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Manual actions

Definition

In SEO, manual actions refer to penalties imposed on a website by a search engine, such as Google, due to violations of their quality guidelines. These penalties are manually applied by human reviewers and can result in a drop in search engine rankings or removal from search results. Resolving manual actions typically involves identifying and fixing the issues that caused the penalty and submitting a reconsideration request to the search engine.

Explanation

Manual actions in SEO refer to penalties imposed by search engines, such as Google, when they determine that a website has violated their guidelines. These penalties are not automated, meaning they are reviewed and applied by a human being. Typically, manual actions are the result of activities like using manipulative tactics to improve search engine rankings, such as buying links or keyword stuffing. When a website receives a manual action, it can have a significant impact on its visibility in search results, leading to decreased traffic and potential loss of revenue.

For website owners and SEO practitioners, it is essential to be aware of the guidelines set by search engines to avoid manual actions. By following best practices and focusing on creating high-quality, relevant content, websites can maintain a positive reputation with search engines and avoid penalties. Monitoring for manual actions regularly and taking prompt action to address any issues can help maintain a strong online presence and ensure continued success in organic search rankings.

Examples

1. Example 1:
A website has been hit with a manual action from Google for using manipulative link building tactics. The website owner receives a notification in Google Search Console detailing the specific issue and providing guidance on how to rectify it. In this scenario, the website owner must review their link building practices, remove any unnatural links, and submit a reconsideration request to Google to have the manual action lifted.

2. Example 2:
An e-commerce website notices a sudden drop in organic traffic and rankings for key product pages. After conducting a thorough SEO audit, it is discovered that the website has been penalized with a manual action for thin content. The website had hundreds of pages with little to no valuable content, and Google deemed it as low-quality and spammy. In order to recover from the manual action, the website owner must update the content on these pages to provide more value to users and demonstrate to Google that the website is now compliant with their quality guidelines.

Best practices

When it comes to dealing with manual actions from search engines like Google, it’s important to understand the specific issue that led to the penalty. Take the time to carefully review the notification from the search engine, as it will usually provide details on what was found to be in violation of their guidelines. Once you have identified the problem, make the necessary changes to your website to bring it back into compliance. This may involve improving the quality of your content, removing spammy links, or fixing technical issues that are negatively impacting your site’s performance.

Additionally, it’s key to proactively monitor your website for any potential issues that could trigger a manual action from search engines. Regularly audit your site for things like broken links, duplicate content, or outdated information to prevent penalties before they happen. Implementing a solid SEO strategy that focuses on creating high-quality, relevant content and building natural, authoritative links can also help safeguard your site against manual actions in the future. Overall, staying informed about search engine guidelines and making continuous improvements to your website’s SEO practices will help minimize the risk of manual penalties impacting your online presence.

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