Digital Publishing Platforms
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Violations of Google News and Discover guidelines can now result in manual actions, “most serious of all Google penalties”

This marks the first time publishers could potentially receive manual penalties for violations of Google News and Discover policies.

Google has just added 12 new types of manual action penalties, specifically targeted towards News and Discover guideline violations. 

These include misleading content, manipulated media, hateful content, harassing content, violence and gore, vulgar language and profanity, and a few more.

“Manual actions are the most serious of all Google penalties and take serious effort to recover from,” notes SEJ’s Matt Southern.

Google issues a manual action against a site when a human reviewer determines that pages on the site are not compliant with the company’s quality guidelines. If a site has a manual action, some or all of that site will not be shown in Google’s search results.

This marks the first time a website could potentially receive a manual penalty for violations of News and Discover policies. Previously, manual actions were limited to violations of Google Search.

That’s not to say Google hasn’t been enforcing its policies around News and Discover. It has – but up to this point enforcement has been automated.

Matt Southern, Search Engine Journal

Traditionally, a manual penalty results in pages or sites being ranked lower in Google Search. 

But a manual action for News or Discover will not impact how you do in Search, according to Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison for Search.

Publishers can review these updated guidelines in the News content policies and Discover content policies help documents.