How to Use Manual Actions Report in Google Search Console?

Team TypeStack
Team TypeStack ...
Dec 01, 2022  . 5 min read

If you have a website, then you must have heard this term- Google Search Console. Google offers this free service to help you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site's presence in Google Search results. To appear or include yourself in Google Search results, you don't have to sign up with it; rather, the search console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site.

So, in this blog, we'll make you understand how to use Search Console to check if your site has any Google Search manual actions issued against it. This is critical because if a site has a manual action, some or all of that site might not be shown in Google Search results. By the end of this article, you should be able to find out if your website has any pages affected by manual actions, and if so, how to fix them and request Google to review your changes.

Google is constantly working to improve Search. That's why changes to our algorithms undergo extensive quality evaluation before being released. The algorithms are extremely good at detecting spam, and in most cases, they automatically clean it up from search results. To further improve search results quality, Google also scans sites for cases where its policy and guidelines are not kept.

In these cases, a human might review a website and apply a manual action. Following the application of a manual action, relevant pages or entire websites may be ranked lower or wholly omitted from search results. There are quite a few manual action types that you might see in Search Console.

For a comprehensive list, visit the Help Center article link from the description. Pure spam stands for what webmasters usually call Black Hat SEO. It includes complex techniques, such as hosting auto-generated gibberish pages, cloaking, scraping, and other shady practices. Thin content with little or no added value is issued to websites that appear to contain a significant percentage of low-quality or shallow pages that do not provide users with much-added value.

Structured data issues are applied to websites where some of the markups are using techniques that are outside our structured data guidelines. For instance, marking up invisible content to users, marking up content that is misleading or irrelevant, or other such manipulative behavior. If your site is affected by a manual action, you'll receive an email notification from Search Console to alert you.

Click the link provided in the message to visit the Manual Actions report in Search Console. Even if you miss an email, you can always log in to Search Console to check if you have any issues. On the Overview page, you'll already be notified if your site has manual actions.

Click the alert to find the list of all manual actions issued against your site and more information about them. You can also navigate toward the Messages panel to see all manual action messages that have been sent to your website in the past. This might give you context on your website history, especially if you're new to a company or have taken over an existing website.

Here's how to fix a manual action on your site:

Expand the manual action description panel on the report to learn more about the issue and, in some cases, to review a sample of pages affected. Fix the issue on all affected pages.

Fixing it on just some pages will not solve the problem. So, make sure you leave no pages behind. When you believe all issues listed in the report have been fixed or are not applicable, click Request Review. A good request does three things:

  • It explains the exact quality issue on your site
  • It describes the steps you've taken to fix the issue
  • It documents the outcome of your efforts

When you send your request, you will get a review confirmation message, as well as when Google reviews it and accepts/rejects your request.

No need to resubmit your request before you get the final decision on your outstanding request.

Don't just remove the old bad content. Be sure to add your new good content before requesting a review. Now that we've discussed manual actions let's clarify the difference between them and the security issues report because there is some conceptual overlap.

The Manual Actions report lists manually detected issues that are mostly attempting to manipulate the Google Search index but are not necessarily dangerous for users. As a result, most manual actions reported here will result in a group of pages or the entire site ranking lower or dropping from search results without any visual indication to the user on Search.

In comparison, the Security Issues report shows instances where your site was hacked or behavior in your site that could potentially harm a visitor. For example, phishing attacks or installing malware on the user's computer. These pages can appear with a warning label in search results, or a browser can display an interstitial warning page when a user tries to visit them.

We hope you understand what manual actions are, how to fix them with the help of Search Console, and how to request Google to review the pages you have fixed.