Manual Penalty Removal

While specific algorithmic penalties are much rarer than they were a decade ago, manual actions can and are regularly placed on websites that breach webmaster quality guidelines – but they can be removed!


What is a manual action penalty?

Manual action penalties are applied by a Google employee at either a page or sitewide level and are the result of a website breaching webmaster quality guidelines (whether purposefully or not), including low quality, thin or spammy content, manipulated link profiles, suspicious outbound linking, and more. Webmasters are generally notified of these penalties through messages in Google Search Console.

How can I tell if my site has a manual action penalty?

If your site has received a manual action penalty, you will receive a message in your Google Search Console notices which will not only indicate that you have received a penalty, but also the reason for the penalty – making it easier (though not easy) to produce a plan of action.

What reasons are there for a manual action penalty?

There is a full list of and descriptions of each of the reasons for a manual action penalty on the Google support pages, but the following are some of the most common reasons:

  • User generated spam – spammy content added by users (generally on a forum or in comment sections).
  • Spammy free host – your site is served by a particularly poor-quality host platform.
  • Structured data issues – your site employs structured data in incorrect, or misleading ways.
  • Unnatural links – your site has been understood to have implemented manipulative link building methods.
  • Unnatural links from your site – your site may have been linking out in a manipulative or deceitful manner.
  • Thin content – the content on your site offers little of value, and is possibly scraped (copied from elsewhere) or (badly) automatically generated (you can expect to see an increase of this over the next few years - thanks LLMs).

What penalty removal can do for your business

  • Brand recovery: penalty removal will, more often than not, reverse the majority of the negative impact of a penalty, restoring your brand's credibility and online standing.
  • Comprehensive audit: the initial review of your site and account to help identify the cause of the penalty can also unearth underlying issues that may have contributed to the penalty or led to future penalties, providing insights for post-recovery growth.

Our penalty removal service

Over the years, we've successfully aided numerous brands in recovering from penalties, predominantly associated with unnatural linking practices. Because we recognise the severe impact of penalties on businesses, our dedicated team of experts analyses, optimises, repairs, and implements the recovery process, allowing you to focus on driving  your business forward.

Key Steps in Our Recovery Process:

Our penalty removal perfectionists

Our team of SEO experts tailor unique strategies to each case, overcoming challenges and delivering results. Partner with a team that understands the many nuances of manual action penalties for commerce brands, and ensure your brand emerges even stronger.

Kerry Mullin Director of Organic Search
Jake Pittman Technical SEO Manager
Daniel Bee Technical SEO Lead

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Let's embark on this journey together! Drop us a line today, and let's make sure nothing is holding you back from the results you deserve.