December 21, 2023

How To Know If You’ve Been Penalised By Google

Understanding whether you’ve been penalised by Google is crucial for maintaining your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) performance. Google penalties can negatively impact your site’s ranking and visibility, potentially harming your online presence. These penalties can result from manual actions or algorithm updates, affecting websites that don’t adhere to Google’s best practices and guidelines.

To identify a Google penalty, you should be aware of the two main types: manual actions and algorithmic penalties. Manual actions occur when a Google reviewer identifies a violation of their webmaster guidelines. You can check if your website has been hit with a manual action by visiting Google Search Console. On the other hand, algorithmic penalties involve changes to Google’s ranking algorithms that may reduce your website’s visibility in search results. Monitor your site’s traffic and rankings closely: a sudden, unexplained drop could indicate an algorithmic penalty.

Keeping your website’s SEO up to date with current best practices is crucial to avoid penalties and maintain your site’s performance. By staying informed about Google’s algorithm updates and closely monitoring the Security & Manual Actions in Google Search Console, you can minimise the risk of being penalised and ensure that your website performs optimally in search results.

Identifying a Google Penalty

Manual vs Algorithmic Penalties

There are two types of Google penalties: manual and algorithmic. A manual penalty is imposed by Google’s webspam team when your website violates Google’s quality guidelines. An algorithmic penalty occurs when an automatic update to Google’s ranking algorithm negatively impacts your site, usually due to black hat SEO tactics.

Using Google Search Console

One way to identify if you have been penalised by Google is to monitor your Google Search Console. This tool shows important information about your website’s performance and search traffic, including any possible manual actions imposed by Google. If you receive a manual action, it will be displayed in the Manual Actions section, along with instructions for resolving the issue.

Follow these steps to check for manual actions:

  1. Log in to your Google Search Console account.
  2. Click on Security & Manual Actions on the left-hand menu.
  3. Look for any notifications under the Manual Actions tab.

Monitoring Traffic and Rankings

Another way to identify a Google penalty is by monitoring your website’s traffic and search rankings. Using tools like Google Analytics can help you track changes in organic traffic and search rankings.

Signs that your website may have received an algorithmic penalty include:

  • Sudden and significant drops in organic traffic
  • Drastic decreases in search rankings for specific keywords
  • Inconsistent or unusual fluctuations in traffic

If you believe your site has received an algorithmic penalty, take the time to review Google’s quality guidelines, and make necessary changes to improve your site’s compliance. Keep in mind that recovering from an algorithmic penalty may take time, as you must wait for Google to update its algorithm and reevaluate your site.

Recovering from Penalties

Recovering from Google penalties involves taking the necessary steps to address the issues and improve your website’s standing in the eyes of the search engine giant. This process can be divided into three main subsections: Addressing Manual Actions, Correcting Algorithmic Issues, and Developing a Recovery Strategy.

Addressing Manual Actions

If your website has been hit with a manual penalty, the first step is to identify the reason behind it. Google typically provides an explanation within the Google Search Console under the “Manual Actions” tab. Here are some common actions you should consider to resolve the issue:

  • Content auditing: Examine your content thoroughly for any duplicate or low-quality material. Improve or remove any offending material to create a more robust and valuable website.
  • Backlink profile: Analyse your website’s backlink profile to identify harmful or spammy links. Use Google’s Disavow tool to report these issues and remove any potentially damaging associations.

Once you have addressed all the issues, submit a Reconsideration Request to Google, explaining the steps you have taken to rectify the problems.

Correcting Algorithmic Issues

Algorithmic filters automatically penalise websites that do not meet Google’s guidelines. These issues may arise from various elements, such as low-quality content, over-optimisation, or a poor backlink profile. Other potential steps to address these issues include:

  • SEO audit: Conduct a comprehensive SEO audit of your website to identify any problematic aspects that may be affecting your site’s performance.
  • Content improvements: Revise and optimise existing content. Consider adding relevant and unique topics that provide value to your target audience.
  • Technical enhancements: Focus on improving your site’s loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and overall user experience.

Developing a Recovery Strategy

Having a robust recovery strategy in place is essential for navigating your way through Google penalty recovery. This plan should involve continuously monitoring your website’s performance and adjusting your SEO strategy accordingly. Key steps in developing a recovery strategy include:

  1. Prioritise: Identify the most pressing issues and focus on resolving them first.
  2. Monitor: Keep an eye on your website’s performance metrics within Google Search Console and Google Analytics to assess progress and identify new potential issues.
  3. Adapt: Modify your SEO strategy as needed, using the data obtained from your analysis and ongoing monitoring.

By addressing manual actions, correcting algorithmic issues, and adopting a well-articulated recovery strategy, you can work your way through the process of Google penalty recovery and reclaim your website’s place in the search results.

Looking for an SEO services company London? Get in touch now! We are not only and SEO expert, we can also help you with all your digital marketing efforts, like LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads or PPC services.

About Shirish Agarwal

Shirish Agarwal is the founder of Flow20 and looks after the PPC and SEO side of things. Shirish also regularly contributes to leading digital marketing publications such as Hubspot, SEMRush, Wordstream and Outbrain. Connect with him on LinkedIn.