Being penalized by Google is every webmaster’s greatest nightmare. After all, it has the potential to wipe out years of hard effort. It now affects not just your site’s traffic but also its ranks in the SERPs.
Faced with such a circumstance, it might be frightening. If you have received a Google Penalty, do not give up hope. Google penalty recovery is difficult, but with the right approach to recovering, you can restore your ranks.
This post will go through some of the most frequent Google penalties, including both automatic penalties and the dreaded manual penalty, and what you can do to fix any problems and undo the harm.
We will look at various strategies for helping your site recover from Google penalties and strikes.
So, if you want to know more about the complex processes of recovering your search engine rankings, read on below for the answers.
Table of Contents
What Is A Google Penalty?
A Google Penalty is a type of penalty handed out to a website. Google assigns it to websites that may have violated Google’s marketing practices or standards.
Google developed search engine penalties to dissuade websites from engaging in “deceptive or manipulative behavior.”
What steps does Google take to discourage this? By removing all of a website’s vital search rankings.
One day, your website may be all over Google’s first page, ranking highly for a whole host of keywords. After Google applies a penalty, your website may not even rank for branded keywords (such as your company name) the next day.
A penalty may also be imposed following an upgrade to their ranking system. It may also occur during a manual assessment in which Google accuses a website of employing black hat SEO methods.
It is easy to confuse an algorithm change for a Google penalty if you are new to SEO. Algorithms primarily rely on a set of computations and rules to ensure that they provide the intended result.
These algorithms are often designed to reward websites that meet certain quality requirements. The criteria for meeting these requirements are defined in Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Aside from that, Google uses human reviewers who manually evaluate and rate websites. They mostly examine sites that have passed through the algorithm but do not quite match up to the quality criteria.
Even if you are not on the wrong side of an update, you may feel as though you have been penalized. In both circumstances, the final consequence can be pretty much the same – you lose a significant amount of organic traffic.
Why Do Google Penalties Happen?
Google’s search engine is continually being updated in order to improve the user experience. The ultimate objective of these improvements is to deliver the most accurate replies to all search queries.
Businesses and marketers soon grasped the value of a first-page search result as Google’s popularity rose in the early days of the Internet. Companies began using strategies meant to increase their search ranks in an attempt to capture some coveted first-page real estate.
Some of these strategies were and continue to be entirely appropriate. There is absolutely nothing improper about optimizing a web page to make it easier to assess for Google (and readers).
However, some of these strategies are outright immoral. This is referred to as “Black Hat” SEO in the digital marketing sector, in contrast to the ethical, acceptable “White Hat” SEO.
Google, as we all know, is quite smart. It was aware of the unethical and deceptive conduct and took action. Google began modifying its algorithms and assigning “penalties” to websites that broke its quality rules.
Penalties are often imposed as a result of “black hat” practices. Sometimes, these are genuine errors made by ambitious website owners.
Whatever the reason for the punishment, it is a terrible experience for any site owner, and the time it takes to recover from a Google penalty and get your search engine ranking place back can be significant.
The Two Types of Google Penalty
There are two different types of penalty that can strike your web pages. These are the algorithmic penalty and the dreaded manual Google penalty.
In order to manage your Google penalty recovery, you will need to know which of these two types of site-wide penalties you are dealing with.
Let’s take a look at both algorithmic penalties and manual penalties to help you understand the vital difference between them.
The Google algorithm is a complex process in which Google pulls resources from the web, stores them, and then returns the best possible result for a query.
To rank websites, the Google search algorithm is thought to consider around 200 different ranking factors.
When a website violates the Google algorithm’s disciplinary rules, the website receives an algorithm penalty. Furthermore, web page ranking on SERP is determined by Google’s algorithms.
Unfortunately, algorithm penalties are difficult to identify since site owners are not notified, and the fundamental cause is difficult to pinpoint. Google spiders or crawlers crawl a site and punish it without warning if any information violates Google’s webmaster guidelines.
On top of this, Google algorithm updates may result in an algorithmic penalty. The two most recent major updates that applied penalties were known as Google Panda and Google Penguin.
A Panda penalty and a Penguin penalty may sound cute and friendly, but they can absolutely devastate your Google ranking in search engine results.
For violations of Webmaster standards, Google’s spam team can issue a manual penalty. Google’s tool for this is simple: real human staff deciding whether or not your site is legitimate.
A Google staff member applies a manual penalty after extensively evaluating a website’s activity.
This can be very harmful. This is because, as a result of a manual Google penalty, your site’s ranking declines, and the site or its pages are deleted from search results.
Google’s algorithm is generally quite good at detecting spam and eliminating sites from search results. Furthermore, in order to maintain the quality of its index, Google checks sites to determine if they conform with Google’s standards.
If a site breaches Google’s policies, a Google staff member evaluates the site and imposes a manual penalty.
Manual penalties are much harder to fix than algorithmic penalties, but on the other hand, the fixes can usually be handled on a page-by-page basis, deleting the low-quality content and then sending a manual reconsideration request.
If you have been given a manual penalty, you will always be notified by Google directly in your Google search console dashboard.
These are the hardest types of Google penalties to deal with, as Google penalty recovery for manual punishments requires getting in touch with Google itself.
Why Have I Been Penalized by Google?
There are several different reasons why your site’s rankings might have tanked, from a simple algorithm update to an overreliance on poorly written content. Here are the most common reasons why websites are hit by Google penalties.
Backlinks are used by Google to assess the quality of your website and its content. If Google detects that a link appears to be paid link building or part of link schemes like a private blog network, you are in big trouble.
Link quality is a vital metric used by Google: it wants to see high-quality links.
In such circumstances, Google may not count the linking value at all and may even penalize you. If the problem is localized, this penalty will usually be applied to certain pages. It only sometimes imposes a site-wide penalty.
Poor Quality Content
Google strives to provide the greatest possible experience for its users. You should expect a Google penalty if your material is low quality and does not provide the users with any value.
Poor content includes plagiarized or otherwise duplicated material, spammy content, doorway pages, keyword stuffing to hit targeted keywords, or other thin content with poor value.
This penalty has the potential to significantly reduce your search traffic. Google displays a manual action for this penalty with the statement, “Thin content with little or no added value.”
In some circumstances, using duplicate content may be unavoidable or even required. For example, if you write an article that incorporates music quotations or lyrics, you will have duplicate content.
You can use canonical tags to show Google that you recognize the duplicate content and are behaving in good faith. This might draw their attention to a certain piece of material.
In the case of keyword stuffing or other thin content, the Google penalty comes from the (almost certainly correct) conclusion that you are trying to manipulate a search engines algorithm rather than provide valuable pages for organic traffic.
This penalty is intended to assess the quality of information published by a website. What is remarkable about this penalty is that it impacts your whole site, even if you only have problems with one portion of it.
While the Panda patent is quite technical and uninteresting, it does explain how it works.
It is quality-based and seeks to eliminate redundant, shallow links, brand searches, and badly written material. When a specific site fails to match the requirements, Google assigns the modification score to the entire site.
As a result, even if you have a few low-quality pages, they may have an impact on your entire site, sending search traffic plummeting across your site.
This penalty is mostly concerned with backlinks. Unlike the Panda algorithm update, the Penguin algorithm update only impacts certain pages.
If you are struck by this Google penalty, you must recover solely for certain pages. All of your other pages will continue to be rated and gain organic traffic.
It is regarded as unnatural if the majority of your backlinks come from your comments area.
Similarly, if several links have the same anchor text, this is a bad sign that you might be engaging in shady link-farming behavior to manipulate search engines.
Most websites have a mix of poor and high-quality backlinks. If you have a large number of low-quality connections, Google will notice. It is also regarded as unnatural if a website acquires a large number of links in a short period of time.
How to Recover from a Google Penalty
Google penalty recovery is a tricky and time-consuming process, but it is not impossible.
We are going to walk you through the best Google penalty recovery process out there, but you should be aware that even if you follow this guide to the letter, and even if the problems are due to an honest mistake, Google penalties can stick around for a while, and it might take some time for you to see your rankings in the search engines rising again.
As a result, it is important to get started on Google penalty recovery as soon as you think you have been struck with Google penalties.
Step 1: Find Out What Sort of Google Penalty You Have Been Given
Before you can do anything, you must first grasp what is going on. Fortunately, Google webmaster tools like Google Search Console can help you with this.
Hunting around in the dark and hoping to stumble on the right fix without knowing what the problem is will not get you anywhere.
First, go to your Google Analytics dashboard and make sure your analytics tracking code is correctly installed. To ensure that everything is in order, use the Google Analytics Debugger addon to get a detailed report.
Check Google Search Console to determine whether your website has been manually penalized.
Select Security & Manual Actions, followed by Manual Actions. Look for any error messages now. If there is a manual action causing you problems, it will be displayed here.
Have you determined that the issue is caused by a manual action? Get in touch with a professional SEO agency to handle it.
As mentioned previously, penalties from manual actions can be very difficult to fix, so if you see that penalty warning in the Google Search Console, abandon the rest of this guide and call in professional help immediately. A technical SEO audit agency will be able to help here.
If it is not a manual action that is the root cause of your problems, then something must have changed on your site recently.
Most sites that are not hit by a manual action are suffering from a bit of new content that reads like it is full of spam links or something new in your backlink profile that looks a bit sketchy to Google’s algorithms.
Step 2: Check for Recent Google Algorithm Updates
Google’s algorithm is updated on a regular basis.
A change in the algorithm might be to blame for a decrease in traffic and site performance.
In some situations, the update will result in a penalty. That is why it is critical to monitor Google algorithm changes and take action as required.
Moz has a fantastic website that lists every Google update as it happens, which is one of the most useful resources out there to help you stay on top of any Google algorithm update that might affect your site.
Examine its page to check whether any of the reported modifications correspond to when your website’s performance fell. Investigate the update’s target audience and make the necessary modifications to your website.
There have been several tools developed over the years to assist you in determining which upgrades have the most impact on your site and why.
Step 3: Fix Up Your Backlink Profile
Cleaning up your link profile is essential if you need to recover from a Google penalty.
To detect and remove bad backlinks, you are going to have to do a backlink SEO audit. The Google Search Console displays a list of all domains that connect to you.
Log in to your account and navigate to the links on the left sidebar. Click the export external links button.
Google Search Console may not provide an exhaustive list of all hyperlinks to your site. That is why you should cross-reference with another SEO tool to ensure that you have captured all of them.
To uncover more backlinks, use the Moz Open Site Explorer tool. You must first sign up for a free account in order to use the tool, and then you can get started with adding your domain.
You can use these two tools to produce a long list of all of the backlinks pointing to your website. Use this list to identify spammy links, unnatural links, and other low-quality links that might be causing problems for your search rankings.
The final stage of the SEO audit for bad backlinks is a bit tricky because you do not have much control over it.
When you have put together a complete list of all your bad links, get in touch with the webmasters who run the sites responsible for these bad links and ask for them to be removed.
You can’t force them to remove any bad backlinks that are causing problems, but if you are friendly and polite, you have a reasonable chance of getting them to help you out here.
If the webmasters do not help you out, it is time to send a disavow request for these bad backlinks.
This is a system that you can use to simply request that Google ignore specific inbound links to your site. For example, if you have been the victim of malicious link schemes, pointing spam links at your website in order to tank your search engine rankings.
Take your list of bad backlinks and simply upload it to Google’s disavow tool.
You can also use tools like Monitor Backlinks to help you manage your link scheme. Monitor Backlinks essentially brings all of these various actions into a single piece of software, making life easier for any website owner.
Searcharoo is a Link Building & Content Marketing company run by SEO’s based in the UK.
Our goal from the start has been to provide premium links and content services, at fair and affordable prices.