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Manual Actions Viewer Screenshot

Google has long been alerting webmasters when they placed a manual action against the site, but last week they made it even easier to know for sure whether a site’s search rankings are being penalized with a manual action. The search engine has added a new feature to Webmaster Tools called the Manual Actions viewer.

The Manual Actions viewer is seen under the “Search Traffic” tab, and it is meant to act as a complimentary alert to the email notifications they already send out to websites receiving a manual action. With the new tool, webmasters don’t have to rely on waiting for an email. Instead, they can check their site’s condition any time.

According to Google, less than two percent of all domains within its index are manually removed for spammy practices, so most legitimate webmasters will never see anything within the tool other than a display reading “No manual webspam actions found.”

However, for those who get targeted for spammy practices, the Manual Actions viewer will show existing webspam problems under two headings titled ‘site-wide matches’ and ‘partial matches’. They will also include information on what type of problem exists from a list of roughly a dozen categories including ‘hidden text and/or keyword stuffing’, ‘thin content’, and ‘pure spam’.

For the partial matches listed in the tool, Google also gives access to a list of affected URLs for each type of spam problem. For example, if you have a notification for thin content, you will be able to see all the URLs targeted. There is a limit of 1,000 URLs per problem category, but that should be plenty for al but massive websites like YouTube.

Within the tool, there is also quick access to a new ‘Request a Review’ button that appears any time there are manual actions listed. When you click the button, a pop-up window opens which lets the webmaster give Google details on how you have resolved the issues.