For anyone still reeling from the combined effects of the Google updates, then some help is finally at hand. At last steps are being taken to try and redres
s the bewildering new landscape of search quality. Imposing penalties on sites that don’t reach Google’s quest for value has left many affected site owners feeling disgruntled. They have, they argue, played by the SEO rules and don’t understand why exactly they have been penalised.
So in the past few days, Google have introduced a new tool to help. The new Manual Actions Viewer Tool enables site owners to find out why exactly Google have manually penalised them. In other words, a real person at Google has looked at a site, and decided it doesn’t adhere to their quality guidelines. Previously, it was not clear to site owners if a manual penalty had been applied, so changes in position were shrouded in mystery. Now, however, behaviours that violate the rules, such as keyword stuffing, user generated spam or unnatural links from or to a site, are highlighted through this new tool. Google will indicate the kind of problem by describing it through a list of categories such as issues such as ‘thin content’ or ‘hidden text.’
Although the information is not designed to highlight problems related to Penguin or Panda update penalties not manually placed, the fact that site owners are now able to see the reasons they have had an action applied is welcome. Will Google go any further to explain their penalty workings? Well, it seems unlikely at the moment – but in time perhaps. For now, this may not be a giant leap, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for now.
[Image attribution: Christian Barmala]