Your Guide to Understanding Google Manual Penalty

Have you ever been hit with a manual penalty from Google? By now you are probably wondering what a Google manual penalty is and for a good reason. Google has never acknowledged its penalties up until recently. It has avoided the topic, leaving online marketing specialists scrambling to find the source of their issues with search engine ranking.

Google’s team of spam experts manually review sites listed on top of the search engines for competitive keywords. These penalties can show up anytime, are not subject to the limited visibility of the algorithm and are leveled when Google finds questionable material on your site.

For instance, if you one of the top 3 spots for “web design”, there is a pretty good chance you will be reviewed. A site that is at the top for “my favourite web design company” will probably never grab Google’s attention.

Unless you are actually good at SEO and know for certain that a manual review will not hurt you, we encourage you read this blog with extreme caution and take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

We say this for a reason. As difficult as this is to believe, many webmasters decide to just ignore these warnings and wait for the penalty to expire, perhaps hoping to make their way back up the SERPs naturally. Wisdek begs to differ and encourages all its clients and webmasters not to wait and to take immediate action.

How Do I Remove Low Quality Links?

Building more links to get back your site’s high rankings won’t help you fix the problem. There is actually nothing you can do except figure out why Google gave out the penalty in the first place and submit a reconsideration request through Google’s Webmaster Tools.

How Do I Check If I Was Hit By Manual Penalty?

You can check by going on to a search engine, let’s say Google, and typing in your domain name (including the extension). If your site is not ranking within the first 3 pages, you were most likely hit by a manual penalty.

Before you panic, try to take some snippets of your home page text and see if it shows up on Google. If that does not work, you were most likely hit by a manual penalty.

What Might Cause a Manual Penalty?

i) Keyword Stuffing:

An over optimized site is considered keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing refers to a phrase appearing excessively on a single webpage. There is no way to fool search engines as algorithms are good at catching this and devaluing your rankings. The rule of thumb to follow: 1 keyword/100 word texts.

ii) Un-natural links:

You may want to take down unnatural links pointing to your site, preferably naturally. This means contacting the webmaster or an internet marketing company that will help you disavow links using the Google  Disavow Links Tool.

iii) Hidden Texts:

Google views the hidden text as keyword stuffing. It’s very easy, but many people should avoid this practice at all costs.

iv) Cloaking:

Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to human users and search engines. This practice is a direct violation of Google guidelines and should not be employed by any means.

v) Malicious pages:

Websites are vulnerable to spyware and viruses. Search engines kick your website off their index and SERP if you were hit with one. It will take months for you to rank again, so be sure to frequently check and see if your site has been hacked.

vi) Automated Queries:

Webmasters download tools that notify them when their keywords are ranking on search engines. These webmasters apparently never followed the Google guidelines or did not care to read them because automated queries go against Google’s policies.

vii) Duplicate content:

Sites have to have something of real value, especially if you are trying to earn money. Mediocre, duplicate content will not cut it. Google has become really aggressive with this. They will find every reason to evaluate the worthiness of your site if you are earning money through affiliates and ad sense sites.

How to Prevent Penalties?

Google places a large emphasis on quality sites. Any sites that do not follow their guidelines, specifically quality guidelines, are in danger of being considered as spam.

Basic Principles for Webmasters to Follow:

–    Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
–    Don`t deceive your users.
–    Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you`d feel comfortable explaining what you`ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee.
–    Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn`t exist?”
–    Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

For more specific guidelines, click here.  In the meanwhile, all you can do is engage in good practices by monitoring your site for hacking and prevent and remove user-generated spam.

Why Will a Website Not Regain Old Rankings after a Penalty?

In an online discussion, Google`s John Mueller examines the reasons why a website will not regain its old rankings after the penalty has expired. Even if the penalty is lifted, the website still might have bad rankings and something to fix.

Will Google Lift a Penalty if I Take Action?

Google removes the penalty once elements that led to the penalty are removed. But, a lifted penalty does not lead to higher rankings either the previous rankings were not justified or there are now other factors that influence the position of your site.


These are all things you can look into and consider if you think your site is under a manual penalty. Once you’ve determined that your site is under a manual penalty, you will need to make changes to the site. Then you would need to file a request for reconsideration through GWT. It’s pretty easy.

When you file the request you’ll need to state the fact that think you have a manual penalty, that you read their quality guidelines and that you think you found the problem. Explain what you think the problem is and how you fixed it.

Bottom line: If you want to get high rankings that last, use search engine optimization methods that are compatible with Google`s search engine guidelines.

Contact Wisdek at 1-877-947-33451 so that a professional online marketing company can evaluate your disavowing link needs. Wisdek reviews  each case on a case per case basis and assists businesses in getting back on SERPs with minimal disruption

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