If we know something about the Google search engine, it is that everything is much less static every time. Over the years, Google has made constant changes to its search algorithms to offer users a better experience. This is why it ranks among the top search engines in the world.
Google is constantly making many improvements (almost every 17 hours it makes some change to its algorithms) and to ensure that its evolving ecosystem remains of the highest quality, the search engine issues “penalties” for those who do not follow its rules.
It is a fairly simple equation. If you don’t follow Google’s guidelines, you will receive a penalty. The result of this is an improvement in the SERPs since Google serves the intention of the search engine with greater precision and with better quality links.
Let’s look at the concept of a Google penalty and what you can do to recover from one.
If the traffic to your site has been flowing smoothly for some time, but now you have noticed that there is a sudden drop, naturally this means that something that is driving people to your site is out of control.
Most likely, your site has been affected. Now, there are two ways a site can be “penalized”:
1- Manual action
2- Algorithmic drop
It is important to distinguish between the two and take the necessary measures according to your situation.
These two instances are often described as a “penalty.” Note that while the word “penalty” is used loosely here, only a manual action is a penalty in the true sense. Algorithmic drops do not have an official categorization and do not target specific sites like manual actions do.
A Google penalty is a negative impact on the performance of a site that is influenced by a direct or automated action that is based on the stipulations established by Google. There may be a reasonable suspicion that unethical SEO tactics are at play. Such tactics include misuse of suspicious keywords or links.
In other words, a manual action is a specific penalty imposed on a site for violating Google’s guidelines. The penalty is intended to remove content that breaks Google’s guidelines from search results.
The logic is simple. If a site or page does not meet the guidelines that Google has established to ensure that web content is reliable, accurate and secure, the search engine will do everything possible to ensure that such content never reaches the user.
Some of the most notable penalties from Google are as follows:
Unlike manual action penalties, algorithmic crashes are done through automation, so there is no notification to tell you what the problem may be. As the name implies, Google’s algorithms provide routine inspections of sites to ensure that they follow a set of predefined rules. Once your site is found to be in violation of some of these rules, it will downgrade in search rankings. (Of course, things are much more, since there are multiple factors that Google may be applying at any time).
When you receive such a “penalty”, there is also a drop in your organic traffic. The problem is that without notification, you cannot be sure that the fall is caused by a penalty. There are numerous reasons for such a drop, and you should do a thorough study to properly identify what is happening.
When there is a major update, Google usually tweets about it and communicates it through various means. Try to follow the community and identify where the majority of SEOs are seeing downfalls.
When you inspect your rankings, you may notice that there is a change that can be linked to certain search terms. Once you’ve identified that this is happening, check out the Search Console report. If you find that the decline in ranking is accompanied by a steady drop in traffic, you have likely received an algorithmic penalty.
This is the easier of the two categories to notice as such penalties are followed by a notification. If you look in Search Console, you will see a message saying that one or more pages on your site have received a penalty.
Finding out if you’ve been hit with a Google penalty is not an impossible task, but it does require some research on your part before you can be sure that there is a violation that caused your site to be adversely affected.
Google Analytics is a great tool to start looking for if a manual action is causing problems on your site. For this, you need to look at the search traffic before the penalty is applied and compare it to the traffic after the penalty was applied. Just focus on the importance of the change if there is one. If the change is not a bother, then you may not need to fix anything.
“The sanctions are educational.” Google communicates the penalties because they want to educate and reduce web spam.
At this point, you should already be clear that you have received a penalty from Google, the effect it is causing on your site and the causes of the penalty. So now it’s time to try to recover, since you want your page to have an optimal performance.
Sometimes the page that is penalizing you is one that has no relation to the performance of your website. If you can do without this page, you can simply delete it. While this is not the most common form of recovery, this approach has been successful in the past.
Go through your entire site, analyze where your “gray areas” are. Try to find out what could be a violation of the website guidelines and if you have a small question on any page, correct it.
The main action you can take is to submit a reconsideration request to Google to remove the penalty against your site. However, keep in mind that this is not something you should do unless you realize that you have received the penalty. If you do, the request will most likely simply be ignored. Submit the request only after making sure you have resolved the issue.
Google needs to see that you have taken the necessary steps to keep your website in good shape, even if the steps have not been completely successful.
Unnatural links, for example, are the most common reason for penalties. If you receive a notification, you should start a backlink scan. Pay particular attention to backlinks from low-quality sites and overly optimized or irrelevant anchor text. It is important to find and get rid of these links.
Since these links are external, you may need to submit removal requests to the sites that have them. If that doesn’t work, you can decline the link. It is important to document the steps you have taken to get back on track in your request for reconsideration to Google.
Reconsideration requests are handled by humans, so you need to show them that you’ve done everything you can to get it right.