Google Penalty


What Is a Google Penalty? 

A Google penalty is an action of penalisation placed on a website for using ill practices to artificially increase their rankings on Google’s search engine.

Google penalties are usually caused by the detection of black hat SEO tactics or a change in Google’s algorithms

If your website violates Google's rules, it can trigger a Google penalty that puts your site at a high risk in search results. Sometimes you might even see it disappear from the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

When a site receives a penalty, it will be sent a manual action report through Google Search Console.

Types of Google Penalties

There are 2 types of Google penalties. Both will land you in a world of trouble.

Manual Penalty

A manual penalty is instigated by a Google Reviewer when a website makes manual changes that violate quality guidelines. When this happens, a notice is issued via the site’s Google Search Console.

screenshot google search console manual google penalty

Algorithmic Penalty

An algorithmic penalty is issued when Google updates its algorithmic filters to address endemic issues. 

Two of the main algorithmic filters, which are now part of Google’s core algorithm are the Penguin update which tackles link schemes, and the Panda update which targets low-quality web page content.

Google Penalties: Why You Should Care

While Google penalties mean that there are fewer duplicated sites, and a higher quality user experience, they can have a huge impact on unsuspecting businesses and companies. 

Google penalties lead to a significant drop in rankings. This leads to less traffic to a web page, which ultimately means less exposure. And that’s not good.

How to Know If You Have A Google Penalty

There a few signs to help you discover if your website is on its way to a Google penalty. If your search rankings for keywords have fallen this isn’t a good sign.

A significant indicator however is if your page has been de-indexed.

How To Avoid A Google Penalty?

There are some simple rules to follow if you want to avoid a Google penalty.

  • Don’t buy links. Google's Penguin update will penalise your website for this
  • Don’t duplicate content - plagiarism is a no-no
  • Avoid keyword stuffing. Google caught onto this years ago and it’s considered a tactic of black-hat SEO
  • Make sure comments on your website aren't filled with spam
  • Avoid cloaking. This is when a website advertises itself as something it is not. This is usually accompanied by the website redirecting a user
  • Avoid thin content
  • Avoid including any broken links
  • Ensure your website doesn’t have a slow-response time
  • Optimise your site for mobiles
  • Make sure your site isn’t embedded with viruses or spyware
  • Avoid creating ‘flexible sampling’ content

How To Remove A Google Penalty

Once you discover you have received a Google penalty, you must spring into action to avoid falling further in rankings and to remedy the situation.

A manual penalty is typically caused by either unnatural links from your site, or unnatural links to your site. But this is quite easy to resolve. 

All you need to do is:

  • Identify which backlinks caused the penalty from Google
  • Remove the backlinks by using the Disavow Tool
  • Work on your your website to adhere to Google’s guidelines
  • Simply request that your site be re-indexed

This should improve your site’s ranking.

Which Software Can Help You Avoid Penalties?

There are quite a few tools out there to help navigate the treacherous land of the Google penalty. Some of these tools include:

  • Search Engine Roundtable
  • Screaming Frog
  • Ahrefs
  • Copyscape
  • CopyGator
  • SEMrush

How Can We Help?

Have you received a Google Penalty and don’t know what to do next? You should book a call with us and we’ll match you with a team that can get you out of this sticky situation!