You can find websites that only follow the path in some market niches. Therefore, if you detect that any of your competitors are using these techniques (known as BlackHat), you can submit a ticket for a manual review.
How do you report BlackHat techniques?
It is as simple as entering the following link and choosing the report type you want to make.
As we see in the image above, we can choose between spam (the BlackHat as mentioned above techniques), purchasing links to manipulate the rankings, or if a website is running malicious software.
Get to the point in your report.
Spam reports are mainly processed manually. In short, a Google employee will read the information and then try to make a decision based on the accompanying evidence. Try to describe in detail, without frills, why the reported site needs a manual review.
A spam report should not include irrelevant information. A formal greeting is necessary beyond a precise description of the perceived violations.
Google doesn’t care who submits a spam report or their reason. Any extra information that focuses on something other than the complaint wastes time for all parties (mainly for you, who is the interested party).
No “extra” information increases the possibility of a manual penalty being applied and should, therefore, be excluded.
Each website may violate one or more quality guidelines. With each of them, it is advisable to attach evidence that facilitates the possible penalty, such as the specific URLs of the pages.
For example, in the case of purchasing links with over-optimized anchor text to try to force an increase in position in search results, the specific links would have to be attached.
The more examples, the better. The Google worker in charge of processing the spam report will be able to verify if any of the attached examples violate the guidelines and will act accordingly.
What guideline violations to report
Any confirmed and flagrant violation of the guidelines can be reported, but experience shows that some violations are more likely to be committed than others.
For example, BlackHat-related actions and link buying are the most common and tend to trigger an in-depth investigation that results in Google taking visible action.
The manipulation of rich snippets or structured data to increase CTR (% clicks per 100 visits) with ratings in SERPs with inflated data is relatively easy to identify.
The high number of reviews and their high score may indicate possible manipulation. Since the American search engine takes the user experience very seriously, these complaints will be taken more seriously.
What to expect from Google
Lastly, Google needs to provide information on whether or not it has taken any action regarding the complaints made, which can be frustrating.
They also do not verify any other web pages associated with the account responsible for the reported page.
While following quality guidelines is essential to avoid a potential penalty, we can use this tool to our advantage if we know that a competitor uses BlackHat methods.
However, despite all the points mentioned above, particularly in fiercely competitive niches where every position counts, keeping an eye on the competition and their SEO practices is vital.
Compared to the time required to conduct an in-depth audit, submitting a spam report is a low-cost effort that is often worth doing.