Google does not tolerate sites that promote spam online. Any site that crosses that line gets the same treatment a criminal would for spamming. To punish a site for spamming, Google sends the site to a cyber-jail using a manual action and they also charge the site a heavy Google penalty.

SEO Crimes and Manual Actions

Google punishes the following SEO crimes for different types of spam on the internet:

  1.    Impact links-unnatural links to your site
  2.    Unnatural links to your site
  3.    Unnatural links from your site
  4.    Hacked site
  5.    Pure spam
  6.    Thin content with minimal or no additional value
  7.    User-generated spam
  8.    Keyword stuffing or hidden text
  9.    Spammy structured markup
  10.    Spammy free hosts
  11.    Sneaky redirects and/or cloaking

Taking Manual Action

Each penalty is caused by something specific and the penalties are fixed differently. To help you understand each manual action and the best way of fixing each, we will go through each SEO crime.

1.    Impact Links – Unnatural Links to the Site

This manual action can hit you for various reasons:

  •    Buying paid links
  •    Exposure to unnatural link structures
  •    Having unnatural profile links
  •    A high number of irrelevant links
  •    Using old tactics for building links
  •    Manipulating keyword ranking and using exact match texts
  •    Creating blogrolls so that you appear to have more links

While it was okay to use these tactics to improve ranking, today they are unacceptable. Revoking a penalty if you do any of the above is too much work. You are forced to remove every bad link manually and then request that Google reconsiders your site. It is better to avoid making the mistake altogether.

2.    Unnatural Links to the Site

This is very similar to the first manual action accept that there is an addition of a site-wide match. While a partial match only affects certain pages on the site, a site-wide match impacts your entire website and is, therefore, more catastrophic.

The process of revoking this penalty is similar to revoking impact links.

3.    Unnatural Links from the Site

Backlinks are good but you should only link to sites that are relevant to a specific page on your site or to your general site. If you have irrelevant links on blogs, sites, articles, forum sites and directories, Google will penalize your site.

To revoke unnatural links from your website:

  • Find pages on your site that have excess link exchanges or additional paid links. Be sure to get rid of links that are unrelated to your content, low or hidden content links, excess adverts links, links that have enhanced anchor texts, links distributed widely in footer, signature forum links, and automated programs that create site links.
  • Get rid of all low-quality links.
  • Request for reconsideration from Google once you fix the issues.

4.    Hacked Site

If your website is hacked or compromised, you could be hit with this particular penalty. Google usually warns site owners before they flag them as having been hacked. It is important to check if there are any security issues on your site, using the Crawl section on the Google Webmaster tool. If you identify any security issues, follow the actions recommended by Google to resolve them.

5.    Scanty Content with Little or no Additional Value

This penalty is given when Google realizes that you have been adding content to your site that is not useful to the readers. You could also be hit with it if you are using spun content, scrap, doorway pages, content generated automatically or affiliate programs.

To revoke this penalty:

  •    Get rid of duplicated content from your site
  •    Remove affiliate links found on pages that have little or no value content
  •    Eliminate content that is automatically generated and doorway pages
  •    Make your content rich and useful to readers

6.    Pure Spam

This penalty is given to sites that use hostile spam techniques that include using gibberish on the site that is automatically generated, cloaking, and scraping other websites’ content. This offense can cause you to be removed from the Google index. If flagged for this crime, it can also cost your business a lot.

7.    User – Generated Spam

This spam is commonly found in blog comments, forum threads, and profile links. The spam restricts the internet and you should, therefore, do everything you can to avoid it. To revoke it, you will need to identify the following kind of content in your site pages and get rid of them immediately:

  •    User profiles that are fake
  •    Use of a commercial name as opposed to a real name
  •    Presence of irrelevant links
  •    Presence of irrelevant topics
  •    Messages with advertising tones
  •    Pages targeted for link purposes
  •    Links in signatures
  •    Use of Brand name or keywords in comment sections

8.    Sneaky Redirects and/or Cloaking

Cloaking reveals content that is different from what is in the search engines. This is a major violation. Another violation is using sneaky redirects that move users to spam domains as they are browsing on a site. If you are hit with this penalty, your online traffic will significantly suffer.

9.    Keyword Stuffing and/or Hidden Text

Sometimes site owners attempt to hide text by using black spaces or white words against a white background. The hidden texts, however, can be read by Google Bots. Keyword stuffing involves using an excessive number of keywords even in places where it makes no sense in the hopes of improving SEO.

To revoke this penalty you must identify and get rid of the excessive keywords and hidden texts then contact Google for reconsideration.

10.    Spammy Freehosts

This usually happens when free hosting ISPs host spam or porn sites. The penalty is acted on the free host. To prevent this penalty, free hosting ISPs must monitor and moderate all the free sites they host. If flagged, you can revoke the manual action by getting rid of the spammy accounts that are hosted on the server, thereby protecting the site from future spamming.

11.    Spammy Structured Markup

This violation is rare. It occurs when structured data is manipulated so that a site can get higher clicks on SERP.

To revoke the manual actions, you must get rid of the following violations:

  •    Fake review, testimonials, or votes
  •    Using event markups and showing offers to advertise
  •    Using a person’s brand, keywords or markup instead of the real individual
  •    Using recipe markups to gain clicks
  •    Having a review markup on adult content
  •    Making it difficult for users to access markup content
  •    Having promotional content in event markups

Once you sort out the violations, you can contact Google for reconsideration.

How to Get the Best Results

Should you ever face any of these eleven manual actions, you will know how to deal with them and get them fixed so that you can enjoy the benefits of SERP results. Once the penalty has been revoked, make sure you observe the off page and on page SEO practices so that you do not become a victim ever again. At the end of the day, Google derives no joy from bringing down your business. Search engines only want you to show value of your website and respect other sites as well. As long as you work hard and are honest with your website users, you will do just fine. The rest will be taken care of my Google.

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