sneaky redirects”.

sneaky redirects penalty

Remedy & Recovery from Sneaky Redirects Penalty


  • If you aren’t aware of your website containing cloaking and sneaky redirects, then have security, malware services to ensure your website is modified in that way. Contact with your Web Host providing company and ask for the solutions. If they can’t help you; and if your site is in WordPress; contact us. We will help you on this regard. 
  • If you are aware of this sort of this manipulative tactic, make sure you rid your site of them.

Hidden Text & Keyword Stuffing


Your website may be subject to Manual Actions if you overuse keywords or conceal keywords from users during your site’s optimization. This sort of Manual Action can target hacked or infected websites.

Remedy & Recovery from Keyword Stuffing Manual Penalty


  • Check your website for instances of hidden text or overused keywords that you have optimized your website with. 
  • Get in touch with malware removal service to free your website from potential hack.

Bottom Line – the best strategy you can place to remedy a Google penalty is to avoid it in the first place.

Webmasters are always looking for shortcut ways to get higher rankings end up breaching Google’s Guidelines. It’s nearly impossible to achieve too many things online without Google.k.

If your site is penalized, you may have to go to lengths to repair and recover your rankings. In order to achieve good results with Google, you need to be patient, play by the book, recognize what has gone wrong and set things right again.

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