When webmasters fear getting Google penalties, most of them think of the dreaded algorithm updates :Penguin, Panda, the Top Heavy algorithm, etc. Get caught in one of these algorithm sweeps, and you could lose some or even all of your organic search traffic.
But Google actually has a lot more in its arsenal than just algorithms to encourage you to follow their Webmaster Guidelines. Ever heard of a Manual Action Penalty ?
What’s a Manual Action Penalty?
Google has teams of search engineers tasked with the job of reviewing individual websites and, if necessary, assigning a rank penalty.
When Google runs Penguin, sites across the web can take a rank hit. A Manual Action Penalty means your site alone has been hit, and it’s your problem to fix.
Manual Actions are the most common type of Google penalty you can get. If you have one, you should see a message in search console about it:
You can go to Search Console and check for yourself right now. Just go to Search Traffic > Manual Actions and see if you have a message: