Fixing Google Manual Action: Pure Spam


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Scammy SEO

Time to slide on into home with our continued discussion of Google Manual Actions. Today’s Google Manual Action is (drumroll please)… Pure Spam! Nah, not the (either cherished or feared) tinned mystery meat, but loathsome and often malicious material.

Google Manual Action: Pure Spam

Google Manual Action?

If you’re only now tuning into this series on Google Manual Action, you may not have a clear understanding of what Manual Actions actually are, and honestly, that knowledge is fundamental to all of this.

We’d like to think we’re fairly efficient, so we’re going to quote ourselves from a previous article:

As you should also know by now, there is a list of rules you’ve got to follow for Google to include your website’s pages on their search results page. If you fail to comply with their guidelines, then boom. Red flag for your page and you need to fix the problem before they allow it back on the results page. Crossing those lines are when Manual Actions happen.

While most of the time the algorithms pick up spammy behavior, there are occasions when a human reviewer is needed to determine if they should demote or remove the page. Thankfully, most of the time, you have the opportunity to fix the mistake, but sometimes they delete the page from search results. Depending on what type of manual action you receive, the ranking of your site could be affected. Yeowch. If that’s the case, you’ll get an email to let you know, though.

Manual Actions are given for the following reasons, as outlined on Google’s Manual Action site: hacked site, spammy freehosts, user-generated spam, spammy structured markup, cloaking and/or sneaky redirects, unnatural links to your site, thin content with little or no added value, unnatural links from your site, cloaked images, pure spam, and hidden text and/or keyword stuffing.

[bctt tweet=”If you’re affecting the quality of the material a user would see when your page appears in a search, you’re likely to get hit with a Manual Action.” username=”DominateWithSEO”]

Boiled down, if you’re tripping up the algorithm, you’ll get referred to a human reviewer who decides whether you’re impeding Google’s webmaster guidelines. They also decide how serious the offense is and how much action to take against your site. Once you’ve cleared your site of the offense, you can submit a reconsideration request. If your site has improved in the ways Google indicated, they’ll usually restore your site to where it had been prior to the incident.

For a complete list of the Manual Actions we’ve covered so far, see the end of this post. We’ve got your hookup, fam.

Pure Spam?

Spam canned meat displayed with flourishes
Isn’t this image weirdly disconcerting?

Let’s jump right in by next clarifying what Google considers “pure spam” for this specific Google Manual Action.

In the video we linked above, Google’s own Matt Cutts offers the following description:

What you would traditionally call black hat [SEO]. You know, auto-generated gibberish, cloaking, scraping, throwaway sites or throwaway domains where someone is more or less doing ‘churn and burn.’ … Their business model is to make as much money as they can before they get caught.

Uh, Why?


Why does any of this matter to Google?

Well, as we’ve also discussed before, Google is keen on protecting its users. They’re renowned for their technology and practically unparalleled search results, so they’re simultaneously keeping their clients, customers, and searchers AND their name untarnished.

As Matt Cutts also says in the video above:

We don’t want [this type of material] showing up and polluting our search results.


skull and cross bones emerge from laptop

So let’s say you’ve been found “guilty” of these violations. What happens next?

1 – If you didn’t do any of this on purpose or maybe just got hacked, don’t feel embarrassed. This type of thing happens. What matters is getting the issue resolved. If you DID do it on purpose, probably at least feel a bit of shame, then look into bold, legit business tactics, and get back to winning. You’ve got this.

2 – Know how to navigate your infractions, so you know where to find what’s acceptable and what you need to remove or change. Actions affecting your whole site are listed in Site-wide matches. If you only had a partial failure of webmaster guidelines due to spam, the actions taken against your site will be listed in Partial matches. In the case of a Google Manual Action for Pure Spam, Matt Cutts says Google usually goes Site-wide with their actions.

3 – Fix the problems. Remove spammy, gross links, nix scraped material, slash cloaking, etc. You know what we mean. Just get the site cleaned up to the absolute best of your ability. Squeaky clean and all of that. Your goal is to prove to Google that you understand what transpired on your site that was outside of their guidelines and that you won’t be a repeat offender. Cutts suggests documenting your changes sufficiently to help add weight to your application for restoration.

4 – Apply for a restoration. It can take a hot second for Google to get back to you on their verdict, but they WILL get back to you. Apply some patience to that wound, and you’ll be just fine.

Pure Genius

Understanding what Google Manual Actions are and how they can affect your site is prudent business practice. Further, knowing and respecting Google’s webmaster guidelines can prevent interruptions to your page’s search engine results page ranking as well as interruptions to your online presence.

If you’re wondering where you’re falling short, how you’ve ended up with a Manual Action, or just looking for guidance with your internet presence, talk to us. We’re down-to-earth but equally focused and renowned for our commitment to clients. Let’s get your ranking dominating.

More in Our Google Manual Actions Series

Unnatural Links to Your Site

Unnatural Links from Your Site

Cloaking and Sneaky Redirects

Hacked Site

Pure Spam

Spammy Structured Markup

User-generated Spam

Spammy Freehosts

Hidden Text and/or Keyword Stuffing

And more coming soon!

About the Author

Sam Romain

Sam Romain

Digital marketing expert, data interpreter, and adventurous entrepreneur empowering businesses while fearlessly embracing the wild frontiers of fatherhood and community engagement.

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