Google is now reporting almost all instances of manual actions, according to a speech given by Webspam Team Leader Matt Cutts at Pubcon last week. That means every time a human lays a penalty on your site, they’ll let you know.
Most actions are still done algorithmically but manual actions are still common, especially when reconsideration requests are involved. And Cutts says they almost always involve a penalty:
If there’s some manual action taken by the manual web spam team that means your web site is going to rank directly lower in the search results, we’re telling webmasters about pretty much about all of those situations.
Cutts says that in very rare instances they may not report a manual action, but those cases are statistically insignificant.
It’s also important to remember that not all actions involve penalties. For example, a reconsideration request that results in a penalty being lifted would fall in this category.
Understanding Manual Actions
So what triggers a manual action from Google? There’s a range of issues, including reconsideration requests. Manual actions can also be triggered by complaints and even from reports made by Google search evaluators.
Any webmaster on the receiving end of a manual action will be notified via the Google’s Webmaster Central.
Most SEOs are familiar with Google’s algorithmic actions (Penguin, Panda, Top Heavy, etc…), which are also not penalties. If you want to bounce back from one of these hits, you’ll have to wait for the next update.
(For a more in-depth look at Actions we recommend Google Now Reports “Practically 100%” Of Manual Actions by Danny Sullivan.)
Do you have any experiences with Google’s manual actions? Share your them in the comments section below.