In the past week, Google launched a feature that allows webmasters to check if their domain or subdomain has been penalized because of spam; publishers now have the ability to check whether or not Google has placed a manual webspam action on their account.  With this information, Hubbers can remove or fix their content and ask for reconsideration by clicking the “Request a Review” button.

To check if your site has been hit with a manual webspam action:

  1. Go to Google’s Webmaster Tools (If you don’t have a Webmaster Tools account set up, we have a Learning Center entry that can help!)
  2. Sign-in to your account and click on your subdomain
  3. Click on Search Traffic > Manual Actions in the left toolbar
  4. Google will list any manual actions that have occurred on your account


The webspam-detection feature is incredibly beneficial to Hubbers and to HubPages.  In the next few days, we will make a change to our product capsules because of the results that we found in our Webmaster Tools account.   When analyzing the Hubs that were penalized, one of the factors that we were able to isolate was the use of products.  Other than multiple products, many of the penalized Hubs were high quality.  We concluded that a large block of products will negatively influence Google’s assessment of an otherwise fantastic Hub.  Our analysis has instigated the following changes to product capsules:

  1. We are reducing the number of products per capsule to one on all new Hubs (your older Hubs where you have chosen a specific product will not be effected unless you edit and change the capsule).  If you have a Hub where readers would benefit from seeing more than one product, you are welcome to add another product capsule.  We hope this reduces the number of tangential products within a Hub and reduces the number of webspam actions on new Hubs.  When including products in your Hubs, a good question to ask yourself is:  will this product be incredibly useful to my reader, and would I include it even if I didn’t receive any monetary benefit?  If the answer is a resounding yes, then include it.
  2. We are reducing the number of keyword or search-driven products on all old Hubs to one product per capsule (this effects all eBay products and Amazon products that are chosen with a keyword).  Many Hubs have multiple products that are exact matches because they are chosen by a search driven keyword; reducing the number of products per capsule will help Hubs with duplicate or extremely similar products.  We realize that this may cause some formatting issues with older Hubs; we are incredibly sorry for the inconvenience, but with the new information that Google has provided, we feel it is in the best interest of Hubbers to make the change.


Overall, the new information that we have received from Google has been very beneficial.  We know that the changes that we have recently made have been on the right track, and this new resource is affecting the changes that we will make in the future to help reward our great Hubbers and deter spam.  Cheers!


Posted by:Robin Edmondson

15 replies on “How to Check Your Subdomain for a Google Penalty and an Update to Amazon and eBay Products

  1. This one is going to hurt – I hope HP will reconsider. I have many hubs on tools, all with Amazon products. Most have 10-30 products, and 30 capsules will completely ruin the hub. It will go from a decent looking layout to pure spam with all the Amazon logos.

    A common usage might be to talk about a particular drill, with an Amazon capsule alongside. In that capsule might be 2 different drill kits, a refurbished drill, drill bits, screwdriver bits for the drill and an extra battery. 6 products, all of which are extremely relevant to buying that particular drill, and all of which produce sales.

    Or I might offer several different quality/price drills in a discussion on cordless vs corded drills, again with accessories.

    Or, following a discussion on pliers, show a large capsule with 10 different types/sizes of pliers. There isn’t room for 10 capsules alongside even a long paragraph on pliers.

    While I understand the dangers of spam, there are indeed times when large capsules are very beneficial. All the examples used show good traffic and sales – removing most of the products from these hubs will cost considerable in Amazon sales.

    1. Hi Dan,
      Thanks for the insightful comment. If everyone used Amazon like you do, we wouldn’t have to make these changes. We don’t want to embarrass anyone by showing which accounts were flagged as spam, but it’s pretty clear that Google feels that a benign Hub with a lot of products is deemed spam. It will take a few more capsules on your part, but you still should be able to achieve a similar outcome. We aren’t retroactively changing Amazon Capsules that were chosen by ASIN numbers, just those that are search driven. I realize you are probably talking about moving forward, but I wanted to clarify just in case. Thanks again for the comment.

  2. I just checked mine it says “No manual webspam actions found.”
    In some of my old hubs, which I have never edited after they were published, there are many products in a single capsules. In some of my later hubs, I have used two products in a single capsule.
    There is so much to edit.

  3. Is there anyway that you can add the special code to your hubpages webpage, or meta data to a hub? This does not give your hubpages account information to google.

    1. Hi Tamara,

      I’m not really sure what you’re asking. Could you clarify for me, please? Most Hubbers want their profiles and Hubs visible to Google because that is how they gain search traffic and get Hub views.

  4. I have no manual actions or spam warnings for my subdomain either. Yet like everyone else I am just part of the collateral damage when my low-traffic high-quality pages get idled for no apparent reason. Now that you can see whose subdomains have been manually penalized and whose have not, maybe you could focus your punitive measures on the actual culprits. Drone strikes instead of bombs. People whose accounts are in the clear should be exempt from the policy of idling low-traffic hubs.

    1. Hi Gevin,

      I know this change is difficult for many Hubbers, and I’m sorry it’s been frustrating for you. We’d love it if Google sent us a list of every subdomain with a penalty. It would certainly make things much easier for us and Hubbers. Unfortunately, we can only see a sampling of subdomains with penalties that Google is willing to share with us. We have to do our best with that information which is why some good Hubbers are caught in the crossfire. But with the information we do have, we’re able to shape our policies to reduce the risk of penalties for all Hubbers going forward as much as possible.

  5. The information has given me some insight on the possible cause for deletion of one of my blogs. I just woke up one day and the blog was nowhere. Since I never knew of such a tool or even how one can conduct Google for a reconsideration, I had to suffer.

    1. Sorry to hear about your bad experience, saito! We’re also very glad for this new information Google has provided. It will be extremely helpful to us at HP and to Hubbers as well. 🙂

  6. That was a great piece of information there. What I feel is that we are relied too much on what google thinks and does. There are so many 1 or 2 pages websites or subdomains which are making huge money to its owners. Maybe that sub-domain is penalized by google and not showing in the search rankings but the fact that it gets targeted traffic from various other sources keeps it earning more and more income for some work done.
    Thanks for the info though. I will check and see if my sub-domains have been flaged.

  7. Thanks so much for this informative article. I appreciate the step by step instructions to figure out whether or not my website has been penalized because of spam.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s