It’s every website owner’s worst nightmare: after months of hard work, you suddenly discover that all your web traffic has come to a grinding halt. Sure, you may have seen a few warning signs along the way, such as a drop in organic search rankings or the appearance of some strange notifications in your Google Search Console, but the reality of the situation only fully hits home when you receive an official notification from Google: you’ve been subject to a Manual Penalty.

But fear not! If there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s a comeback story. Yes, getting hit with a manual penalty is one of the most difficult challenges a website owner can face, but with the right approach and plenty of patience, it’s also one you can overcome. In this blog post, we’ll discuss exactly how to do that, by taking a step-by-step look at the recovery process from manual penalty. So if you’re ready to take back the reins of your website, let’s dive in!

Quick Insight into Key Points

The first step in fixing any manual penalty is to understand the reason the penalty was applied and make sure the issue is resolved. If steps have been taken to fix the issue, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google using Search Console.

What Is a Manual Penalty?

A manual penalty is an action taken by search engines to lower the visibility of a website within their search results. It is imposed when Google or another search engine finds something on the website that it considers to be either bad practice or in violation of its webmaster guidelines. It differs from an algorithmic penalty, which is when a change in the algorithm affects the rankings of all sites at once.

Manual penalties can have a major impact on visibility and traffic levels when they are put in place. Therefore, understanding what they are and taking steps to prevent them is essential for businesses. Nevertheless, they are not always seen as entirely negative by some SEO professionals. If a manual action identifies weaknesses or out-of-date content, such issues can be addressed and improved upon. Thus, manual penalties can act as an opportunity for positive change if tackled correctly.

In any case, any type of penalty – manual or algorithmic – requires attention and action. The next section of this article will provide information regarding the manual penalty process, including who initiates it, how to understand when one has been issued and what strategies should be adopted to successfully appeal it.

The Manual Penalty Process

If you’ve received a manual penalty from Google, the process for recovering from this is determined by the Nature and Severity of the penalty. Generally, the severity of the penalty determines how long it will take to recover from the penalty. Minor infractions may only require a few simple steps before your website is back up and running and search engines start indexing again as normal. Other penalties are more severe, often due to deliberate attempts at keyword stuffing or cloaking and can take longer to be overturned.

In most cases, when recovering from a manual penalty due to violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, you must submit a reconsideration request to the Search Console. To do this, log into Search Console and open the Manual Action page where you’ll find an explanation of why your website has been penalised.

You must then think carefully about what you must do in order to convince Google that you have fully complied with its webmaster guidelines. This could include removing links or content deemed controversial or illegal, updating pages or titles inappropriate keywords or anything else specified in the notice of violation outlined on the Manual Action page. Once this is complete, you can then submit your reconsideration request which will generally be reviewed by Google within 48 hours.

Once your website has been reviewed for compliance with webmaster guidelines and Google has accepted your request for reconsideration, your website should no longer be penalised. This is not always the case though – depending on the nature of the manual action levied against you, Google may apply additional parameters such as linking restrictions or limitations on certain types of content within future reviews. While these restrictions don’t necessarily make recovery from a manual penalty impossible – they only serve to remind you that while it may be easy to get too familiar with search engine algorithms and how they work, there are still relevant rules that need to be followed if websites are ever going to rank highly in search results once again.

When recovering from manual penalties there are absolutely no shortcuts to success – each instance requires careful analysis of both website pages as well as backlinks so that all areas of SEO potential can be brought up to date with current regulations. By having an understanding of all aspects relating to correcting errors caused by malicious intent or inadvertent mistakes – you can give yourself a much better chance at re-establishing visibility in Google’s ecosystem without incurring further penalties down the line.

Now that we know have insight into “The Manual Penalty Process” , let’s move on our next section which talks about: “What Causes A Manual Penalty?”

  • 74% of all Google penalties involve manual penalties that bypass the algorithms.
  • According to Google, manual penalties have been issued to less than 0.2% of websites worldwide.
  • The most common causes of manual penalties are poor quality links and unnatural link building schemes.

What Causes a Manual Penalty?

Manual penalties are one of the most significant types of penalties that can be issued to a website. It’s important for webmasters and SEO professionals to understand what activities can trigger these penalties, as well as how best to recover from them once they’ve been imposed.

In general, manual penalties are incurred when a search engine determines that a website is doing something deliberately wrong in order to gain an unfair advantage in the rankings. This could include buying links, using deceptive tactics such as cloaking or keyword stuffing, and other malicious behaviors. Google has released its Webmaster Guidelines that outline the kinds of activities it considers undesirable and likely to result in penalty action—including any kind of manipulative link building tactics and other black-hat SEO practices.

On the other hand, some penalties may be issued due to accidental violations. For example, if a webmaster inadvertently creates duplicate content or uses an overeager keyword optimization technique, he might receive an automated penalty from Google or another search engine. While these types of infractions shouldn’t cause serious trouble with search engines like Google, they must still be addressed in order to avoid any further complications going forward.

No matter what type of manual penalty has been levied against your website—whether it is deliberate or unintentional—it is essential that you take prompt action to remedy the situation. The next section will discuss how to understand and evaluate manual penalty violations in order to recover quickly and get back into good standing with major search engines like Google.

With this understanding of what causes a manual penalty out of the way, our next section will take a look at understanding manual penalties in more detail and provide guidance on how to diagnose and properly address any violations before recovering from the manual penalty altogether.

Understanding Manual Penalty Violations

Having a manual penalty imposed by Google on your site can be devastating and can have a huge impact on your website’s performance. To ensure that you can recover from a manual penalty, it is important to first understand the violation which caused the manual action in the first place.

Generally, there are two types of manual penalties which may be imposed on websites: Hacked Site Penalties and Spam Penalties. Hacked Site Penalties are enforced when Google finds evidence of malicious code on a website, and this code usually appears without the owner’s knowledge. This kind of malicious code could include anything from phishing programs to viruses or malware. On the other hand, Spam Penalties are imposed when Google notices unnatural link building practices or content associated with the site which violates Google’s guidelines.

The debate around these different kinds of violations involves whether or not these penalties are justified in the first place. Proponents argue that it is essential for Google to eliminate any threats to user security, and thus having such penalties helps them do so. Critics argue that often times small business owners may fall victim to situations they cannot control, like having their hosting account compromised or having malicious code inserted into their site against their will. These critics maintain that it isn’t always fair for businesses to get penalized because of someone else’s actions, as well as for Google to condemn sites for having unnatural link building practices when this isn’t something most small business owners know about.

Whatever side of the argument you stand on, understanding what kind of manual penalty has been applied to your site is integral for recovering from it properly. With that in mind, let’s move onto discussing some common SEO offenses which may lead to manual penalties being issued by Google.

Key Takeaway

It is important to understand the violation which caused a manual penalty from Google in order to recover from it. Manual penalties can either be Hacked Site Penalties, if malicious code is found on the site, or Spam Penalties due to unnatural link building practices or violating content. Supporters of manual penalties feel they are necessary for user security while critics argue that small business owners should not be held responsible for other people’s actions. Understanding what kind of manual penalty was applied is key to properly recovering from it. Common SEO offenses which could lead to manual penalties include malicious code, unnatural link building practices, and violating content.

Common SEO Offenses

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an area that can be complex and technical. Unfortunately, it can also be easy to make mistakes that jeopardize a website’s ranking position. Common SEO offenses include keyword stuffing, hidden links, link spamming and excessive use of affiliate links.

Keyword stuffing occurs when a website takes advantage of search engines by repeating similar keywords in the attempt to increase their ranking position for those terms. Though this practice does temporarily increase page rankings, it is not accepted by major search engines since it dilutes the actual content of a page.

Hidden links are any kind of link that has been deliberately positioned so that visitors cannot see them easily on the page. This type of link building often involves inserting text on pages that are cloaked in a color similar to the background or simply setting links with 0 font size so they cannot be seen. Although some website owners find hidden links helpful in improving their rankings, search engines have stringent policies against this method of link-building tactics.

Link spamming specifically affects websites using Content Management Systems (CMS). When posting content related comments or messages to public websites, many webmasters will insert certain anchor words linking back to their own domain or webpages, giving the false notion of relevance towards those sites visited. This type of flagrant manipulation of external link networks degrades search engine performance and should not be done by webmasters seeking higher SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Too much reliance on affiliate links can also affect a website’s ranking negatively. Affiliate marketers often use promotional material provided by advertisers which naturally allows for more than one link per page; however, too much reliance on affiliate links might indicate to search engines a lack of original content which affects page rankings and domain authority.

Though these common SEO offenses might result in temporary improvement for page rankings and conversions, ultimately they will prove disastrous in achieving long-term success with organic traffic . It is important to abide by the guidelines set forth by major search engines when optimizing a website so as avoid manual penalties imposed due to SEO violations. Now let us move onto the next section and discuss how to recover from a manual penalty should one occur.

How to Recover from a Manual Penalty

Recovering from a manual penalty – initiated directly by Google’s web spam team – is an involved process and requires a thorough consideration of the violations that led to the penalty and those that may result in further penalties.

When recovering from manual penalties, it’s important to take the steps to ensure that all violations have been identified and corrected and to demonstrate to Google that measures have been taken to ensure that similar issues do not arise in the future. While addressing an manual penalty can require some work, the rewards typically extend far beyond a single site’s performance – not only will you improve user experience but also remain competitive within your industry.

To begin, first identify any violations that may have triggered the penalty. This could include any warning reasons outlined in search console notifications, such as spamming users with deceptive ads, buying links from link farms, or any other suspicious activity on your website. Once such violations are identified and addressed, it’s essential to create a comprehensive plan for minimizing their risk in the future and demonstrating a commitment to quality content.

This plan should involve identifying weak points which can lead to manipulative techniques or otherwise undesirable practices in content, as well as promoting high-quality content development through link building and on-site optimization practices. Additional steps might include monitoring competitor websites for manipulative practices or voluntarily submitting certain webpages (e.g., questionable backlinks) for reconsideration via Search Console. While no guarantees can be made about success in recovery attempts, these strategies can contribute to long-term improvements in ranking performance and help protect your website against future maliciousness.

Finally, once you’ve completed these steps, it’s recommended to reach out to other webmasters who may be able to shed insight upon potential penalties received or provide advice regarding your own recovery efforts. This too may help identify any additional actions that need to be addressed and build relationships with respectable industry professionals along the way.

After taking the necessary steps outlined above, you should now feel confident in having recovered from a manual penalty – a crucial task for ensuring good practice for SEOs (and website owners generally). Now let’s discuss the future of manual penalties and how you can help shape your own future success through proactive measures.

The Future of Manual Penalties

Moving forward, the future of manual penalties is something that every website owner and search engine optimization specialist needs to pay attention to. On one hand, it is important to recognize that websites are becoming increasingly complex. The number of pages, files, plug-ins, and other components that make up a website have grown exponentially in recent years. As a result, manual penalties become harder and harder to apply accurately. In addition, search engine algorithms are continually evolving, meaning that the traditional methods used to identify websites with questionable content or black hat SEO tactics may no longer be effective.

On the other hand, there is still a need for manual penalties. As technology continues to evolve and new online threats emerge, it will become increasingly difficult for software-based systems to accurately block malicious activity. Manual review can still help detect certain types of content that may be harmful or dilute the overall quality of a website. This is especially true when considering niche websites or those with limited resources.

Ultimately, manual penalties are here to stay. They have been an active part of regulating search engine results for more than two decades and will continue to play an important role in identifying suspicious content and practices that can put a website at risk of ranking poorly on SERPs. As a result, it is important for any website owner to be aware of the rules outlined in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and ensure that their site remains compliant. With this approach, companies can successfully avoid the negative repercussions of receiving a manual penalty from Google.

And with that, we come to the conclusion of our guide on how to recover from a manual penalty. In the following section, we will provide useful tips on how to keep your site compliant and minimize any potential risks posed by manual penalties in the future.


Recovering from a manual penalty can be a difficult and time consuming process, but with the right approach, it is possible. It is important to remember that each situation is unique and requires its own unique action plan suited for the website or business in question. To optimize the process of recovering from a manual penalty, be sure to identify the problem accurately, thoroughly remove any unnatural or low-quality links associated with the website and take additional steps such as submitting a reconsideration request or switching to HTTPS if necessary.

Overall, whether or not a website recovers from a manual penalty largely depends on how they address the problem. The best way to do this is by being thorough and taking proactive measures, such as performing regular link audits and having an up-to-date disavow file. With diligence and patience, there is hope of quickly recovering from any manual penalties that might jeopardize the success of your website.

Frequently Asked Questions Answered

How can I request a manual penalty review?

To request a manual penalty review you need to first create a Search Console account for your website (if you don’t already have one). In the Search Console, open the Manual Actions page and click the “Request a Review” button. This will take you through an online form where you can enter information on why the manual penalty was given and what steps you have taken to correct any issues. You may also need to supply other supporting documents such as webmaster guidelines, organizational documents or proof of ownership of the website. After submitting your request, if needed, Google will provide additional details on the next course of action before any manual penalty is removed.

What are the consequences of receiving a manual penalty?

The consequences of receiving a manual penalty can vary greatly, depending on the type and severity of the penalty. In general, however, the most common consequence of receiving a manual penalty is a drop in rankings and traffic from search engines, as this can be a primary source of targeted leads for many businesses. Manual penalties are also often accompanied by warning messages – hard-to-miss notifications that Google provides informing webmasters about their sanction – typically visible in the Search Console dashboard.

In addition to these rankings and visibility impacts, manual penalties may also lead to lost revenue if your website is generating income. This can happen as a direct result of lower traffic or because of other underlying factors (such as not meeting specific industry standards). Other penalties may include being completely removed from search engine indexing and being restricted from paid advertising opportunities (i.e., Google Ads).

Finally, manual penalties can have long-term negative implications on brand perception and reputation. For example, if your once high-ranking site has been placed with a penalty, competitors may be promoted ahead of you in organic search results, resulting in lost trust and brand recognition among prospects and customers.

What types of activities can trigger a manual penalty?

There are a number of activities that can trigger a manual penalty from Google. These include, but are not limited to:

1. Creating unnatural links to your site either from other websites or within your own website, such as excessive linking or link schemes.

2. Cloaking, which is when different content or URLs are presented to the search engine spider than what is shown to the user’s browser.

3. Keyword stuffing, where too many keywords are artificially inserted into a page’s content in order to be noticed by search engines and rank better in SERPs.

4. Duplicate content, including content scraped from another source and presented as original text on your site.

5. Doorway pages, which are pages created just for search engines so they can be quickly indexed in order to appear higher in the search results.

6. Private blog networks (PBNs), which is when multiple sites owned by one person or company link back to each other in order to boost ranking or pass PageRank to other sites they own.

7. Negative SEO tactics, which involve using manipulative techniques on another site with the aim of getting it penalized or removed from Google’s index entirely.

In addition to these activities, any type of deceptive practices on your website can be grounds for a manual penalty as well.

Last Updated on April 15, 2024

E-commerce SEO expert, with over 10 years of full-time experience analyzing and fixing online shopping websites. Hands-on experience with Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, Magento, and other CMS.
Need SEO help? Email me for more info, at