Don't Ignore Manual Penalties from Google

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 removed.


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 since, 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.