Manual Action

Google's way of penalizing a site for violating its guidelines, affecting its search performance.


A Manual Action is when Google's review team manually reviews a website and decides it's not complying with Google's quality guidelines, resulting in a penalty. This can drastically reduce a site's visibility in search results or remove it entirely. It's different from algorithmic changes that happen automatically. Manual actions are often triggered by black-hat SEO tactics like keyword stuffing or buying links. Once an issue is fixed, a site owner can request a review to lift the penalty.

Did you know?
Manual actions are specific to pages, sections, or links, rather than the entire website in most cases.

Usage and Context

Manual actions are crucial in maintaining the integrity and relevancy of search results. If a website is penalized, it's often because it's using manipulative techniques to gain an unfair advantage in search rankings. These penalties ensure that users continue to find high-quality and relevant content. For example, a site might receive a manual action for using hidden text to stuff keywords. The impact of a manual action can be severe, sometimes removing the site from Google's search results altogether until the issue is resolved.


  1. What triggers a Manual Action?
    • Violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines, such as spammy content, unnatural links, or cloaking.
  2. Can I fix a Manual Action?
    • Yes, by correcting the violation and submitting a reconsideration request through Google Search Console.
  3. Does every SEO mistake lead to a Manual Action?
    • No, only serious breaches of Google's guidelines.
  4. How long does it take to recover from a Manual Action?
    • It varies, but recovery can happen within a few days to weeks after Google reviews the reconsideration request.
  5. Can I prevent Manual Actions?
    • Yes, by following Google's Webmaster Guidelines and engaging in ethical SEO practices.

Tips and Recommendations

  1. Review Google's Guidelines: Regularly review and follow Google's Webmaster Guidelines to avoid violations.
  2. Monitor Search Console: Keep an eye on Google Search Console for notifications of Manual Actions.
  3. Audit Your Site Regularly: Regularly audit your site for SEO best practices and potential violations.
  4. Quality Content: Focus on creating high-quality, valuable content for users, not search engines.
  5. Seek Professional Help: If unsure how to resolve a Manual Action, consider consulting an SEO professional.


Understanding Manual Actions is essential for maintaining a healthy and performance-oriented website. By following Google's guidelines and focusing on ethical SEO practices, site owners can avoid penalties and ensure their sites remain visible and competitive in search results. If penalized, swift action to correct the issue and requesting a review is vital for recovery.

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