On Aug. 8, Google released a new webmaster tools feature that’s bound to clear up a lot of questions some of us SEO’s were having regarding our penalties. If you ever wondered if your website was manually penalized, you can now find out just by navigating to the manual action section in GWT.
So right way, we went into our GWT accounts looking for examples of this new feature. If you waited until late in the day August 9th or for the weekend, you may have not been able to see anything. That was because on Aug. 9 Google updated its release page with the following;
“Unfortunately we’ve hit a snag during our feature deployment, so it will be another couple days before the feature is available to everyone. We will post another update once the feature is fully rolled out.”
But as of 10:30 PT Aug. 12, Google re-announced the feature and said;
“The feature is now fully rolled out.”
So what is this new feature Google was so excited to release, but also so important they had to make sure it was deployed with such perfection?
To use this tool, sign into your Google Webmaster Tools account, go to the website you would like to check, click on ‘Site Traffic,’ then ‘Manual Actions.’ There you will either see nothing (meaning your website wasn’t manually penalized), or you will see a message telling you why your website was manually penalized.
The purpose of this feature was to make many webmasters lives easier when it came to wondering if your website was manually penalized or not, and if it was, to help streamline your process and walk you through recovery. Pretty awesome, right?
Although this new release is extremely helpful in determining why your site was penalized it raises the question “How do I reverse this penalty?” and many others. Is Google providing enough information to help us recover?
According to Google, there are several reasons your website could have been penalized. These reasons include “hidden text,” “keyword stuffing,” “thin content,” “pure spam,” “unnatural links to your site,” etc. Here is an example image;
In the following example, you see Google has manually penalized a section of a website for unnatural links;
Questions regarding this penalty:
1. What section or what’s partial (section of website or for a portion of my terms)?
2. Which incoming links (are unnatural)?
3. When did this happen, (when did my site get penalized)?
4. What exactly do I need to do in order to recover?
In many cases, you’ll find that your website wasn’t penalized (even though you thought it was).
Questions regarding no penalties:
1. If I’m not manually penalized does that mean the drops in rankings are just algorithm penalties?
2. If they are algorithm penalties do I still have to submit a reconsideration request?
3. Are they going to come up with a feature to let me know if my site was penalized (at all) or if it just lost its ranking because of factors that are no longer effective?
4. If penalized algorithmically, will disavowing (or removing) links or making better content fix everything by the next refresh/update?
As you can see, there are still too many questions left unanswered. But, it is good to see Google is becoming more transparent about penalties, and giving us easy access to identify what’s going on with our websites. Google even came out with a video recently discussing how they plan on letting us know which links are bad for our website in the (hopefully) near future.
It appears Google is actually trying to help those it has hurt, proving it doesn’t have anything against websites and SEO specialists. Rather, Google has something against techniques and black hat practices.
Do any of you have a website that was manually penalized? Did you already know your website was manually penalized prior to the release of this tool? Is Google providing enough information to help you recover now? Please let us know in the comments section.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
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