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Manual Actions introduced in Webmaster Tools

On August 8, Google included a new section in Webmaster Tools  called “Manual Actions”.

A lot of times webmasters submit reconsideration requests, use the disavow tool, remove links thinking that they have been hit with a penalty. But with this new option you can be sure about which penalty hit your site and take the appropriate actions.

To access Manual actions, you need to select a site in your Webmaster dashboard, and on the left side under  “search traffic” you will get a new option called “Manual actions”.

If there is no problem with your site then you will not get any message but if there is an issue you will get an option to submit a reconsideration request.

Having watched several of Matt Cutts’ videos on spam, we noted important points for you from each of those videos.

Different kinds of spam

1.    User generated spam:

If you are running a forum that has not been maintained well then it gets run over by spammers who use automated tools to comment on posts or generate usernames that “rich in anchor text”.

If there has been no comment moderation on a blog the same thing happens.

Drupal sites allow a lot of user generated content with little or no moderation and all such sites with a lot of meaningless spun content and large number of outbound links that are in no way related to the content of the site result in user generated spam.

If you receive such a penalty then what you need to do is

  • Clean up, spare nothing that has the slightest hint of spam
  • Stop spammers coming back to your site with captchas. I suggest using recaptchas.

2.    Thin content:

Thin content is something that doesn’t provide much value to the users. Descriptions of products on e commerce sites which do not have much information is one example.

Blog posts that contain too many images and too little content could be another.

A post that is well researched will be more highly ranked than a post that doesn’t include that many details.

If you receive thin content warning and that is something which usually happens with e-commerce sites, you need to  focus on creating more content and that should solve the issue.

3.    Keyword stuffing:

Keyword stuffed article will sound something like this –

SEO company in Ontario will help you with SEO. You can find the best SEO services with our SEO company Ontario that provides the finest SEO services and has made its name in the SEO industry with its SEO services in Ontario.

Other than re iterating several times that the company provides SEO services there is not much info on the company itself, no examples, no testimonials, nothing that can help the customer make an educated decision. Such content used to rank very easily in the past but if you do the same thing now then you can get penalized for over optimization.

If you get such a warning the best thing you can do is to delete/edit  the posts to make them more meaningful if they sound like the above example.

4.    Impact/unnatural links

Unnatural links are links that have been created to manipulate the SERPs. Comment spam, creating thousands of spun articles that provide no value and linking them to your site, all can result in the unnatural link penalty.

When this happens it can be really difficult to work around this.

You may need to contact webmasters directly for link removal and remember that these are the webmasters who have not bothered about maintaining their site at all.

Google Disavow tool should be the last resort in this case.

Ever since the new manual actions viewer was introduced the reconsideration request form has gone.

Well, it’s now a part of manual actions.

Reconsideration form just disappeared and re appeared on the Webmaster Tools and the reason may be to lessen the number of reconsideration requests that pop up every day.

We hope that you never get hit with a penalty but if you do, now you know what to do.

 

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