Google Launches Manual Spam Actions Viewer, Streamlines Reconsideration Process

google-webmaster-tools-logoGoogle is adding a new feature in Webmaster Tools that will leave no doubt when a site’s search rankings are affected by a manual webspam action.

It’s called the Manual Actions viewer, and it’s available today under the “Search Traffic” tab. The new tool complements the email notifications that Google already sends when it takes manual action against a website, giving site owners a way to check their site’s status on their own at any time.

Google says fewer than two percent of domains in its index are manually removed due to spam, so the vast majority of webmasters won’t find anything when they visit the Manual Actions viewer other than a message saying “No manual webspam actions found.”

But for sites that are affected, the Manual Actions viewer will show existing webspam problems under two headings: Site-wide matches and Partial matches. In both cases, Google will indicate what type of problem exists from a list of about a dozen categories — things like “hidden text and/or keyword stuffing,” “thin content,” “pure spam” and others.

When there are Partial matches listed, Google will also show the affected URLs for each type of spam problem. There’s a limit, though, of 1,000 URLs per type of problem listed. Google says this will be more than enough for all but the largest sites (like YouTube, for example). In the screenshots below, you can see that a sample site has a “Partial match” notice about thin content, and Google is showing a half-dozen affected URLs.



As you can see above, there’s also quick access to a new “Request a Review” button. This will be available any time there are manual webspam actions listed. Clicking that opens a pop-up window where the webmaster can give Google details on how its problems have been fixed.

Simultaneously, visitors to Google’s existing page about reconsideration requests will first be invited to use the Manual Actions viewer to make sure that there’s really a manual action in place.

This new tool is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to increase communication with webmasters about spam and other issues affecting their sites. Each of the dozen or so categories of manual actions used in this new tool is also getting a dedicated help/info page (available from the “Learn More” link in the screenshot above) with some new videos from Matt Cutts explaining the type of webspam problem that Google has identified.

The Manual Actions viewer is available now in all languages that Google Webmaster Tools currently supports.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Webmaster Central | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Zach Griffith

    Very Nice! Just leveraged it / disavowed a link as a result…We’ll see how it goes :-)

  • Emory Rowland

    I think we’re all glad to hear this and it’s a step in the right direction. The non-manual ones are far more elusive in my opinion.

  • Robert Ramirez

    Loving this tool. A great step towards transparency. I shudder to think of the flood of reconsideration requests the big G is about to get. At least now they’ll all be from sites that actually have manual actions against them.

    The one thing that is missing is the date of the original penalty! That would be exceedingly helpful, imo. Especially for us SEOs that are inheriting the bad work of others.

  • Stephen Moyers

    I must say really a great step of Google which will provide more transparency to Webmasters and indeed helpful for them. At least webmaster can have idea that which pages have been affected partial matches and then can take action.. Love this tool.


  • TmWe

    Just after most penalties are automated to “algorithmic actions” they allow viewing of the manual spam penalties.

  • jitendra vaswani

    This is definitely leverage, Google had done good job again

  • Nick Stamoulis

    I like that Google is going to give you specific examples. Hopefully that will mean less guess work when it comes to diagnosing and resolving penalties. The more concrete examples you have to work with (hopefully) the more progress you can make in fixing things.

  • Steve Peron

    One concern I have is that under the page for “Unnatural links to your site—impacts links” It says “If you don’t control the links pointing to your site, no action is required on your part. From Google’s perspective, the links already won’t count in ranking.”

    However, in the video Matt Cutts say’s “That we might take action on some of those Anchors. So you might not be able to rank for the phrases to be expected” (3:10 in the video).

    So, do the links not count, but anchor text penalty is applied? or does Google have the option to penalize the anchor? It is not clear on how you would determine solely on the warning in GWMT.

  • Josh

    Nice. Now spammers know what not to do. Excellent. Excellent!

  • alisha652

    what Charles responded I’m shocked that some one able to profit $6660 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you read this page w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • Jeremy

    I used to have the same problem, and used to think the same thing, that WMT data is flawed and Googlers are seeing different data than we are. However, since I’ve started using Google data exclusively the number of first time penalty revoked messages has gone way up. WMT is all you need, the real problem which I’ve found, but I can’t find much discussion of elsewhere, is simply that WMT tools data changes. You go through the links one week, get the actual reconsideration request sent off the next week, Googler checks what links need to go the next week, and by that time the links have changed. Yes, if you compare the sample links Google provides to the link data you used to compile your disavow file for example, differences can occur. However if you then check against the latest data I’ve found they are always there.

    Another thing webmasters often get confused with is there are three sets of links to your site in Webmaster Tools:
    - download this table
    - download more sample links
    - download latest links
    I’m sure you’re aware of this but people do often “download this table” unaware there are loads more links in the “more sample links” option which is what we need

    If you do have a case where with the latest GWT data the link is still not listed, I’ve never seen personally that when I check against the latest data it’s always there. However in that case just add the link or domain to a disavow then go through the latest GWT links anyway. The ExternalLinks_AllLinks.csv file I think it’s called from GWT has everything to get a penalty removed, hope this helps, thanks.

  • xtopher66

    Hahaha, this should keep the Matt Cutts FAN BOYS happy and definately confirms negative seo is now possible, whereas before it wasnt. Google clearly views YOU as responsible for spam links on websites not under your control and you should act on them. If a webmaster allowed you to place them, it`s their editorial decision, not yours!

    You know, if the algo was truly that smart (as Google make out it is) it could quite easily discount or ignore the low quality links by whatever criteria is set, remove the anchor text bias from the algo (they`d still be a ton of other ways to measure quality and citations never needed to be word based anyhow) and if your website dived in the rankings all you need to do is build better links. No farting about with WMT or Disavows because you would know it was because your links werent high quality or your competitors were building better links. Only building high quality links would be the solution. For gods sake theres enough low cost, high end third party tools to show up where and how your linking profile is at with far more history than WMT allows. This penalty or manual action rubbish is just a nasty way of getting you to admit to your sins (and maybe manually check your other registered domains!) and not write a better algo.

    Now your`e all in another tizzy because you`re now threatened by linking incorrectly you must nofollow everything. Google has you right where they want you. You know it.

    “Here`s another hoop for you to jump through…yours faithfully, Matt.”

  • No Credit Check option

    I got a very good information.

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