Are manual actions really manual?


Registered Member
May 6, 2014
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This is a debate that I've been getting into recently, and I thought I'd start a topic dedicated to it to hear your thoughts.

What do you think, are manual actions really manual, or do you think it's something like a specific algorithm that only comes into force after a website has received a spam report?
Uhm... If they were algo-based then they wouldn't be manual, would they?
I suppose they are. And there are the penalties you don't get a love letter for in your GWT, those are probably the automatic ones.
Yeah, but my logic is that there are so many websites on the internet that taking manual actions against each one reported would be an unreasonable process. I am thinking they may just employ the name manual as a bit of a scare tactic.
OP might be right, It may not be manual but to get back your rankings, you have to go through manual process I assume.
If manual, then they should penalize the amazingly high money making keyword "pay day loans" search results, every week new BH success ranks #1-#3 as far as I check. I don't know how long they last ..
Yeah mahnazkut, thanks what I'm thinking... Maybe the action itself isn't manual, but the process of recovery includes a manual review.

I'm thinking the manual action may be a type of algorithm that takes into account spam reports or something...
It was a fairly daft question, however I just wondered what your thoughts were and whether or not the "manual" bit might have just been a scare tactic, but I can confirm that manual actions are in fact, manual. *Shock!*
No, how could someone from Google possibly manually review your website? Just how.
Haha really? I question the fact that are manual and everyone states that they are, then I come round to the fact that they are and now everyone is saying otherwise haha! :(
When there is no clear cut or definite answer to this peculiar question let more members come up with their thoughts and logic as well. BTW i would assume its all manual.
I agree... I think they are called manual because you can do manual review to remove the penalty.
Just imagine how long it takes you to analyse the links of your competitors and I really doubt google have enough manual labour to go manually like that through every single website on the internet.
No, how could someone from Google possibly manually review your website? Just how.
Of course they can, an example is when you run adsence, sometimes they run a manual check before they send a payment.

About OP question, the manual action they send by gwt is sent to thousands of sites who triggers their filters. It's an automatic thing. I don't see how they can do that manually and that's the purpose of an algorithm, to be able to check, rank or penalize a site automatically and in a better way then before.
They are manual reviews. If a site is found by the algo that looks too shady, or someone reports webspam, a google employee actually looks at the website.

In addition to that there are two companies, leapforce and lionbridge, that hire website evaluators who evaluate websites for google all day long. I used to work for Lionbridge, and did a thousand or so website evaluations a month.

One of their duties is to take a selection of websites and decide if they are quality and if they fit the search term When I did this, sites were called relevant, semi related, off topic, porn and spam.

Each website is graded by 6 evaluators. Any website that gets called "spam" by all 6 evaluators gets a manual review, or did back then.
I would say its both, there must be some sort of an algo trigger than calls for a human review and an appropriate penalty thereafter.
Yes it is manual. I had a friend of mine who did her internship in google's bangalore (india) office to streamline the process to evaluate adult niche websites/YT videos manually. So yes, it is manual..

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I guess I was simply hoping for you guys to say it was automated as it would give be better hope for a successful outcome of my reconsideration request. If someone has already manually reviewed my website to give me the penalty then I don't have much faith. :(
Of course they can, an example is when you run adsence, sometimes they run a manual check before they send a payment.

I was being sarcastic, very sarcastic. I thought the "just how" on the end may have confirmed it for most.
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