Have you ever been
hit with a manual penalty by Google? That is when publishers are notified by the search engine for breaking one or more of its quality guidelines. If so, how did
you deal with it?
The tricky thing with these manual penalties is that they
can show up at anytime, since they’re not subject to the limited visibility of
the algorithm and can be levied by a Google employee at basically any time if
they find something questionable on your site. Of course, everyone wants to
avoid receiving one of these penalties, because they also come with an
immediate drop in search rankings.
Interestingly, however, many publishers often decide to just
ignore these warnings and wait for the penalty to expire, perhaps in hopes of
making their way back up the SERPs naturally once their red flag has been
Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller recently came
out to “strongly suggest” (in other words, listen up!) that publishers don’t
just ignore their manual penalties and wait for them to expire. Rather, he
suggests the incredibly novel proposition that webmasters figure out a way to
resolve the issue and then submit a reconsideration request to Google once the
problem is fixed.
This makes sense, primarily for two reasons: 1. Penalties
usually take six months or more to expire, and being dropped in the SERPs for
that long can be extremely harmful to an online business, and 2. penalties can
simply be applied to a publisher again once the original has expired.
Thus, it would be in your best interest to simply address
Google’s concern and correct it to the best of your ability, rather than just
ignore it and hope that it goes away.