Manual Webspam Actions Come to Webmaster Tools
Google has made its disdain for spam in its search results well known over the years.
While the company takes a very public stand on the issue, and continually works to improve its webspam algorithms, in some special situations it is necessary for Google to take manual actions (either the demotion of the site or the removal of it from the index entirely) against sites in violation of the much discussed quality guidelines.
To help those who believe they might be suffering the effects of a penalty, Google recently added a new feature into its Webmaster Tools platform that will show webmasters if their sites have actually been affected by a manual action. The viewer shows information about any actions taken by Google that affect the site’s ranking (a site-wide match) or individual pages ranking (a partial match) in Google’s web search results.
A vast majority of websites have nothing to worry about and will likely see a message that reads “No manual webspam actions found” – if you get that notification in your Webmaster tools account, you’re doing fine and in the good graces of the search engine. If you’re not following Google’s quality guidelines however, or are the victim of hacking or user-generated spam, then Google will display the reason for the manual action and the URL that has been affected (see image below).
FINAL NOTE: Once SEO’s have managed to clear up the violations, there’s obviously another step – a reconsideration request. Fortunately, Google again came to the rescue last week with a simpler and more streamlined reconsideration request.