Manual Spam Actions Viewer not showing that your penalty is lifted?

Manual spam action revokedIf you’ve successfully removed a manual unnatural links penalty from your site, congratulations!  Seeing a “Manual Spam Action Revoked” message in Webmaster Tools is such an amazing feeling.  However, quite often, when the penalty is revoked, the manual spam actions viewer still shows that your site has a penalty.

You can see your manual spam actions viewer in Webmaster Tools by clicking on “Search Traffic”, then “Manual Spam Actions”.

Several times a week I get emails from site owners who are not sure if their penalty has truly been lifted.  If you’ve received a “manual spam action revoked” message, then you can be certain that your penalty has indeed been lifted.

In our experience it can sometimes take a few hours, or more commonly, two to three days for the manual spam actions viewer to reflect the true penalty status of your site.  In some cases it can take up to a week.  If your site had been deindexed because of your penalty, it can take a few days for reinclusion to happen.  This can cause confusion for site owners who may start to wonder if they truly have had their penalty lifted or whether Google has made a mistake.

When you get your penalty lifted, part of the wording of the message received says the following:

You can use the Manual Actions page in Webmaster Tools to view actions currently applied to your site. It may take some time before recent updates to your site’s status are reflected on this page and in our search results.

If you don’t see this change within one week, then there is a small chance that Google has made an error.  In a recent Webmaster Central Hangout, John Mueller answered a question from a site owner who had been waiting quite some time and still did not have confirmation of a penalty being lifted in their spam actions viewer.  If you’d like to watch it, you can start at 55:10.  I’ve transcribed the important parts below:
 

 
John said, “The reconsideration got processed.  We saw you did all the right things, but somehow for whatever reason it got stuck on our side.  We sent you a confirmation that the reconsideration request worked out, but we forgot to remove it on our side…Another reconsideration request probably fixes that more or less automatically.”

Several times a week, I receive emails from site owners who are not sure if their penalty has been lifted.  My advice is usually to just wait and be patient and you should see this in your manual spam actions viewer within the next few days:

no manual spam action

However, if you don’t see this within one week, I would recommend filing for reconsideration again.  You don’t need to say much in your reconsideration request, but simply say something like, “My manual spam action was revoked on [date], but my manual spam actions viewer still shows that I have a penalty.”

If you have further questions about the manual spam actions viewer, leave a comment below and I’ll see if I can help.

 

 

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  • Ken

    My site was penalized somehow because I went from first page #1 to 5-8th page.
    There is nowhere that says there is anything wrong with my site. I disavowed links, changed tags, removed things. WMT said the sitemap I submitted in October 2013 had finally been processed on Feb 27, 2014! Why so long? Ratings still low.
    A person with no content and 0 links in my niche have 1st page rank now. No pages were higher than mine before (I am the only other one that sells it on the internet) What is going on here? I never filed a reconsideration, (read not to unless you got a warning about something) I thought maybe I would regain but nothing yet. It has been six months now. Why can’t they just tell us what the hell is wrong, so we can get it taken care of? Could it be an error because of the sitemap problem? Any input would be great! Thank you!

    • http://www.hiswebmarketing.com/ Marie Haynes

      The sitemap issue is an odd one. I haven’t seen that before, and I don’t have an answer for you. There are many possible reasons for your site to go from the first page to the 5th-8th page. If you have no manual spam action showing in your Webmaster Tools (check by going to Search Traffic –> Manual Spam actions), then the most likely culprits are an algorithm change like Panda or Penguin.

      If you have been building links then Penguin is a possibility. If this is the case, the drop likely would have happened on a known date of a Penguin refresh: http://www.penguindates.com. But if not, then you may need to have someone take a look at your site to give you a better idea as to why it has dropped.

  • James

    I have somewhat the opposite issue. Following a partial penalty, I got rid of as many links as possible, submitted a disavow and a reconsideration request. A week later Google responds with, essentially, “try harder”. I buckle down, enlist additional staff, and really give it everything we’ve got. Once finished I submitted the disavow, waited a couple of days just in case, then went to submit the reconsideration request but found “No manual webspam actions found.”

    I never got a message saying the penalty was lifted, I have no clue WHEN it happened, and I’m definitely not seeing any ranking benefits from it. Very stressful, indeed.

    • http://www.hiswebmarketing.com/ Marie Haynes

      I have seen this happen and it can be frustrating. What has probably happened is that your penalty has expired. All penalties expire. Some expire within months and others can take years to expire. It all seems quite random. The difficult thing though is that you won’t know whether you have done all of the work that Google wants to see done. If you still have bad links pointing to your site then even though you don’t have a manual penalty you’ll be at risk for algorithmic issues with the Penguin algorithm.

      You can consider your manual penalty lifted though if there is “No manual webspam actions” in your spam actions viewer.

      In regards to traffic, in many cases there is no dramatic improvement after a penalty is lifted because the unnatural links were already discounted. In other cases, there can be improvement once Google refreshes Penguin. And sometimes there is no ranking improvement until new links are earned. I wrote more about the expectations for ranking once a penalty is lifted here on Moz: http://moz.com/blog/after-penalty-removed-will-traffic-increase

      • James

        It was that very article that brought me here, haha. The main issue is that it’s something that we should 100% be ranking for. It’s a fairly large local business with basic keywords. We’re on pages 6-10 for our major city, behind highly irrelevant pages.

        These links are from before my time with the company when they unknowingly hired a blackhat seo company. So many of these directories that we are on have been abandoned and there’s no way to get them off of there. We’ve made countless contact attempts, documented them all and disavowed them. In your experience, will Penguin still hold these against us following it’s next refresh? There’s literally nothing more that we can do to have them removed.

        We’re working on gaining positive links but it’s a plumbing company, something that many people don’t care to discuss or share with friends on social media. We’ve cleaned up our profiles on genuine high-quality directory sites but everything else is going to be quite uphill.

        • http://www.hiswebmarketing.com/ Marie Haynes

          It sounds like there is a good chance that the next Penguin refresh will be good for you. The main concern however, is whether Google is able to crawl the majority of the sites on your disavow list before they refresh Penguin. If, for example, you filed your disavow last week and Penguin refreshed tomorrow, you might need to wait until the next one to see the full benefit.

          • James

            I update it when new links are found, after attempting to reach the webmaster multiple times. I’ve submitted 2/26, 4/18, and yesterday. Now half of me wishes Penguin 2.2 happens tomorrow but the other half wants to give it some time. Yikes.