Google Penalized

A penalty from Google is the last thing you would want to receive when your goal is to rank on its SERPs. However, it is easy to have Google penalize your site if your site violates certain Google guidelines. Has Google penalized your site? If you have received a manual action report from Google, what could be the reason and what should you do about it? In this article, we answer these questions as we take a look at Google penalties.


Google penalized

What is a Google Penalty?

What many do not realize is that there is a difference between a Google penalty and an Algorithm. Algorithms are high-profile updates that determine how sites are ranked on Google SERPS. The Penguin and Panda updates, for example, were aimed at demoting sites on Google’s search result pages that failed to meet Google’s quality standards.


Panda had its focus on the quality of site content while anchor text distribution and backlinks are the focus of the Penguin update. Thus, algorithms have a wide scope of impact. On the other hand, Google penalties are directed towards a particular site which may have made it past the Algorithm but still failed to meet with required quality standards.


Ways to Know if Google Penalized Your Site

If “Google penalty” is the umbrella term, then it can be divided into two main types – an algorithm penalty and a manual action penalty. Any sudden decrease in the ranking of your site can be a result of any of these two. To know if your site is experiencing an algorithm penalty, you would need to correlate the period you experienced a drop in traffic with the time there was an algorithm update by Google. Once you know the algorithm update related to the loss of your site traffic, you can identify which standard(s) your site was found lacking and rectify the issues.


It is easier to find out if you have a manual action penalty. To do so, go to Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools) and check for any new notifications with a warning message or manual action report.


If you have not received a manual penalty, there are certain clues that could show that your site is experiencing an algorithm penalty. Here are some of the pointers –

  • Even for your brand name, your site no longer ranks. This is a sure-fire clue as a site should at least rank well for its name keyword.

  • Your position on the SERP for keywords you used to rank high for has pushed back several pages. For example, your site has moved from a Page 1 ranking to Page 4.

  • ‘No results found’ when you run a site search (site:yourdomain.com keyword).

  • When you do find your site listing on Google, it does not direct to your homepage.

  • Your entire website is suddenly no longer on Google’s cached search results.

  • Your site’s PageRank has dropped to a 1 or 0.