A high-quality link to your website is essential for ranking high in search engine results. Links, however, are not created equal. Low-quality links can destroy your online credibility. Google can impose harsh consequences on your website if you aren’t careful. To learn what a Google penalty is and what to do if you receive one, continue reading.
What is Google Penalty?
Google penalties are punishments for websites that fail to comply with Google’s guidelines. Manual and algorithmic penalties are the two main types.
If your website is penalized manually, Google will explain what went wrong. Unnatural links or low-quality content will likely be detected by the search engine, indicating the site doesn’t meet the search engine’s standards and needs Google penalty recovery. Your company’s website can be reconsidered once you address the problem.
You’ll need to dig deeper to discover the cause of an algorithmic penalty or SEO penalty. Track down the period during which your rankings suddenly dropped significantly using a Google algorithm tool or by using your tactics.
You should determine which Google update was implemented in the days right before your traffic plummeted. Search engine updates and a sudden decline in web traffic are likely to be related if you do a little research.
Types of Google Penalty?
Most penalties fall into one of two categories: Manual or Algorithmic. Penalties differ for each category. Let’s delve deep into it below.
Google’s spam team flags your website when it breaches its Webmaster Guidelines. Look for new messages in your Google Search Console to determine if your website has been penalized. You are likely to have a manual action or Google link penalty on your website if you have any messages or warnings. Backlink profiles are always (mostly) responsible for these penalties. A manual penalty can take the following forms:
- Google can detect unnatural links to your website. These links are called impact links. Google doesn’t believe you played any part in creating the links. These links are ineffective, but you must recover from the manual Google penalty to correct negative SEO.
- Unnatural links to a website: This one is identical to the previous one, except that you are responsible for creating these links. This manual action can impact your entire website or just a handful of pages depending upon the extent of the links. This penalty is caused by link swapping and backlinks.
- Unnatural links to your site: This is the opposite penalty of the first two. Google might think that you create too many links, repeatedly link to the same website with the same anchor texts, or engage in manipulative linking practices. Your website may be subject to a Google manual action. This penalty can be applied to just certain pages or the entire site.
When Google’s algorithms flag your site, these penalties are automatically applied. Also, the previous algorithm could have been updated, or a new one could have been launched. Since you have yet to receive messages or warnings about the penalty on your Search Engine Console, these penalties are considered harder to detect. The traffic to your website will drop suddenly and massively without explanation.
Staying on top of these penalties is good for staying informed. There are many resources available for tracking, so take advantage of them. You should check if there are any confirmed algorithm changes whenever you notice an abnormal drop in traffic.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Panda: Google updates are continuously responsible for low-quality websites being severely penalized. This Google algorithm has one purpose: to ensure high-quality content. Google will rank your site lower if it believes it needs more content or authority. Because it affects all sites, it is extremely dangerous. Your entire website will be affected, including traffic and ranking.
- Penguin: Another major algorithm update by Google that changed the SEO landscape. It acts as an automatic detector for ‘bad’ links. Penguin focuses on the overall quality of links, how fast a website acquires and retains them, and diversity (do-follow, no-follow, and high-quality). This update will penalize your website if it finds that your backlink activities are unnatural. This penalty will only affect some pages, but it will cause you to lose a lot of traffic.
- Mobile-Friendliness: To make websites mobile-ready and improve their rankings, Google has pushed two mobile-friendliness-related algorithms. It is, therefore, one of the easiest to spot among all the algorithms to determine if the algorithmic penalty was applied. Mobile-friendliness includes many things, such as responsive design and page load speed, properly-sized UI elements, etc.
Common Causes of Google Penalty?
The following triggers often cause Google penalties:
- Stuffing keywords
- Hyperlinks hidden
- Content duplication
- Irrelevant keywords
- Bad redirects
- Viruses, spyware, and adware
- Problems with data
- Bad links
A Google penalty can be triggered in many ways, but they are frequently triggered by black-hat tactics or techniques that fool search engines’ bots into achieving their results, making SEO penalty recovery even more important.
Tips to Recover from Google Penalties
Find Out If You Have A Ranking Issue
First, determine if a Google penalty is the root cause of your problems.
You can use the Website Penalty Indicator to see where and how your website may be affected.
Check Out the Most Recent Algorithm Updates
Log in to Google Analytics to see if you have been penalized for an algorithm change. You can also compare traffic drops to other Google algorithm changes.
Google penalties are likely to be the reason why your traffic drops simultaneously with an algorithm update.
To investigate more, click Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.
Select Google/Organic from there. This will give you an overview of how many visits your site gets from Google searches.
Next, choose the reporting period from the top right and go back at least a year. You can also compare any traffic drops to the Google algorithm update dates.
Use this Google Algorithm cheat sheet to help you not get penalized by Google. You can also check out the Moz guide, which shows all the Google algorithm updates over the past 16 years. Once you have identified the update causing your penalty, it’s time to research how to fix it.
If Penguin updates penalize your site, you must increase your backlinks and anchor text distribution.
Audit your SEO strategy
Regular marketing strategies should include SEO audits. It can also be used to identify any drop in traffic. If you’re concerned that your site may be under a Google Penalty, a technical SEO audit will help to uncover any SEO mistakes.
Three things should be considered when you conduct a technical SEO assessment:
- Indexing and back-end hosting
- Content, metadata, and keywords are front-end factors.
- Links quality and references outside the site
SEO audits should utilize a tool like a Backlink Checker for scanning for spam links. This SEO Audit Checklist may also help determine if you are eligible for a Google penalty removal.
Some common SEO mistakes include the following:
- Backlinks which are spammy, obscene, or otherwise unacceptable
- Stuffing keywords
- Loading speed
- Sitemap errors
- Pop-up windows
If you have corrected your SEO issues but still see your website performing poorly, the penalty may be caused by a content problem or other issue.
Perform a Content Audit
A content audit looks at all your content performance and can uncover the root cause of your Google Penalty if it is related to content issues.
Your online content must be kept up-to-date and optimized in order to keep it performing well. Google values must be updated and detailed content should be added. Content from two years ago that is great today will only be as effective with updating.
Double content is also a problem. Duplicate content can cause problems in your search engine performance. Businesses that permit user-generated content (e.g., blog comments) should be particularly aware of this.
During your content audit, look for the following:
- Outdated Content
- Content gaps
- Reliable, evergreen content that must be renewed
- Image data
- Word counts
How can Cheenti help in recovering from Google Penalty?
With the help of a repair roadmap, clients learn what factors led to the penalty. It is similar to a penalty audit in that it identifies Google penalty issues (almost always associated with Google Penguin, Panda, or other algorithm updates) and lays out actionable tasks and procedures for correcting them.
- Our SEO Agency identifies the errors on your site, determines the steps required to fix them, and explains what should be done to fix them. We will analyze any link exchanges used to acquire links when analyzing link mass to remove spammy links.
- We conduct an SEO audit. Your website is penalized exactly according to the information we provide. We must be able to access your website analytics to find out what caused such a significant decline in search engine rankings on your site.
- We fix errors. The site structure will be evaluated and improved, the content will be corrected or modified, technical errors will be eliminated, and usability will be improved.
- As part of our work report, we offer suggestions for enhancing your website’s future success and offering you a comprehensive report on our progress.
Have you ever managed to fix Google penalties? If not, our digital marketing agency is here to help!