Today, Google announced a new feature for Google Webmaster Tools.  You can now go in and check to see if there has been manual action taken against your website for overly aggressive use of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  If you or anyone on your team has been involved in attempting to artificially boost your rankings in Google by using methods that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines, then manual penalties can be, and might have already been, placed on your website.

What does this mean?

If at any time in the past couple of years you have (or think you may have) been penalized in Google’s search results and have lost rankings and traffic because of your penalty, then you’ll want to head on over to Google Webmaster Tools and check out this new feature.

Most business owners don’t need to worry about this.  Only a small amount of websites are hit with manual penalties.  Google states…

[quote]A recent analysis of our index showed that well under 2% of domains we’ve seen are manually removed for webspam[/quote]

If you were in fact hit by a manual penalty, then chances are you already received a message from Google letting you know.

If you see no manual penalty, but are still concerned that you might have an algorithmic penalty, feel free to contact me.

More on penalty discovery here. 

Partial and Site-Wide Matches

In this new feature, you will see if you’ve been partially effected, as in one section of your site, or if it’s a site-wide penalty.  For example, I have a client who had a sub-domain that was “Partially” penalized and labeled as “Pure spam”.  To be honest, I had no idea this sub-domain even existed.   And from what I can tell, there is no real issue here, despite how bad “Pure spam” sounds.

Google Manual Action Penalty Notification


The example on Webmaster Central’s Post is showing that Matt Cutts’ (he is the head of the Web Spam team at Google) site had a Partial match issue as well, but with people leaving spam on his forum.  I think what you can read into this is that the big killer here is a Site-Wide Match Manual Action.  This is something you should be scared of…

Now, “Pure spam”, like the notice one of my clients received, is actually one of seven possible reasons for being penalized, all of which Google has created an explanatory video for.

Here is the video for “Pure spam“…



You can see all seven manual spam action videos over at Search Engine Land.  


What to do if You’ve Been Penalized?

If you have had manual action taken on your site, then you are in a very dangerous place, especially if it’s the “Site-Wide Match”.  You will either need to fix what is causing you to be penalized (and, however difficult this sounds…. in most cases it’s even more difficult than that) or start a new site from scratch.  If you do find yourself in this position and you care about your business, you will want to have someone experienced look into the specifics of your situation such as myself or any other digital marketing consultant that has experience dealing with these types of penalties.  All is not lost, but doing nothing will not make the problem go away.


Again, if you’re concerned that you might have an algorithmic penalty, feel free to contact me and I’ll get in touch with you right away.


Clint Henderson

Clint Henderson

Inbound Marketing Strategist at Wired SEO
Seasoned internet marketing consultant, founder of Wired SEO, digital marketing company specializing in SEO, Paid Search, and Social Media Marketing.
Clint Henderson
8 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Google is doing well as it is going to do manual actions against pure spam websites. Google’s algorithms also working in this way but manual action against pure spam is great step. Thanks for keeping us updated.


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