One aspect that most site owners don’t seem to know is that Google manual actions come with expiry dates. When that date is due, manual actions go out. There is a misconception that Google manual actions last forever. The duration of manual actions will vary, though. Some can take days, and some can last for even a couple of years. The bottom line is that manual actions can go away, but reapplication is also possible.
Why Manual Actions
With some sites using spammy ways of getting to the top of search results, Google found it necessary to dole out punishment to them. Manual actions are used by Google to demotes sites or even remove them from search results.
Don’t Ignore Them
It is possible for Google to lift manual actions on a site if the problem is no longer there. When there are manual actions on your site, find ways to fix the issue that led to it in the first place. You cannot just sit and wish a manual action away. Just because a manual action comes with an expiry date does not mean a site owner should just wait for the expiration. Imagine if an action took two years to expire, then that would continue affecting a site’s rankings.
If a manual action expires and after a while, a site still has the same misdeeds, then Google will reapply manual actions. You can also report a competitor site that is back on search results but still has spam content. A site owner that receives manual actions should worry about them if they affect their search engine rankings. These actions are called site-wide manual actions that result in penalisation of a whole site. In some instances, manual actions may be for pages that don’t mean anything to a site owner, and this is what is called a partial site manual action. Such an owner can afford to wait for the expiration of manual actions.
What Causes Them
Various activities can cause Google to apply manual actions on your site. Content that contains spam is one of the most common causes of manual actions. Site owners that provide content just to rank higher can face manual actions when Google takes notice. There is also the use of unnatural links on a site. In cases where a site owner has no control over unnatural links, there will be no penalties, just a warning to remove them. If a site owner is deceptively using links, then manual actions can apply to the whole site. Other causes of manual actions from Goggle include hacking, spammy redirects/cloaking, thin content, user generated spam, and spammy freehosts, just to mention a few.
Do not ignore a notice from Google Webmaster Tools indicating your site has manual actions. Even if you know that there is an expiration date on them, find out how you can fix the underlying problem to avoid reapplication of these actions in the future.