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Publishers hit by Google “manual actions”

Publishers hit by Google “manual actions”

Businesses and publishers whose content features in Google News and Google Discover should be aware that the search giant appears to have taken significant action against misleading and manipulated content in recent days.

Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz notes that big and small publishers were subject to “manual actions” from Google in late January, while search engine optimisation (SEO) consultant Glenn Gabe tweets that a number of publishers have contacted him about the issue.

This appears to be a follow-through of threats made almost a full year ago regarding actions Google was prepared to take against News and Discover content that violated its guidelines. Schwartz notes that most of the actions he has observed so far have been related to misleading and manipulated content, although medical content – no doubt related to COVID-19 – has also been hard hit. However, Google lists policies against 10 different types of content in total, with hateful, sexual explicit and vulgar content also liable to be targeted.

As the name suggests, the “manual actions” are performed by a human Google employee who has assessed the content and decided it breaches Google’s policies. In these instances, site owners are notified through their Google Search Console and told which policy they have fallen foul of. They are then advised to amend their content and request a review.

This warning not to ignore these notifications is worth heeding, as publishers who fail to address them may find that their pages suffer in search engine rankings, or are omitted from search results completely.

Google advises to “be patient” when submitting a review request, and in cases like this content producers can be unsure what exactly they need to address. The lack of certainty about how to fix the issue and how long it will take means it’s in everyone’s interest to avoid being flagged up for violating policies in the first place, and the best way to do that is to focus on appropriate, high-quality content. To learn about our content and SEO services, speak to the Engage Web team today.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray

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