Did Google Give Webmasters What They Need This Time?

    August 20, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Webmasters, many of which have businesses that rely on search rankings, have been wanting Google to do more to communicate with more specificity what is hurting their sites in Google search rankings. The search engine can’t seem to do enough to please everybody, but it does continue to launch tools and resources.

Is Google doing enough to communicate issues it has with sites, or does it still need to do more? What exactly should Google be doing? Let us know what you think.

Google has added a new feature to Webmaster Tools called the Manual Action Viewer. This is designed to show webmasters information about when Google’s manual webspam team has taken manual action that directly affects their site’s ranking in the search engine.

To access the feature, simply click on “Manual Actions” under “Search Traffic” in Webmaster Tools. If Google hasn’t taken any action against your site, you should see a message that says “No Manual webspam actions found.” Obviously, this is what you want to see.

Google notes that only less than 2% of the domains it sees are actually manually removed for webspam, so the likelihood that you see anything other than the message above seems pretty minimal (that is, of course, if you’re not spamming Google).

The company will still notify you when you get a manual spam action, but the feature is just giving you another way to check. Here’s what you might see if you did have a manual action taken against you:

Manual Action Viewer

“In this hypothetical example, there isn’t a site-wide match, but there is a ‘partial match,'” Google’s Matt Cutts explains in a post on the Webmaster Central blog. “A partial match means the action applies only to a specific section of a site. In this case, the webmaster has a problem with other people leaving spam on mattcutts.com/forum/. By fixing this common issue, the webmaster can not only help restore his forum’s rankings on Google, but also improve the experience for his users. Clicking the “Learn more” link will offer new resources for troubleshooting.”

“Once you’ve corrected any violations of Google’s quality guidelines, the next step is to request reconsideration,” he adds. “With this new feature, you’ll find a simpler and more streamlined reconsideration request process. Now, when you visit the reconsideration request page, you’ll be able to check your site for manual actions, and then request reconsideration only if there’s a manual action applied to your site. If you do have a webspam issue to address, you can do so directly from the Manual Actions page by clicking ‘Request a review.'”

As Cutts notes, this new feature is something that Webmasters have been requesting for some time. While he emphasizes that a very small percentage of Webmasters will actually see any actions in the viewer, it is at least a new way to know for sure if Google has indeed taken a manual action.

Reactions in the comments of Google’s announcement are a little mixed. Most of the visible comments are praising the tool. One person says they’re already putting the feature to good use. Another says, “Finally!”

I say visible comments because many of them say, “Comment deleted. This comment has been removed by the author.”

One user says, “If we have followed Matt’s advice and Google’s guidelines, why would we need this tool? Please give us a tool that can really help us , not distract us.”

In addition to the new WMT feature, Google has put out a series of seven new videos to go with its documentation about webspam, explaining what each type really means. Cutts, with the assistance of a few other Googlers, covers unnatural links, think content, hidden text, keyword stuffing, user-generated spam, and pure spam. You can find all of them here.

This is Google’s latest attempt to make its documentation more helpful. A couple weeks ago, Google updated its Link Schemes page to discuss article marketing and guest posting, advertorials and press release links.

Of course this is all only applicable to those who have been hit with manual penalties, and is of little comfort to those hit by algorithm changes. If that’s your problem, you may want to look into the whole authorship thing, which just might be influencing ranking significantly.

Are Google’s most recent “webmaster help” efforts truly helpful to webmasters? Let us know in the comments.

  • https://plus.google.com/110826622201196466178/posts Nick Stamoulis

    Hopefully this new feature will give site owners more concrete examples of what is getting them in trouble. Too often it’s more of an educated guessing game and you try to figure out what’s wrong through trial and error, which is not an effective way to resolve a penalty.

    • http://turnitorange.com/ Rita

      Exactly Nick!

      The bigger part of Google is guessing game that is causing us – webmasters huge headache.
      Obviously some security measures are important, but this is often affecting White Hat users way to much.
      The next step from Cutts should be more transparent system or proper book of guidelines for webmaster.

  • http://www.karaoke-tutor.com Richard Wise

    There is no “Manual Actions” listed under “Search Traffic” in my webmaster tools.

  • Andreas Julianto Laksanajaya

    Anythings is in google

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  • Chip

    There is no “Manual Actions” listed under “Search Traffic” in my webmaster tools either. Why?

  • Robert

    “…blah blah blah ….the next step is to request reconsideration,” and give us unlimited access to your credit card !

  • norm

    What I think? I think webpronews gives WAY to much attention to Google! Jesus christ if all of your readers still depend on Google to thrive then your website is in BIG trouble long term :)

  • Frank

    If that’s your problem’ you may want to look into the whole authorship thing’ which just might be influencing ranking significantly.

    Can you expand on this?

  • http://www.hgpublishing.com Peter J. Francis

    Google’s day is rapidly coming to a close. Although people still use search, generating traffic through social media is the latest thing. The fact is that most of the Google results page consists of ads, so really, all you do when searching Google is look at ads that peripherally relate to your search. That said, I use Google daily (but I’m trying out other search engines, too). I no longer rely on Google to drive customers to my site. My traffic has dropped by about 80% over two years ago, but my income has not. I just have people coming who really want my service, not people who were sent there almost by accident. Even since Panda, I have focused more and more on doing what I do best, not on traffic numbers. I also hear people saying that they don’t think Google’s search results are as good as they used to be. I don’t think Google can hold onto its monopoly much longer.

  • http://www.goodvibeadventure.com/ Good Vibe Adventure

    Great pleasure
    Doing new thing day by day .don,t make any problem .

  • http://www.openhandel.nl Handel

    No “Manual Actions” here under “Search Traffic” either.

  • https://www.searchen.com John Colascione

    Seems like they removed the manual actions feature for some reason. I didn’t see it when I checked and others here have said the same.

  • http://www.g9ggames.org duongkhanhlss

    opinions very hay.toi enjoyed this article. thanks

  • http://www.seorchers.com Chris

    These updates are getting really hard on the white hat SEO companies. We’ve seen some business lost with these updates effecting their rankings, and the companies thinking we’re slacking. When in turn a lot of business owners don’t realize how often Google is changing it’s rules. I do like the looks of their new dashboard being released and think that may help a lot of those businesses getting brought down by some of these updates!

  • http://www.dolomita.ro Delcamag

    Very interestimg article. I like it.

  • DAN

    Very nice