Google is handing out more and more manual penalties these days to webmasters who aren’t sure exactly why they’ve been targeted.

In a recent interview with Google Webspam Head, Matt Cutts attempted to address this issue and provide a little guidance for confused SEOs. In typical Cutts fashion, his responses were pretty murky and not-that-helpful.

Asked why Google didn’t provide more specific information with manual penalty warnings, Cutts replied:

We’ve significantly improved our webmaster messages over time and we’ll continue to look at ways to make the messages more concrete and actionable.

He also suggested that anyone who wants to find out more specific about a penalty warning put up a posting on the Google Webmaster Forum.

As the article’s author points out, that forum is staffed by volunteers not Google employees. Though they can be helpful, they don’t have access to any information that’s not available to the public. (And why is Google using volunteers anyways?)

When pressed further about giving specifics, Cutts doubled down on forums saying:

I think this is covered in [advice] about going to the webmaster forum.

There’s really no good reason for Google to be holding back the specifics of these types of warnings.

After all, you don’t need a PhD in math from Stanford to know that solving the problems that trigger warnings will be a lot easier for webmasters if they know exactly what those problems are.

How do you handle manual penalties? Share your strategies in the comments section below.

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