A Guide for Small Business Websites to Recover From Any Google Penalty

For the online business, search engines are the most important factor. The business requires lots of things to bring traffic to achieve the rank in google. 

However, it’s not that simple and due to that lots of marketers are bending towards link building.

When it gets too far and crosses its limit, the website receives a penalty from Google for violating the guidelines.

According to Matt Cutts, more than 400, 000 manual actions are taken by Google every month. However, this is not the only reason why the website gets the penalty. Well, to understand these reasons and how your website can recover from it. Here is everything that might help you.

What To Know About Google Penalty?

Google removes the site from their index, it can be partially or entirely. This situation is called the google penalty.

Your website gets penalized by webspam filtering algorithms of Google. It includes the Penguin or webspam team as they do it manually.

When your website is hit by the Google penalty, you can notice the sudden drop in ranking or maybe some of the pages if google finds it manipulating.

It also happens when you use spammy keywords.

Your site faces a failing in ranking, it affects the online visibility as well as the credibility and conversions.

However, to know which penalty you are getting, here is how you can find it.

Algorithm Penalty

To know if it’s algorithm penalty and the type that your website gets penalized.

You are required to correlate the time when your traffic dropped, and compare it to the date of the new update of the algorithm.

You can go to the Google algorithm to change history to know further.

The most famous updates you will find are Panda. This one focused on content on your website. Whereas the second most famous is Penguin, this one is focused on backlinks and distribution of anchor text.

Manual Action

To know if your site is affected by Manual action, you require to visit the Google Webmaster Tools.

Check if you received any new notifications. For example, It can be something for unnatural links.

Image source: beginnerbook.com

However, if you don’t have any warning message on GWT, go deeper to understand the cause of your drop-in traffic.

Another reason why you received the penalty for your website is backlinks.

It’s bad for you as low-quality backlinks cause potential threats to your site’s ranking.

More than 95% of penalties that websites receive are because of the backlink profile. If Google finds too many backlinks of low quality, you can end up losing the rank.

Image source: monitorbacklinks

types of bad backlinks

However there are types of such links that you might have, these are some of the types that can be real damage for your site –

Banned Or Penalized  Websites

If you have the backlinks from such websites which are either banned or penalized by the website or violating the guideline.

You might get penalized based on that.

It’s important to remove it,  to check  if the website is deindexed, you can search  “site:mywebsite.com”

Duplicate Content

The sites which have the content in low quality or duplicate content, if you are using the backlinks from such sites, it can degrade the quality of your website too. That’s why you should avoid it.

Spammy Comments & Profiles

You are not the only one who hates spammy and spammers. Even Google can’t tolerate these things.

So when google finds the comments or forum posts that are used just for placing links, your site gets penalized for violating the guidelines.

Thin Content

These are the backlinks that are from directories as well as for social bookmarking websites which have low quality. This raises the threat of receiving a penalty from Google.

Image source: virticalleap


Google doesn’t support the sponsored links that pass the Pagerank. Especially if you want to promote the services on your blog. Here use the Nofollow attribute for links to keep the ranking protected.

Major Types Of Penalties That You Should Avoid

There are some majors types that you should be avoiding, it not just makes your website rank drop but also affect the website.

Here are what you should know about these penalties first:

Google launched the penguin in 2012, the purpose was to fight against the spammy links that made the SERP’s google higher.

Something that can help in convincing the advertisers that using advertising via AdWords is still helpful in higher ROI. It includes the search engine results as well as clicks.

Well today, the penguin is running in real-time.  Penguin targets the practices which trigger the penalty, well it includes

  • When you use Keyword stuffing, it means adding the keywords in repetition to cheat the rank. It manifests the relevance for the specific keywords without being relent or giving value.
  • Buying links is another practice that penguins notice. If you are purchasing the links from the non-relevant website and low quality, that is used for creating the artificial depiction of reputation and relevance.  You get the penalty from that too.
  • That’s why never opt for link purchasing. Make sure you are not adding links that don’t make sense and are relevant. 

Google Panda Penalty: Copied Content

Google aims to provide the best content to its users. That’s why Google continuously targets the sites where they find duplicates or copied from somewhere else.

You should have a fresh POV and unique content to rank on the google search engine. Focus on offering fresh, new and content that no one can offer to the users.

 Distorting Content With Cloaking Penalty

Some of the web owners use this black hat SEO tactic for deceiving the search engine.

Well if you get detected, this is enough for Google to remove your site from its index.

Cloaking is distorting the content that is accessed by the search engine. It develops layered content by using misleading links. This makes the search engine believe that your content is different.

This is not just misleading for search engines but also breaks the main guidance, as google thrives on offering fresh content to users that offers value.

Google Panda Penalty: Low-Quality Content

If you are looking to rank your website higher in SERP, then you should have content that holds the quality.

The focus should be on providing value to your reader and that also includes quality backlinks.

If you have low-quality content, your website can get affected by Google Panda Penalty.

To make sure you don’t have the penalty, you need to focus on improving the low-quality ones.

Here is how you can help in avoiding the panda penalty :

  • Avoid copying, it should be a no-no. If you copy,  Panda will detect it and you will receive the penalty on that.
  • Google favors long-form content. It also engages more content. So keep it detailed and make it actionable.
  • Focus on what your audience wants, offer the values to the readers.
  • Avoid overstuffing the keywords. You wouldn’t fool google. That’s why keep what’s relevant.

Slow Loading Website Penalty

Google algorithms look for slow-loading websites. The users no longer have the patience to deal with websites that take forever to load.

Google also ranks the website low if your website has less loading speed.

This is also a type of penalty that you can get. So it’s bad for both sides. This should be one you need to avoid if you don’t want to reduce the rank of your website.

Google always keeps its eyes on the web content, as it should be up to date.  And why it’s able to discover when there are hidden errors in it.

One of the errors is 404 or a broken link.

When you have a broken link,  google considers this as a lack of caring for the user experience. 

That’s why you should scan the website to find any broken links. And it’s important to fix them.

Not Being Mobile Friendly Penalty

Google officially announced that they are going to use mobile-first indexing. Well, it means that the website will now be indexed based on its mobile version.

When you have a mobile-friendly website, your site is:

  • It doesn’t use software that is not common for phones, such as flash players.
  • Using text that can be easy for reading. It shouldn’t require zooming.
  • Links and buttons should be at an appropriate distance for easy to click.
  • Elements and content are auto-adjusting as well as suitable for different sizes of screens.

That’s why it’s important that your site is not being penalized for not being mobile-friendly.

How To Diagnose If You Are Receiving The Google Penalties?

Well to know if someone is sick, the doctor has to diagnose and to look for the symptoms.

Same as what Google does when they analyze the websites. And this is what you can do as well.

You can also diagnose these symptoms so you can check beforehand.

factors trigger penalty from google

Here are few things you can check on your page first :

  • You can see the slight drop in the search ranking, it can be a certain keyword that can be considered as a  minor symptom.
  • You can also notice a big drop in the search ranking related to certain keywords, this can be a serious symptom.
  • The page or site is completely de-indexed from the search engine.
  • Well to know what can cause the penalty on your site, here are few points to consider first :
  • Most of the content has pop-out ads.
  • Your content is short-form, low in quality, and contains grammatical errors.
  • You don’t have the content for localized sites to cater the global visitors.
  • You are republishing content from someone else’s website without taking their permission.
  • Your content includes the backlinks from the pages that are low quality, adult, and gambling.
  • You have bad link-building practices for increasing the authority of the page.
  • You don’t have HTTPS or a legitimate security certificate.
  • Your website is slow in loading and it’s not mobile responsive.
  • You have keywords that are overstuffed or make no sense to your niche.

How To Recover From Google Penalties?

Over the past years, Google worked to clean up the search results through updates and penalties.

However, the customers received a positive impact but for the online business it turns out brutal.

Google holds the legal monopoly according to the FTC over the search engine.  And to protect the search results, Google kept its algorithm under lock and key.

There is a rare announcement when it comes to algorithm updates. The online websites have limited details on how the next update will impact their business.

However, to understand how you can recover from a penalty, some steps can be helpful.  Well, it includes :

Step 1:  Dig Deeper Into The Data

Well, the first thing you need to understand is why google penalized your site and what for.

However, with lots of time, it’s easier to find the reason, especially if you are using black hat SEO practices such as stuffing keywords, buying links, etc. Receiving a penalty is not something that surprises you.

reasons your site received google penalty

However, if that’s not the case, then you should know what causes your site to receive the penalty from Google.

When you are familiar with the inner working of your website, you can understand that better.

If you are not able to do it, you can hire professionals so you can avoid it. 

Step 2:  Addressing The Problems

Depending on what causes your site to lead to Penalty from google, this step can be lengthy.

That’s why it’s important that you have the patience to go through the whole process. Based on the reason behind the penalty, you need to change things to get approval from google.

It can be things like :

  • Rewriting the content that is duplicated or copied from some other sites.
  • Fixing the broken links on your website.
  • Ask the linking to remove the links from your sites.
  • Reduce the ads you have, especially if it’s above the fold.
  • If your site has a slow loading time, you need to work on improving that.
  • Retargeting the pages which are keyword optimized.
  • Removing the content that is hidden on site.
  • Rewriting the fresh meta description
  • Fixing your 404 errors, or any kind of internal errors you have.

These are not something you can do within a day. It will take time, and the changes will depend on numerous factors too. Overall it’s a test of your patience.

But here you need to address the problem and find the solution to make sure you are not giving any more reasons to Google for penalizing your site.

Step 3:  Submit The Request

Once you know the problem and received the punishment, you now need to send a request to google for removing the penalty.

When you are writing the required, make sure you are following points like :

  • Be polite with your words. It’s not Google’s fault or anything personal against your website. That’s why to use kind words and ask for reconsideration.
  • Make sure you have the documentation of all steps you have taken. It’s not important to send it or maybe you don’t need it either. But keep it handy so you can send it when they ask.
  • Know the checks and balances so you instituted to keep your website easy to inflow and avoid future hassles.
  • If you can’t get in touch with Google. Then you can wait for a month, see if google started to re-index your pages or not.
  • If you notice the analytics, it means google removed the penalty. If it’s not the case, you are required to try again. Or do changes again on your site.

How To Protect Your Website From Google Penalties In Future?

To make sure you don’t have to deal with this in the first place, try to ignore getting the penalties.

Most of the time the website gets the penalty because of their own negligence.  Any practices that are for manipulating the algorithm of google should be avoided.

To make sure your site is protected from any future penalties, here are some of the ways you can consider :

Well, google looks for certain types in link building, buying, or exchanges to understand if it’s spam or not.

Image source: linkreserchtools

The type includes :

  • Buying and selling the links
  • A massive number  of guest posting campaigns
  • Article submissions
  • Link exchanges
  • Forum or comment posting

When you use the link-building campaign generators, they generate unnatural-looking links which are easier to get in the notice of google bots. If Google finds evidence of your site being indulged in black hat link practices,  they will penalize you again.

Also, your links should revolve around the niche your website is based on. If you are reported to be buying links that have nothing to do with your product, it’s seen as a clear attempt to manipulate the search engine.

Fight Against The Negative SEO

If you are doing negative SEO  on your site, not just it can impact you badly but also you can get penalized again.

The most common one is linking a lot of spammy sites to your site.

In this case, if Google finds your website, it will show that your site has a low quality which affects the ranking and risk of getting the penalty.

If you see any sites which have their links and they look spammy to you, remove those links.

Keep Content Useful, Unique, And Rich

Google works strictly against the website which has content below the standard.  Certain types of content are considered as thin or poor content, it includes :

  • Doorway pages
  • Automatically generated content
  • Thin affiliate pages
  • Content from different sources

That’s why it’s important that your site has fresh and useful content. The better and new content you are offering, the better chances of ranking you get.

Avoid Targeting Specific Anchor Text

Anchor text is either words or phrases which are used to link to a site. Since it’s a crucial metric that helps Google to understand about a link, Black hat SEO started to use this for manipulating by targeting the specific keywords.

To handle this,  Google detects as well as penalizes the instances of anchors which look fishy to them.

Be Cautious With Guest Post

Guest posting is still considered a great strategy for link building. This can help strengthen the SEO and get more traffic to your site.

But it’s important that you are doing it cautiously. Choose the guest post which is relevant to your niche, target the same audience and use meaningful as well as natural anchor text.

Avoid too many backlinks as it can be seen by Google, and trigger the chances of penalty.

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs)

Which Backlink Can Be The Reason For Receiving A Penalty From Google?

There are a lot of common triggers which are inbound or unnatural outbound links. Unnatural is a harmful, spammy, toxic link. Well, both types of links can get your site penalized by Google.

How To Know That Your Site Gets A Google Penalty?

The best way is to log in to google analytics and check the reviews of your organic traffic. See if there is any sudden drop in traffic during the dates when google announced the algorithm changes. If there is, then you probably have a penalty against your site.

How To Recover From The Google Penalty?

To recover your site from google penalty, you first require to remove all the bad links from your site. Also, get rid of duplicate content. Check if you have high-quality content that offers value to the readers.

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