Fresh Egg Round Up

Digital Marketing News Round Up: Google Launches Manual Spam Actions Viewer, In-Depth Articles and Display Planner, plus Matt Cutts on Negative SEO and Global Spam Fighting

This week’s digital marketing news round up is another Google-tastic edition, covering everything from more guidance on manual actions to the introduction of in-depth articles. Read on to find out what’s been happening in the world of search marketing over the past week.

Google launches ‘manual actions’ viewer

Google have added a new feature in Webmaster Tools called the manual actions viewer, which can be found under the ‘search traffic’ tab. As part of this introduction, the reconsideration request process has also been streamlined under this new tab.

Screenshot of GWT manual actions viewer tab

Screenshot of GWT manual actions viewer showing URL matches

Image source:

For sites that have a manual penalty, Google will show information under two headers: ‘sitewide’ or ‘partial’ matches. It will then indicate what type of problem exists, for example ‘hidden text’, ‘thin content’ or ‘pure spam’.

Where there are partial matches listed, Google will show the affected URLs for each type of spam problem (with a limit of up to 1,000 URLs). There will also be a ‘request a review’ button that takes you straight to the streamlined reconsideration process. However, you can now only do a reconsideration request if you have a manual action on your site.

If you’d like to find out more, Google has released seven videos on typical manual spam actions.

Will the launch of the manual actions viewer provide SEOs with any additional information, or will it simply state what many already know? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

In-depth articles on Google

Google has announced one of their many tests – in depth articles in the search results – is to go live. Although initially only in English on, they plan on launching it out to the rest of the world soon.

Screenshot of Google in-depth article SERP

Image source: Google SERPs

When searching for a broad topic, users will now find in-depth authority articles on the subject, no matter when they were written. As in the example shown, for the search “population growth”, two results from 2011 are provided.

The addition of the in-depth article search results looks to answer the potential search intent of those looking for more information when using a generic search term.

Advice on how to appear in the in-depth article results can be found here. For their content to appear, webmasters will need to mark up anything that is “high quality and in-depth” with the appropriate Article markup.

It’s also worth noting that it seems the only sites getting any visibility via this method at the moment are already large, authority sources. What is more, this focus on brand (rather than individual person, as Google Authorship focuses on) could signify the growing importance of the rel=publisher markup.

Google merges three tools in one with new Display Planner

Three AdWords tools – the Placement Tool, the Contextual Targeting Tool, and the Ad Planner – are to be merged into a single tool – the Google Display Planner.

No functionality has been lost in the unification of these tools. Find out how to use it in the video above, and check out Google’s advice on the Display Planner here.

Matt Cutts on competitor sites trying to harm others with bad backlinks

In response to the question “What can I do if someone, (my competition), is trying to harm me with bad backlinks?”, Matt Cutts told webmasters they should initially ask to have the links removed. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to use the disavow tool – at a domain level if necessary.

Watch his response in the video below.

Cutts tells webmasters they shouldn’t worry about bad backlinks once the sites in question have been put into a disavow file. However, we know that those building these links could just continue to do so, making it a very time consuming problem to tackle. There’s also the fact to consider that it could take months for a disavow to take effect.

Google fights spam globally

Finally, Cutts also answered the question: “Is the Webspam team taking the same measures to counter spam in international markets like India like they do in the US market?” In summary, the answer is yes, but the English results in the US get more attention.

In the video, Cutts discusses how Google’s algorithms are internationalised to stop link spam or keyword stuffing in various languages. He also mentions that the Webspam team have engineers based across the world and combat spam in 40 different languages. In terms of what to do if you spot spam, he advises that you should submit a spam report, post in the Google Webmaster forums, or even send a tweet about it.

Check back same time next week for the next edition of the digital marketing news round up.

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