Google Launches Manual Actions in Webmaster Tools

August 26th, 2013 by Search Influence Alumni

On August 9th, Google rolled out the manual actions alert in Google Webmaster Tools. The full rollout wasn’t complete until August 12th.

Back in the day, Google would only alert you via messages, but you would still not know whether or not you had a manual penalty. With the new feature, the notification is obvious under the Search Traffic section.  Even though Google does not send you an alert through messages, it should still notify the webmaster that you have an alert in your Manual Actions section. This is an important issue that needs immediate attention. Google should send a big alert if you had any manual actions since this is a huge penalty for your site.


If your rankings dramatically dropped, most people prior to the release of the manual actions alert would not be sure if they should submit a reconsideration request. The messages that Google previously sent would not indicate whether a manual penalty was taken against the site. The manual actions can be site wide or just a few links on your site. If you have received a message, you should consider the following actions.

Steps to Take After a Manual Action Notification:

1. Pull a list of “links to your site”

In Google Webmaster Tools, you can find a list of links of sites that link to you. Go through the list and start with the domains that have the most links to you. Perform a link analysis and find sites that are not relevant and appear questionable. Take a screenshot of the current amount of links pointing to your site.


2. Reach out to webmasters with unnatural linking

Email the webmaster of the site politely requesting that they remove the link. If someone does not respond to your request, you will be compiling these links in your disavow request. Make sure you keep a record of your correspondence and who you have reached out to.


3. Submit a Disavow Request

You will need to compile a list of spammy domains that link to you. You can submit the file through Google Webmaster Tools. Just upload the file and wait. Google will not alert you and let you know whether or not they have made any actions. You can check your Links to Your Site section in a few days or weeks to see if any changes have been made.


4. Submit a Reconsideration Request

How long should you wait to submit a request? It depends on the severity of your situation. Repent for your sins when you are submitting a review. Explain in a nice way to Google what happened and what you have done to remedy the situation. This may include details about firing your previous SEO firm. You should also include screenshots of your correspondence with the webmasters you tried to reach out to and a list of your disavow file. Google says it can normally take days to process your request, but the process time can vary depending on the number of requests they receive.

Good luck!