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8 Websites previously deleted from GWT got a Google penalty on Dec. 15

 7:20 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Back in late November, I decided that Google Analytics would be enough 'Google factor' for some of my websites to have, so I removed them all from GWT.

Two weeks later, I see a notification email in my inbox informing me that eight of my websites have undergone a manual action: one for 'pure spam', the others for unnatural outgoing links.

I was surprised to see this, because:

1. The websites are no longer listed under GWT
2. Some of them are not using GA for traffic analytics

So far, volunteers at the Google's Product Forums haven't been able to tell me if there's a connection between GWT and GA and how come that removing websites from GWT still gets me notifications of manual actions and what else.

Have you ever experienced something like this? If you did, how did you stop Google from 'taking care' of the websites you already removed?


Note: I'm not willing to 'fix' my websites for reinclusion or optimization in Google, so I'm not going to discuss that here.



 8:44 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you mean that the 8 websites that got manual actions against them are the same 8 websites that you removed from webmaster tools, and that you have other websites that weren't removed from WMT, or were never in WMT, and those haven't had actions taken against them?


 9:02 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi aristotle,

Yes, all 8 websites were once in WMT. I removed them on the last week of November, yet Google still got me a manual action notification on ALL 8 of them.

Other websites that were on WMT were not penalized, but websites NOT on WMT did not receive a penalty so far. A drop in PageRank maybe, but they're in the SERPs as they used to before.

What I'm really wondering *why* I still got a notification in WMT when the websites are no longer there. This is concerning...


 9:18 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Removing them from wmt doesn't wipe them from google's memory. So what they see is:

--one entity controls a number of domains
--some of those domains are removed from wmt account, but not transferred to someone else's account
--some or all of the newly removed domains engage in behavior that g### disapproves of
--g### fires off e-mail saying "Nice try, but we're wise to you".

From where I'm standing, the notification is an act of kindness. They didn't have to say anything.

Option C is that the notification hand doesn't know what the enrollment hand is doing. So the entity that sent out the e-mail didn't know that the offending sites are no longer part of this gwt account.


 9:24 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

n0tSEO, is this the situation:

- You had (more than 8) websites in WMT and also some websites that are not in WMT.
- You then removed 8 websites from WMT
- You then got manual action notice for these 8 sites, but not for sites that still remained in WMT and not for sites that were not in WMT previously

When you say you got manual action notice for the sites not any more in WMT, where did the notice arrive? To WMT or to gmail account that was associated with WMT or to whatever other email?

What is the reason for removing just these 8 sites from WMT and leaving others? I mean, were these sites more in danger to be penalised by Google and hence you decided to remove them?

And lastly, when you removed the sites from WMT, after removing the owner, have you removed google verification file from the domain root ?

I like Lucy's explanation - entirely possible.


 9:30 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks, lucy24. I see that there's a possibility the webspam team member who sent out the notifications might not know I removed the sites from WMT.

As I see it, I might do two things now: leave a message on the Product Forums and ask if there's a way to disable WMT entirely from my account and add a robots.txt rule to exclude Googlebot.

Thanks for your help. :)


 9:37 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

So you are basically querying why it is you received the actual email (not the penalty) even though the sites have been removed?

How long after the removal did you receive the penalty notification? As we all know, google universe is built fom thousands of servers and databases and it could well be just a case of not enough time passed to propagate your site removal throughout the google universe. Ie Lucy's option c.

P.s hate typing out on iPad....


 9:42 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think the biggest mystery is why the particular 8 sites that were removed from WMT are the same 8 that got manual actions. Could their removal have triggered a manual review?

brotherhood of LAN

 9:56 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

I know that from working with gmail's API it takes 30 days for contacts to be removed from address lists, and I thought something similar could have happened here due to the short timespan as Shai has alluded to. Things can appear instant on the UI end but the server side is using a different set of cogs.


 10:29 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry for the wrong choice of wording in my thread title.

What aristotle says:

he biggest mystery is why the particular 8 sites that were removed from WMT are the same 8 that got manual actions

and what Shai adds:

why it is you received the actual email (...) even though the sites have been removed

are essentially my problem.

The penalty is the least of my problems, but the fact that the sites got penalized all together on the same day (Dec. 15) after I had removed them all in bulk two weeks before is a big fat question mark in my head.

@aakk9999 - Yes, I had several websites under WMT. I began removing the websites the last week of November and I just completed the clean up a few days ago. I deleted them in order of importance: the most important sites first, the least important as the last to get removed. I did not fear a penalty, I just wanted to detach from Google for various reasons.

As for the verification code, I used a meta tag instead of a file, but I removed that when I started the cleanup. I might have to check if the other sites still carry the verification meta tag, though.

The notice arrived to both WMT Messages and to my Gmail account.

@Shai - I received a penalty notification about 2 weeks after the removal.


 10:57 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thank you for explaining.

As for the verification code, I used a meta tag instead of a file

I am wondering whether the site has been recrawled to see that the verification meta tag has been removed.

To be honest, I am not sure how this removal works, I wonder whether the Googlebot "informs" the WMT that there is no verification tag and if so, how long this process takes.


 12:20 pm on Jan 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I ran a check on the sites and some still had the verification meta tag. I have removed it, but I might have to recheck the other sites, too.

As for Google Product Forums, I received an answer from a WT top contributor:

Google has historically attempted to contact a webmaster of manual actions and other serious events (like a site being hacked), even webmasters who do no use any Google products (such as WMT or Google Analytics). Whether that policy is true today is not known. That said, your email account is known to Google as you are an active user of a Google product requiring registration with that email address, so notifications are reasonable under these circumstances.- [productforums.google.com...]

[edited by: aakk9999 at 12:30 pm (utc) on Jan 3, 2014]
[edit reason] Fixed link [/edit]


 6:28 pm on Jan 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

hmm this rings a bell. Our IT guy added our not all but many of our company websites under his gmail account, why I can't answer this but he did. Well he is no longer our IT guy and deleted all the accounts under his account. I was an admin in the account but once they were deleted I had to add them back under the company account.

All the websites in question took a big traffic hit. Is there a connection?

You know Google receives a GA account deleted; this is a no brainier. I wonder once Google (including the webspam team) see the delete they take a much harder view of the website? My guess is they do and can pick it till something they don't like comes up; well you know the rest of the story.


 7:07 pm on Jan 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hmmm interesting. This means you should be careful when firing your SEO company. Or even more careful whether you are giving them WMT login in the first place.

Or I wonder whether creating a new account before removing the site from the old one is the answer then.

All the websites in question took a big traffic hit. Is there a connection?

bwnbwn, have sites recovered once you added them to a new WMT account?


 7:37 pm on Jan 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

All the websites in question took a big traffic hit. Is there a connection?

I must question this too because since I removed GA from all my sites nearly 3 years ago I seem to have had a continuous and downhill battle with G.

The sites that had never had GA have been stable BUT they are more local/regional sites rather than international.


 9:54 pm on Jan 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Nope non of them.

It was an in house IT guy he did all the website code builds. I didn't think to look at the Google id number because I could access them through the company GA account. He added me as an admin I thought they were all under the company account until they disappeared after he was let go.

Not sure why he put them under his account he had access to the company admin log in for Google. It was a big mistake on my part I guess not checking the id number, but who would think to do this. I know better now.

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