Manual Action

A manual action is a penalty imposed by Google on a website for violating their webmaster quality guidelines.


A manual action, also known as a manual penalty, is a disciplinary measure taken by Google against a website that has been found to violate their webmaster quality guidelines. These guidelines are designed to ensure that websites provide high-quality, relevant content and maintain a good user experience. When a website is identified as violating these guidelines, a human reviewer at Google may issue a manual action, which can result in a significant reduction in the website's search engine rankings or even complete removal from search results.

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Usage and Context

Manual actions are typically issued when a website engages in practices that Google deems manipulative, deceptive, or spammy. These practices can include things like keyword stuffing, cloaking, participating in link schemes, or publishing thin or low-quality content. Google's team of human reviewers constantly monitors the web for signs of these violations, and when they identify a website that is not complying with their guidelines, they may take manual action against it. The severity of the manual action depends on the nature and extent of the violation, and can range from a partial penalty that affects only certain pages or sections of the website, to a site-wide penalty that impacts the entire domain.


  1. What triggers a manual action from Google?

    • A manual action is triggered when a website is found to be in violation of Google's webmaster quality guidelines. This can include practices such as keyword stuffing, participating in link schemes, cloaking, or publishing thin or low-quality content.
  2. How do I know if my website has been hit with a manual action?

    • If your website has been hit with a manual action, you will receive a notification in your Google Search Console account. This notification will provide details about the specific violation and the steps you need to take to resolve the issue.
  3. Can a manual action be removed?

    • Yes, a manual action can be removed, but it requires taking steps to fix the underlying violation and submitting a reconsideration request to Google. The reconsideration request should detail the actions taken to resolve the issue and provide evidence of the changes made.
  4. How long does a manual action last?

    • The duration of a manual action depends on how quickly the website owner takes action to resolve the violation and submit a reconsideration request. If the reconsideration request is approved, the manual action will be lifted. However, if no action is taken, the manual action can remain in place indefinitely.
  5. What is the difference between a manual action and an algorithmic penalty?

    • A manual action is a penalty imposed by a human reviewer at Google, while an algorithmic penalty is imposed automatically by Google's algorithms. Algorithmic penalties are often more subtle and can be harder to identify and resolve than manual actions.


  1. Maintains Search Engine Integrity: Manual actions help to maintain the integrity of Google's search results by penalizing websites that engage in manipulative or deceptive tactics.
  2. Encourages Quality Content: The threat of a manual action encourages website owners to focus on creating high-quality, valuable content for their users.
  3. Improves User Experience: By penalizing websites that engage in spammy or misleading practices, manual actions contribute to a better overall user experience on the web.
  4. Levels the Playing Field: Manual actions ensure that websites that follow Google's guidelines are not unfairly outranked by those that engage in manipulative tactics.
  5. Provides Opportunities for Improvement: Receiving a manual action can be a wake-up call for website owners, prompting them to re-evaluate their SEO strategies and make positive changes to their site.

Tips and Recommendations

  1. Familiarize Yourself with Google's Guidelines: Make sure you have a thorough understanding of Google's webmaster quality guidelines to avoid unintentionally violating them.
  2. Monitor Your Search Console Account: Regularly check your Google Search Console account for any notifications about manual actions or other issues with your website.
  3. Take Swift Action: If you do receive a manual action, take immediate steps to identify and resolve the underlying issue. The sooner you take action, the sooner the penalty can be lifted.
  4. Be Thorough in Your Resolution: When resolving a manual action, be thorough in your approach. Make sure to address all the issues identified by Google and provide clear evidence of the changes you've made.
  5. Avoid Quick Fixes: Avoid the temptation to use quick fixes or manipulative tactics to resolve a manual action. These may provide short-term gains but can lead to more severe penalties in the long run.


Manual actions are a serious matter for any website owner and can have significant consequences for a site's search engine rankings and visibility. By understanding what triggers these penalties and taking proactive steps to avoid violating Google's guidelines, website owners can minimize their risk of receiving a manual action. If a manual action is received, swift and thorough action is necessary to resolve the issue and have the penalty lifted. Ultimately, the best approach to avoiding manual actions is to focus on creating high-quality, user-focused content and following SEO best practices. By doing so, website owners can not only avoid penalties but also build a strong, sustainable online presence that will serve them well in the long run.