How To Deal With Google Penalty. Google is very serious about its ranking algorithm, constantly updating its algorithms to provide the best search results for users. This also means penalizing web pages or websites that break Google’s Webmaster Policies.
You can incur a Google penalty by intentionally practicing black hat search engine optimization, inadvertently through inappropriate site maintenance, or just due to an algorithm update. However, Google penalties negatively affect your search rankings, and in some cases, Google could withdraw your pages or entire website from the results.
So in this article, we will learn what not to do to prevent a Google fine and protect your website from a traffic decline.
What is a Google Penalty?
A Google penalty occurs when it notices that a website violates its Webmaster Policies.
The results are a drop in ranking and traffic.
There are two different types of penalties.
The first penalties can be algorithmic (which can result in a site decreasing in rank after a new algorithm update).
The second one is manual (given by actual Google employees and are more straightforward to identify and fix).
How to fix an algorithmic Google penalty
Check for the latest updates on Google algorithms. What could suddenly change about Google rules that could lead to a penalty? Use the website penalty indicator to diagnose the main problem. This helps you spot subtle changes in the algorithm that may be causing problems with your site. Run manual, paid, or free SEO audits on your website. You need to determine if any black hat SEO mistakes are hindering your success.
Once you’ve found a problem and fixed it, you need to request a review — as thousands of other websites do every week. Google then evaluates your website and determines if it no longer violates the guidelines.
If you have properly addressed this issue, you will get a message in your core Google search tool that your site is no longer in violation. However, if the problem persists, you will have to start troubleshooting from scratch.
Google Algorithmic penalties aren’t explicitly noted anywhere, so you can’t check for them. The best thing you can do is see if your fall in traffic aligns with the release of an algorithm update and try to learn as much as you can about it so you can find out any adjustments you require making to move forward or any fixes you need to make in existing content.
Relying on the update and the scope to which your site misaligned with it, your fixes may or may not lead to a repair of ranking and traffic.
While algorithmic updates often happen, they all suit reward websites for EAT and optimal technical performance, so those should be your constant focus points.
How to fix a Manual Google Penalty
There are various tools available to check a Google Penalty, but you can also use GSC (Google Search Console).
Locate the Security & Manual Actions tab in your dashboard and click on Manual Actions.
You can see which policy you have violated, which pages have been impacted, and how to fix it.
Once the issue is fixed, you can submit it for review. Google employees will review and approve the request and re-index your page.
What are the consequences of a Google Penalty?
The consequence of any penalty is a drop in search rank, but the rigor of the drop relies on the type of penalty given.
- Keyword-level penalties: Ranking will drop for a particular keyword.
- URL or directory-level penalties: Ranking will fall for a particular URL.
- Domain-wide or sitewide penalties: Ranking will decrease for many URLs and keywords across your site.
- De-listing or de-indexing: De-listing is the highest level of penalty charged by Google, where they remove your domain from the Google index. As a result, none of your site’s content will appear on Google.
Why you might receive a penalty from Google?
Let’s start the recovery process by discussing some of the main reasons why your site was recently penalized. If you are guilty of any of these issues, chances are you have already received a penalty or will receive it.
1. Keyword entry
We hope that most websites already understand the dangers of keyword overflow. If you overload your site with keywords in hopes of ranking well, you may do more damage to your site than you will ever do.
Make sure you use keywords to enhance your content and make it relevant. Google can’t wait to start typing in keywords and penalize certain parts of your site or the site as a whole.
2. Sneaky diversion
Have you tried hiding redirects to other websites – maybe paid affiliates? Google doesn’t respect this, and you will likely face penalties until you remove the hidden redirect.
Don’t cover up your redirects. Connecting with a reputable partner or affiliate is great – but don’t give up. Limit your redirect links and keep asking yourself, “Are my readers interested in these connections, or are they using them?” If not, you have to delete it.
3. Thin flat content
Ever since the Panda algorithm update rolled out, Google has been very strict about content coming from content pools. You may be penalized if your content:
- Is poorly studied
- Lack of important details
- Full expand / full text
- Generally low quality or shallow
If your website is automatically generating blog posts, discarding spam that is of no value, or removing text from other websites, you need a new content marketing strategy.
When using an SEO plugin like Rank Math or Yoast, you should never index empty categories or tag archives.
The solution is to remove all child content and then replace it with useful information that is useful to your readers. Google only removes penalties if you remove thin, duplicate, or otherwise inappropriate content.
4. “Free Hosting”
This sentence is a problem in itself. Free hosting is bad hosting in most cases. You may not pay for the service, but you will face issues like spam and unreliable loading speeds – both of which can result in penalties.
Focus on improving user experience with valuable (paid) hosting services. You’ll pay more, but also spend less time dealing with penalties and Google user complaints.
In short, sacrificing hosting doesn’t get you much in Google’s eyes. Turn to the hosting service you—and web search engines—can trust.
5. Hidden image or text
Does your website contain obfuscated images/text, or does that redirect users to another website? This, of course, can lead to punishment. Google needs to see the same image as your users. Even if you think you have no hidden images on your website, check out their plugin. They can hide images without your knowledge, resulting in a penalty and hence poor performance in the SERPs.
6. Paid or Inappropriate Links
Not only is this a clear violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, but it’s also a serious one. According to the Google Search Center, “Google and most other search engines use links to regulate their repute.”
You will soon get fined (and have a bad online reputation) if you include links you have purchased or links that are completely inappropriate for the topic on your site.
A much better plan is to invest the time and resources necessary to build quality relationships. Shortcuts can be tempting, but at the end of the day, there’s a reason for Google to find hundreds of thousands of websites using poor link-building services.
7. Comments and Profile Spam
Whether it’s a lot of comments on your blog or a user profile that doesn’t exist, spam is the cause of Google’s penalties. If you recently received a fine, check your site for spam.
8. Misleading or Inaccurate Content
Lastly, you can be fined if you post misleading titles, posts, and web copy on your website.
As we said earlier, Google looks for quality. If you use an inaccurate clickbait title or an inaccurate story, search engines are likely to penalize you after crawling your site.
Dealing with Google penalties isn’t every website owner’s first choice, but it’s more common than most people think.
Once you’ve got it, it’s time to start the recovery process and reclaim your SERP rankings.
Whether you’re stuffed with keywords or bad links, deal with it fast.
If you’re not confident about what the problem is, let us know. We’re happy to help you create a strategy that will help you find a quick overview.