What Are Google Penalties: Types, Consequences, and Recovery

The main task of Google and other search engines is to provide the most relevant results to user queries. To fulfill this objective, ranking algorithms are constantly being updated.

The Complete list of Google Penalties.

Optimizers often ignore the rules – they violate guidelines for site owners and try to get to the top of SERPs by any means. To protect against the manipulation of ranking algorithms, search engines have come up with penalties that lower site positions.

Penalties in Google are imposed for artificial links, excessive use of keywords, creation of satellites to promote the main resource, and other violations. The search engine tries to always be one step ahead of optimizers who do not follow the recommendations. 

1. What Is Google Penalty in SEO?

Penalties in Google are restrictions that affect site positions or page display in SERPs. For example, if algorithms detect malicious code on website pages, users will see a warning that the site is unsafe.

In guidelines for webmasters, Google has described in detail how sites should be optimized so as to avoid problems with ranking. The page lists the main violations for which the algorithms show a «yellow card.» But this is not the whole list of manipulations used by site owners.

Penalties are imposed not only for using black-hat methods, such as cloaking or hidden redirects. Artificial links and spam in comments may also negatively affect site position in organic search results. 

2. Difference Between Manual Penalties and Algorithmic Filters in Google 

Google is constantly improving search quality, and it flags sites that use illegal optimization techniques. To do this, it works on two issues: updating its ranking algorithms and constant monitoring of search results by assessors. 

Assessors are members of the Search Quality team. They work with search results, evaluate pages, and can affect a site’s future if any violations are detected. 

Google features manual penalties and algorithmic filters. Both types are aimed at dealing with violators, but they work differently. The process of site recovery after penalties is also different.

2.1. What are manual penalties?

Penalties can be imposed manually, not based on the algorithms’ decision. Members of a search quality or web spam team check thousands of sites, and some of them are penalized because they violate guidelines for webmasters.

Manual penalties are sometimes imposed not because the site owner intentionally used black-hat optimization techniques but because of third parties. For example, if there is a lot of spam in comments or the site was hacked and a doorway was uploaded, the site is subject to manual penalties. 

2.2. What are algorithmic filters? 

It is impossible to check millions of sites from Google search results manually, despite the huge resources of the search engine. So, a team of engineers created algorithms that impose a filter based on a number of factors.

Site owners often report in topic communities that the filter appeared after the Core Update or independently of it. A core ranking algorithm update can affect a large number of sites or go unnoticed. It all depends on the scale of the update. 

Manual penalties are visible in Google Search Console, and once the problem is resolved, you can send a signal that the site is completely safe. On the other hand, algorithmic filters are removed automatically, and there is no way to speed up this process. You can only quickly remove artificial links or satellites and wait.

Some algorithmic filters used to be independent but then became part of the main algorithm, and they are periodically updated. This was the case with the most famous ones – Google Penguin and Panda.

3. Implications to Expect

Search engines are constantly developing to improve search quality and generate relevant answers to user queries, but they don’t always work perfectly. This applies not only to sites at the top of SERPs but also Google penalties.

Sometimes, projects that do not apply illegal optimization methods become subject to penalties. This happens rarely, but in such cases, a webmaster has to spend a lot of time looking for reasons.

The problem is that it is almost impossible to find out the reason for Google penalties. A support team definitely exists, but its members do not manually handle requests from site owners. 

The consequences of manual penalties or algorithmic filters always imply restriction of site positions or removal of pages from search database. Therefore, if the rules are violated, you can expect problems with traffic or indexing.  

4. Types of Google Penalties

Manual penalties imposed by Google work differently, and it is hard to predict consequences in advance. If a problem affects only 2% of pages, it won’t cause significant damage. 

For severe violations of recommendations for webmasters, filters can affect the position of the entire site. Then, the loss of traffic will be significant, and the project will actually be on the verge of survival. 

4.1. Keyword-level

Keyword-level penalties are related to search queries. The site position usually suffers because of one or a few keywords, and other keywords are not affected by the problem. 

Penalties of this level can last for several months before the site owner discovers the problem. If there are thousands of pages on the site, it is very difficult to keep track of each one. 

4.2. URL- or directory-level

Sometimes, penalties affect not a group of keywords but a specific page or an entire directory. The scale of the problem in this case is more significant, especially if pages with a large share of traffic are affected. 

Directory-level penalties can significantly impact the site position in SERPs; so, the site owner must resolve the issue as quickly as possible. And newcomers need to learn what a Google penalty in SEO is and how to remove it.

4.3. Domain- or site-level

Domain-level penalties are called host penalties. This is the most damaging type of penalty, which reverses the previous progress of the site. In some cases, recovery may take six months, and during this time, no traffic will be generated. 

Penalties can be imposed due to spam, over-optimization, artificial links, and other violations. It is difficult to regain the trust of search engines, and this does not always happen quickly.

4.4. Page removal from index

In some cases, Google removes pages from its database, and users can no longer access them through search results. De-indexing occurs when the search engine has enough reasons to remove content.

If the site contains doorway pages or hidden content, which is visible only to search crawlers, its pages may temporarily disappear from search results. In this case, the traffic decreases to virtually zero. 

5. Why Does Google Impose Manual Penalties and How Can You Fix This?

Manual penalties are a barrier that helps protect search engine users from sites that violate recommendations for optimization. Google may decide that a site’s content is not of sufficient quality and change its position. 

Recovery from Google penalties can take a long time, but it is much easier to remove manual penalties than algorithmic filters. A webmaster can look at reports in Search Console, identify the source of the problem, and resolve the issue. 

The algorithm for dealing with manual penalties is the same in all cases. First, familiarize yourself with the details of the violation, then resolve the problem and submit the request for re-verification. If you’ve done everything correctly, penalties will no longer apply.

5.1. Spam posted by third parties

Google spends a lot of resources on dealing with spam, and regularly removes sites that may negatively affect users’ impression of search quality from the top positions. 

If Search Console displays a warning about spam posted by third parties, this means Google treats the site well, and penalties do not apply in full. It is necessary to eliminate the problem quickly and prevent it from happening again.

How to remove penalties:

  • See what pages got penalized.
  • Remove spam in all sections of the site.
  • Limit users’ ability to post content.
  • Submit a reconsideration request.

The project should be regularly monitored for spam, and if users can post content on it – enable pre-moderation. It is the owner who is responsible for the resource content. 

5.2. Spam posted by users

Users like posting spam in comments, publishing promotional articles, and creating user profiles to add links. It is necessary to deal with all kinds of spam and avoid manual penalties.

How to remove penalties:

  1. Determine the penalized pages.
  2. Remove spam in all sections of the site.
  3. Limit users’ ability to post content.
  4. Submit a reconsideration request. 
  5. Monitor the site for irrelevant content.

Projects with user-generated content most often experience this problem, and sometimes, pre-moderation is the only solution. But it is necessary to check comments as soon as possible. 

5.3. Spam on a free hosting server

Free hosting servers often host low-quality sites and projects with dubious content. Spammers actively use them to send out emails with advertising or fraudulent offers. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. Stop using free hosting.
  2. Remove any spam pages if there are any.
  3. Submit a reconsideration request. 

It is better to host sites on trusted hosting providers and not jeopardize their future. Free hosting services have many restrictions, and the stable operation of the project is not guaranteed.  

5.4. Problems with structured data

Google’s list of penalties includes those applied for spam in micro-markup. Advanced data are utilized to provide users with additional information, but sometimes, webmasters violate the guidelines for their use. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. Check the affected pages with Rich Results Test
  2. Change content or micro-markup if there are violations.
  3. Temporarily disable advanced data if you need to remove penalties quickly.
  4. Submit a reconsideration request. 

Do not consider this violation unserious because penalties can be quite severe. It is worth carefully monitoring the work of micro-markup plugins and solving problems promptly. 

5.5. Artificial links to the site

Unnatural links are among the most common causes of penalties. Link building should be done carefully so as not to attract the attention of algorithms. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Download the list of links from Google Search Console.
  3. Ask site owners to remove links or upload a file to Disavow Tool.
  4. Submit a reconsideration request.

The effectiveness of Disavow Tool is not guaranteed; so, it is not worth relying on it. Links disavowed in this way are not removed; they only lose juice. You cannot completely reject backlinks, but it is necessary to make them natural.

5.6. Artificial links from your site

The search engine changes site positions not only for buying but also for selling links. Manual penalties apply to sites with a large number of suspicious outbound links. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Remove irrelevant outbound links and mark the remaining ones with relevant link attributes. 
  3. Submit a reconsideration request.

Removal of the Google penalty is not always quick, even if you remove all irrelevant links. So, it’s better to protect yourself from such situations in the future. 

5.7. Low-value content

Content that is of no value to users is considered useless. If the site publishes copied articles or has a doorway page, manual penalties may apply. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Delete duplicate content; increase the added value of pages. 
  3. Submit a reconsideration request.
  4. Create unique content in the future. 

Low-quality articles do not always prompt manual penalties, but they can negatively affect site traffic at any time. That’s why it is necessary to create useful content that solves users’ problems. 

5.8. Cloaking or hidden redirects

Content cloaking and hidden redirects are not necessarily black-hat SEO techniques. Redirects can occur because of errors in plugins and not because of the site owner. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Use tools to view the server response with the possibility to specify the Google user-agent. For example, httpstatus.
  3. Make sure that users and crawlers see the same content. 
  4. Submit a reconsideration request.
  5. Monitor redirects in the future. 

Google SEO penalties for cloaking can apply to sites that do not violate optimization recommendations. Therefore, it is important to monitor resource status and promptly fix problems. 

5.9. Aggressive spam

Aggressive spam implies purposeful manipulation of ranking algorithms through over-optimized content or posting a large number of copied texts. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Eliminate any signs of spam: plagiarism, useless content, content cloaking, etc. 
  3. Submit a reconsideration request.

Manual penalties for aggressive spam are imposed if the site repeatedly violates recommendations for optimization and there are signs of explicit manipulation of algorithms. 

5.10. Cloaked images

Google severely penalizes sites for cloaking any content. This does not always apply to text; pictures can also be a means of cloaking. If the media content on the site and in search results differs, manual penalties may follow. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Set up the display of the same images for users and crawlers. 
  3. Submit a reconsideration request.

If image cloaking serves as a strategy for getting traffic, it’s better to avoid using it. Penalties can be applied at any moment and affect traffic. 

5.11. Cloaked text and/or redundant keywords

Sometimes, optimizers use black-hat techniques to get the attention of search crawlers. They use a large number of keywords on a page, expecting to gain higher positions in organic search. But instead of traffic, manual penalties apply. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Remove cloaked content and reduce the number of keywords. 
  3. Submit a reconsideration request.

Search engines almost always treat cloaked text as a violation of optimization rules. Nevertheless, being aware of this fact does not prevent webmasters from using unfair methods of competition. 

5.12. Inconsistency of an AMP page with a canonical one

AMP pages are a lighter copy of original pages, but they must contain similar content. Minor differences are allowed, which are related to the features of optimization for mobile devices. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Install another plugin for creating AMP, if the reason lies in it. 
  3. Make sure that crawlers and users see the same content using the URL Checker tool.
  4. Submit a reconsideration request.

It is sometimes difficult to detect Google penalties because crawlers assess site content according to their own rules. In this case, tools that allow requesting content based on user-agent might be helpful. 

5.13. Hidden redirects for mobile devices

Hidden redirects for mobile device users most often occur after sites are hacked. Hackers don’t change site content but set up redirects to a phishing resource. A site owner discovers the problem after a decrease in traffic and checking manual penalties. 

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Scan site content.
  3. Remove unsafe plug-ins and malicious code.
  4. Submit a reconsideration request.

Fighting mobile redirects is hampered by the fact that they may be triggered on some devices and are difficult to detect. Site owners must take care of security because cybercriminals add scripts using vulnerabilities. 

5.14. Violations of Google News and Guidelines policies

If a site violates policies on content posted in Google Search Central or those concerning Google News publishers, it can also be subject to manual penalties. There are many reasons for this, and you can read about them in Webmaster Guidelines

How to remove penalties:

  1. See what pages were penalized.
  2. Remove content that violates the rules.
  3. Submit a reconsideration request.

Fixing the problem that resulted in penalties may take a long time; so, you should not always expect a quick recovery. To avoid problems with the site’s ranking, it is important to monitor its progress and solve problems before search engine algorithms detect them. 

6. Checking for Manual Google Penalties on Your Site

Manual penalties are always associated with affecting a site’s position in search. Pages will not necessarily disappear from search results, but their ranking may decrease significantly. Users will not suffer, but the site owner will lose traffic. 

Google has added manual penalties to Search Console to create a mechanism for informing webmasters about problems. As soon as members of the search engine quality assessment team have evidence for imposing penalties, the site is temporarily blacklisted.  

6.1. Notification in Google Search Console

Novice optimizers often do not know how to check for penalties in Google and even use third-party tools for this task. In such cases, the only reliable source of information is Search Console. 

To check for manual penalties, go to the console for webmasters, open the Manual Penalties section, and read the information available. If there are no problems, a green checkmark will appear on the screen. 

If there are ongoing penalties, the section displays a list of problems with a brief description and the extent of penalties. If there are several manual penalties, the entire list will be displayed, and you can view each point separately. 

Experienced webmasters sometimes say that the Manual Penalties section doesn’t always display information about penalties. But this is an exception to the rules – if the site has violated optimization rules, information about this will be in the console. 

7. How to Remove Manual Penalties

The best strategy to fight manual penalties is to prevent their imposition. To do this, make sure that the site does not violate recommendations for webmasters and fix problems promptly. 

It is rarely possible to remove manual penalties quickly; so, do not expect instant recovery. Depending on the scale of the problem, reconsideration can take from several days to a month. 

7.1. Fixing the problem

The Manual Penalties report provides detailed information on how to remove the Google penalty, and there is a note that you need to fix the issue on all pages. If manual actions have affected the entire site, changing a single page will not work. 

Before submitting a request for reconsideration, make sure that the problem is completely resolved. If aggressive AdSense ads or redirect popups were the cause, they should be removed from all pages. 

7.2. Submitting a reconsideration request

If the problems that caused manual actions are fully fixed, you can submit a request to remove penalties. The request form should include a brief description of the process and, if possible, provide evidence of the effectiveness of the measure. 

In case some penalties were applied by mistake, it is possible to submit a request for reconsideration without making any changes. But there is no guarantee that penalties will be removed. 

8. List of Algorithmic Filters

You cannot analyze Google penalties without taking into account algorithmic filters, which are imposed on the site automatically. In this case, the assessors do not participate in the evaluation of the resource; the decision is made based on the combination of signals. 

The peculiarity of algorithmic filters is that they may partially overlap with manual penalties. For example, artificial backlinks can result in both penalties and filters.

Some algorithms in the list below do not significantly affect page position in SERP or de-indexing. But they may influence the efficiency of site promotion; so, you should not exclude them from the list of potential problems. 

8.1. Panda

This is one of the most famous algorithms. Previously, it was independent, but for a long time, it is part of the main ranking algorithm. Google Panda is responsible for the quality of content on sites.

How to protect yourself from the filter:

  • use keywords carefully;
  • eliminate duplicate pages;
  • do not post aggressive advertising;
  • monitor behavioral factors;
  • post unique content.

In most cases, a filter is applied due to excessive use of keywords, when site pages are generated to attract search traffic instead of solving audience problems. On average, penalties are removed after a few months, after the root causes have been remediated.

8.2 Penguin

Google Penguin works similarly to Panda but in a different direction. At the moment, it is also part of the main ranking algorithm. Penguin monitors the quality of the link profile

How to protect yourself from the filter:

Google actively fights artificial links; so, they are one of the most frequent reasons for penalties. Assessors also evaluate link quality and can contribute to manual penalties if any unnatural links are detected. 

8.3 Sandbox

There is an ongoing debate among optimizers about this algorithm. Some webmasters argue that Google applies this filter to prevent new sites from getting to the top until they can prove that they are reliable. 

The search engine does not officially confirm the existence of this algorithm. In some cases, it is difficult to promote new sites, but this is not always the case. However, the problem of rapid traffic generation is often relevant. 

How to speed up the promotion of a new site:

  • attract traffic from other sources;
  • monitor behavioral factors;
  • generate an active audience;
  • increase brand traffic;
  • get links from relevant resources.

If there is reason to believe that the site is affected by this filter, it will take some time to remove restrictions. But if the site is not in the top 10 for a long time, this is not always an indication of filters.  

8.4. Piracy/DMCA

Google’s anti-piracy DMCA algorithm has been operating for a long time, but many webmasters underestimate it. It concerns copyright infringement, which can lead to the temporary removal of pages from search results or complete deletion.

How to protect yourself from DMCA:

  • don’t publish content without permission from the copyright owner;
  • provide active links to content authors;
  • respond promptly to DMCA complaints.

Some optimizers use Google’s anti-piracy measures as a way to fight unfairly against competitors. It is necessary to monitor notifications in Search Console and email to dispute complaints if there is evidence. 

8.5. Pigeon

Google’s Pigeon algorithm works with local search and Google Maps. It is related to ranking business sites, and a few optimizers know about it.

At this point, there is no information that Pigeon has been updated since it was released in 2014. Therefore, business owners that acquire customers through SERP should concentrate on fighting competitors, On-Page SEO, and strengthening their site SERP position in the region of promotion. 

8.6. Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird focuses on improving search query identification.  It was created for algorithms to understand user intent and generate relevant results. 

How to adapt the site for Hummingbird:

  • create unique content;
  • use synonyms in your content and not focus on keywords;
  • improve page structure.

The algorithm for intent recognition is not associated with filters and manual restrictions, but the effectiveness of site promotion depends on the approach to content creation. 

8.7. E-A-T

Google actively encourages site owners to publish quality content and be responsible for it. One of the most global updates in recent years is associated with the acronym E-A-T.

Expertise, Authority, and Trust are the three main criteria for the quality of a specific page and an entire website. If a search engine detects signals indicating unreliable content, a site’s position can drop. 

How to protect against problems:

  • post quality content;
  • do fact-checking;
  • involve experts;
  • turn the project into a reputable brand.

A site’s compliance with E-A-T criteria is often checked by assessors; so, don’t expect it to pass the automatic check easily. It is better to focus on improving content quality. 

8.8. YMYL

The abbreviation stands for Your Money or Your Life. The algorithm assesses any pages or sites related to topics that can affect users’ health or financial well-being.

The check is based on E-A-T criteria. If a site is of insufficient quality, traffic may drop. YMYL has been constantly updated over the past few years; so, webmasters are looking for ways to check a site for Google penalties. But the problem is that there will be no prompts in Search Console. 

How to protect against the filter:

  • create content based on E-A-T criteria;
  • make your site a source of reliable information;
  • avoid posting unverified data;
  • moderate user comments and posts.

The recovery time after a filter is imposed is impossible to predict. In some cases, the position in organic SERPs is restored after six months. Site owners only have to improve the project and monitor the dynamics. 

8.9. Моbile-friendly

In 2015, Google announced the launch of the Mobile-friendly algorithm worldwide. Now, the search engine is focused on mobile search by default. The share of mobile devices is growing; so, the infrastructure is created with smartphone users in mind.

How to protect against issues:

  • optimize your site for mobile devices;
  • use adaptive templates;
  • check pages using the Mobile-Friendly test;
  • monitor notifications in Search Console and via e-mail.

Google increases the ranking of sites that are well optimized for smartphones in the mobile search results. Desktop search is not affected by mobile-friendly; so, the algorithm is not related to any filters. 

If there are hundreds or thousands of pages on a site, checking each URL will be time-consuming. That's why it's better to use a tool allowing for verification in bulk, such as https://www.experte.com/mobile-friendly.

All you need to do is enter the URLs of pages to be checked and wait for the report to be generated. If page content is properly displayed on mobile devices, a green "Mobile Friendly" sign will appear. 

8.10. Page Experience

This is one of the latest algorithms that focus on assessing site quality from the user experience perspective. Google makes sure that every click on an external resource from the search results helps solve a problem.

How to protect against issues:

  • install an SSL certificate;
  • make sure that pages pass Core Web Vitals validation;
  • improve site performance;
  • avoid annoying advertisements;
  • improve behavioral factors. 

Each Google algorithm is designed to improve user experience. Site owners need to focus on creating content or tools that help visitors save time on everyday tasks. 

9. How Do I Check if There Are Algorithmic Filters?

The main problem with algorithmic filters is the lack of tools that will indicate the source of the problem. In the case of manual actions, there are prompts in Search Console, but if automatic penalties are the cause, you will have to solve the problem yourself.

Webmasters often resort to community support to find the source of the problem by collective effort. This is a good tactic, although it does not always bring results. But additional analysis of the resource under promotion should be conducted as well. 

9.1. Look at the overall picture

Algorithmic filters are not always aimed at decreasing positions and search traffic. When the traffic graph drops dramatically, the problem is not always caused by penalties. 

For example, if a site is hacked, and users see a potential danger flag in their browsers, traffic will drop to a minimum. But the problem is not algorithmic filters but a security breach. If other options are already excluded, you need to search for a relevant algorithm.  

9.2. Check search engine rankings

Penalties almost always affect positions in search results. If the data in position checking services are regularly updated, you should launch an analysis after detecting a significant drop in traffic. 

Manual actions, which affect all pages, and algorithmic filters have the same effect — a complete or partial decrease in SERP positions for relevant queries. The affected site loses authority instantly. 

9.3. Check Google organic traffic

If the project was not in position analysis services at the time of imposing restrictions, there is no point in researching keywords. You can use the tools of SEO services that show the dynamics of positions in search engines.

It is not necessary to buy a subscription to a service to view statistics. For example, Semrush allows viewing position history for free, but some data will be hidden.

The graph below shows that the site has problems with organic search. It lost positions for 36% of queries, but Semrush shows that the traffic was slightly affected. 

10. How Do I Know What Algorithm Update Affected a Site?

It is not always easy to determine the reason for manual penalties, but Google at least informs a webmaster of the cause. In the case of algorithmic filters, there will be no notification in Search Console. 

It is quite difficult to determine the algorithm that affected your site’s position. This can be done based on a number of factors, but it is impossible to know the exact cause unless there is credible evidence.

Most penalties are caused by artificial links, over-optimization, and other algorithm manipulations. If you exclude site hacking and intentional use of black-hat methods, there are few options to consider. 

Steps that can help identify the reason for a filter:

  1. Check SEO sensors that notify of the problem in SERP, such as Semrush Sensor.
  2. Check news articles on SEO portals, forums, and social media. Traffic often drops after Core Update.
  3. If manual penalties were previously imposed on the site because of links, you need to check the link profile again.
  4. Check whether the drop in traffic is a result of improved competitors’ positions.
  5. Analyze changes on sites that have benefited from the drop in traffic. 
  6. Check content uniqueness. If it was copied by other projects, file a complaint through DMCA or by contacting a hosting provider. 
  7. Make sure content is displayed correctly on mobile devices.
  8. Make sure there is no seasonal decrease in demand for products or services.
  9. Check the indexing of site pages.
  10. Order an SEO audit if you can’t find the cause yourself. 

Business representatives that promote sites on their own are unlikely to be able to determine the cause of the drop in traffic. In such cases, it is better to ask for help from web studios or individual reputable SEO specialists.

11. How to Recover from Google Penalties?

Even novice optimizers know what Google penalties are, but it is important to distinguish manual actions from algorithmic filters. And also keep in mind that there is complete blocking, when the site completely disappears from SERPs, pessimization of one or more sections, and selective exclusion of some landing pages.

The recovery period after penalties depends on the type of restriction and the severity of the violation. For using most black-hat methods, the domain gets banned without the possibility of restoring Google’s trust. 

John Mueller from Google noted on his Twitter that manual penalties are removed after reconsideration, but algorithms need some time to process the new information. That is, the site is temporarily placed in a figurative «sandbox» and then comes out of it. 

11.1. Monitor site ranking

If the project has stable traffic and good positions in the niche, the situation may change. At some point, competitors may take leading positions due to internal or external optimization.

Site owners should constantly monitor rankings and solve problems instantly. And it is even better to protect the resource as much as possible to avoid any problems with rankings. 

11.2. Study the latest algorithm updates

Often, penalties are imposed after a major algorithm update. SEO services have long learned to detect problems in search engine rankings, and they can provide useful information for analysis. 

If positions decreased after the update, it is not necessary to update the site immediately. After some time, the situation may improve, and changes do not always positively affect the project’s ranking. 

11.3. Conduct SEO audit

It is useful to audit the promoted resource even if the situation with traffic is stable. The quality of external and internal optimization affects the effectiveness of the promotion. There will always be a few broken links or non-working redirects. 

In case of penalties, SEO audit is one of the most useful tools. You can do it yourself, but it is better to ask third-party specialists to check your site. 

11.4. Conduct content audit

The main value of information sites is content. If it is not of sufficient quality, the project may be subject to penalties even if it has an impeccable link profile. 

Content should solve user problems and motivate them to visit the site on a regular basis. The number of users and the activity of the core audience also affect the results of promotion in Google.

11.5. Take care of your link profile

It is possible to steadily generate traffic from the search engine without quality links, but its volume will be minimal. Almost all niches are highly competitive, and representatives of e-commerce spend thousands of dollars on links every month. 

It is important to not only buy backlinks but check the link profile regularly. Experienced SEO specialists recommend disavowing links in exceptional cases, but you can create a file with spammy backlinks in advance.

You can buy quality links with a guarantee of manual posting at PRPosting. Over 44,000 donor sites, convenient filters based on a large number of criteria, the possibility to order content from reliable authors are only a few advantages of this service. 

12. Summing up

In 2014, Google representatives reported that every month, about 400,000 sites are subject to manual penalties. This number is likely to be at least several times higher in 2021. 

The penalty can affect any site regardless of the time of operation and authority. Therefore, it is important to monitor the rating of the resource under promotion, update the project in accordance with the recommendations of new algorithms, and repel attacks by competitors.


What are Google penalties?

These are penalties applied to sites that violate guidelines for webmasters.

What types of penalties does Google apply?

Penalties are divided into manual and algorithmic filters. The former actions are imposed based on assessor checks, while the latter ones are automatic.

How much can penalties affect a site?

Depending on the severity of the violation, penalties can lead to permanent removal of a site from search results or affect only certain pages.

What does Google impose manual penalties for?

Manual penalties are imposed for spam, artificial links, hidden redirects, low-value content, and other violations.

How do I recover from Google penalties?

To recover positions and traffic, it is necessary to eliminate the root cause of penalties. In most cases, it is SEO links, excessive use of keywords, aggressive advertising, or the use of black-hat methods.

How do I check if there is a penalty in Google?

Manual penalties are displayed in Search Console, while algorithmic filters can be determined based on a number of factors.

When will my site recover from the filter?

The recovery time ranges from a few weeks to a few months. In some cases, you cannot remove penalties because the domain is permanently blocked.

Kyryk Oleksandr
SEO Consultant

Subscribe for updates