There are a few ways your website might feel the impact of a penalty from Google. Sometimes it might be caused by a new algorithm implemented by Google, which they put in place every few years. When Google introduces a new algorithm, there are often new rules to follow along with it. They aim to improve website quality and prevent poor websites and spam from ranking highly in search results. It might mean that you need to rush to make corrections to your website to fit the new rules.
Some people might say that algorithmic Google penalties are no longer a problem after Google’s Penguin 4.0 update, but others have evidence that they still exist. An algorithmic penalty might be:
- Link-based: occurring with Penguin 1.0 to 4.2+, these can happen due to bad inbound links or spammy anchor text
- Content-based: Panda 1.0 to 4.2+ can cause issues if your website has content deemed to be spam – it might be stolen, duplicated across your site or perhaps just isn’t relevant to your site and your visitors
The other type of penalty your website might receive is a manual penalty. Rather than being automatically applied to your site, these are handed out when Google spots you doing something they don’t like. This includes a range of behaviours they disapprove of, including unnatural incoming and outgoing links, content that’s spammy or lacks substance, keyword stuffing, and cloaking.
How do you know if you have received a penalty?
Not everyone is sure whether their website has received a Google penalty. You might have experienced a drop in traffic for your website, and it’s not immediately obvious what might have changed to cause it. If you think you have received a manual penalty, there are some quick steps you can take to check and see if your suspicions will be confirmed. It’s also possible to check if you might have an algorithmic penalty. Google describes in detail manual penalties and what is causing them on this page – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9044175?hl=en. We provide comprehensive actionable plan on each type of manual penalty that can appear on your digital assets.
How to check for algorithmic penalties?
If your site has an algorithmic penalty, there is no way to check for any kind of error message. You need to work out if you might have received a penalty by taking a close look at your traffic and SEO ranking. It’s usually not too difficult to see if your site might have been affected because changes can be pretty dramatic. If you were once on the first page of search results for your targeted keyword and you’re now several pages back after just a few days, it’s likely you have been hit by an algorithmic penalty. Here’s what you can look at to make sure:
- Check Google Analytics for organic search results to see if your SEO position has dropped significantly
- Look at the Impressions/Clicks section on the Google Search Console to see if you have experienced lower traffic
- Use Google to search for your domain (use the search term “site:yourdomain”) – if there are no results, your site has likely been banned
Types of Manual Actions
Links play a vital role in a website’s search engine ranking, which is why Google naturally pays a lot of attention to them. As such, they are one of the most common sources of manual penalties. When checking your Google Search Console, a message in the ‘manual actions’ page about this subject can be daunting. Worse still, if the unnatural links are directed to your site (rather than from it), the damaging content isn’t even on your pages. Don’t panic; lifting the ban is still possible.
There are many reasons why Google doesn’t like unnatural links but ultimately relates to the fact they wish to provide the best user experience. If they’ve spotted anything to suggest that you’ve tried to abuse the system to influence their algorithm, a penalty will be slapped on your site. Of course, this can seem quite harsh as those links might not directly be anything to do with you. Either way, repairing the damage is key.
Why you don’t want to take the DIY approach
In theory, it is possible to get the ban lifted by yourself. Moreover, removing those links to your site before having the website reviewed sounds like a relatively easy – albeit time-consuming – task. Unfortunately, though, making mistakes in this aspect could destroy other aspects of your SEO strategy. In turn, this will cause far more damage than good.
If you want to take the manual approach, you can download the list of links pointing to your site from the Google Search Console. Once this has been done, you must check each individual link to ensure that it doesn’t break Google’s guidelines. If the penalty is recent, it’s best to start with new links and work backwards. When you locate an unnatural link, you can contact the website owner to remove it from their site. Alternatively, the Disavow links tool enables you to do it from your end.
For those that have been part of a link building scheme, locating those issues won’t be too hard. For those that have suffered from organic links that are deemed to break the rules, it’s very difficult. Unless you happen to be an expert in the field, it’s likely that you will remove the wrong ones or leave the culprits untouched. Either way, your Google rank will suffer.
Possible solution to recover from penalty
When you hire our experts to complete the recovery strategy, the fundamental approach is fairly similar. However, the experience and knowledge of what Google deems to be natural or unnatural ensure you get a far better solution. This enables us to complete the link cleanup far quicker and with increased accuracy.
The appearance of links can be influenced by a host of features such as the posting website’s authority and quality of content. To complete the job, we’ll need a list of any links you bought through SEO building schemes as well as the list of keywords you want to rank on. Meanwhile, access to the Google Search Console must extend to all versions of the site. Links to outdated incarnations can still result in penalties.
With our support, the website will be analysed as though through the eyes of Google. Once completed, we’ll submit a Reconsideration Request to Google. This should result in the penalty being lifted within the space of a week.
User Generated Spam Penalty Recovery
When your website is hit with a manual penalty, it will be clearly shown in the Google Search Console. If you’ve checked the ‘manual actions’ report page to see a “User Generated Spam penalty” message, you may not be directly to blame. Instead, this indicates that the damage has been caused by content posted by your visitors. Unfortunately, it’s your website and business that will suffer the consequences, which is why a quick solution is vital.
It doesn’t matter whether your website has a guestbook, forum, or simply allows visitors to create a profile. Those pages can be the source of your problems. Google categorises those faults as ‘site-wide matches’ and ‘partial matches’ depending on how far they spread across the site. Whether a localised problem or something that impacts the entire domain, removing the penalty is the only way, you’ll get things back to their best.
The manual approach to getting rid of user generated spam penalties
While it certainly isn’t advised for inexperienced users, it is possible to get the user generated spam penalty removed on your own. This may save you needing a removal service, although it can be a time consuming effort that may not always bring the desired results.
Firstly, you must verify the webmaster guidelines of Google on user generated spam. Following this, you’ll need to analyse your website and the way in which users can interact with various pages and elements. This list can include blog comments, user profile details, and many other elements. Meanwhile, it’s important to monitor user generated content to see whether posts have included advertising or off-topic links to third-party websites.
It’s also worth looking for commercial usernames and profile details. If a user is presented as the name of a company rather than a personal user, this can cause problems. Likewise, automatically generated profiles and spam posts must be identified. It may be possible to locate spam posts by typing “website: [your domain + keyword]” into Google’s search engine.
Cleaning up the website isn’t just about removing those harmful posts, though. You’ll also need to put preventative measures in place to ensure that future issues can be eradicated.
The professional approach to penalty removals
Aside from being a time-consuming job, it’s also a difficult one to fully comprehend. After all, the fact that the damaging content has been posted by users rather than you raises a lot of questions.
Knowing whether a user profile or comment has been created with malicious intent isn’t always simple. On the one hand, you need to get rid of all bad content. On the other hand, though, you don’t want to start deleting profiles of genuine customers and users. Punishing those visitors will result in lost traffic and custom, which is the last thing any website owner needs. Our experts are here to take care of those matters to ensure balance is retained and your penalty is removed.
To complete the cleanup, we will need access to the Google Search Console as well as details for the site’s CMS. We’ll also need information regarding key changes to the website code. With these features, though, we can quickly identify and remove any malicious user content. We’ll also put those tools in place to help combat future problems.
Upon completion, the site will be sent to Google’s Reconsideration Request team. Decisions are usually made within one week. Assuming the news is positive, the penalty will be lifted, allowing your site to get back to its best with almost immediate effect.
Hacked Site Penalty Recovery
Website hacks are among the biggest fears of any site owner. However, compromised security and data protection aren’t the only sources of concern. Unfortunately, this situation is unlikely to go unnoticed by Google, and they will react by stamping a hacked site penalty on your site. When you see this message in the Google Search Console, repairing the damage isn’t only crucial for the site itself. It’s equally vital in your bid to restore good search engine visibility.
have added content that actively attacks your SEO strategy. There are several ways to fight back, but a quick response is vital.
Think about the website first
This is the one problem where repairing the SEO damage can wait for at least a little longer. First and foremost, you must restore the safety of your website. The simple jobs like changing passwords and checking that payment gateways haven’t been directed are essential. If this means taking the site offline while you fix the backend, so be it.
Removing the Google penalty
A hack can spell disaster for your website’s SEO because a lot of data can be compromised by those malicious actions. Checking Google’s guide for hacked websites will provide pointers as you look to regain control from the third party.
It’s important to check that indexed pages haven’t been compromised by damaging content. This will usually take the form of links to fake replica clothes and/or adult content. Removing those elements is vital, but it’s also important to do the clean up in the right manner. Otherwise, you could accidentally undo a lot of the good work that the website has previously done on the SEO front.
Allowing a professional to help
Hacks are obviously very serious situations to consider. This importance, combined with the stress that they bring, means that it’s usually best to acquire the help of a pro. Not least when you take the potential damage, you could cause by handling it yourself. If nothing else, it will give you a sense of emotional security too.
Once granted access to your Google Search Control, Analytics, and FTP, we can get to work. Once we’ve removed all fingerprints of the attack, we’ll send the site to Google’s Reconsideration Request team. Assuming they approve the case, your site can go back to gaining the traffic deserves.
Depending on the nature of the case, we may even utilise a backup of the site to remove those damages. One way or another, the protection and search engine visibility will be restored in no time.
Pure Spam Penalty Recovery
Nothing frustrates internet users quite like spam content. We can accept content that has clearly been influenced by monetisation, but pure spam is enough to leave us tearing our hair out. Unsurprisingly, Google doesn’t like it when you ruin the user experience. If you are deemed guilty of posting spam, a penalty will be placed on your site, stopping it from gaining a good SEO ranking.
Spam content takes many forms, including automated posts and cloaking. Once hit with a penalty, the only way you’ll remove it is by actively solving the issue. That’s where we can help.
Think about the user
There are occasions where spam content is consciously posted. However, it’s probably more likely that you’ve simply fallen into some very basic traps. For example, you may be using automated content from third parties as a way to ensure the site is regularly updated. While frequent posting is important, it’s important to remember that quality beats quantity.
On a similar note, it’s essential that you prioritise the user experience. Many website owners place too much focus on the SEO, forgetting to think about the user. The Google algorithm becomes more advanced with each passing year, however, and is fully committed to its users. If your website can’t match those sentiments, spam will take over.
Overcoming the problem
Upgrading the quality of your content isn’t always an easy task. Moreover, you may see content that feels very similar on competing sites that haven’t been punished. Unfortunately, the only way to beat the problem is to start viewing content through the eyes of Google. Out experts can do this with optimum efficiency, ensuring your newly updated site avoids the threat of a spammy appearance.
Once the process is complete, we’ll seek approval from Google’s Reconsiderations department. The appeal should take no longer than one week.
Spammy Structured Markup Penalty Recovery
When done right, the structured data markup of your website can work wonders for organic search engine presence and traffic. When used incorrectly, though, Google will pick this up as spam. Whether it’s a conscious effort or genuine accident, a penalty will harm your ranking until the issue is rectified.
You’ll be notified by a message in your Google Search Console under the ‘manual actions’ section. Moreover, this notification will let you know whether it’s a ‘site-wide’ or localised ‘partial’ problem. In either situation, a speedy solution is key. Otherwise, your natural traffic will continue to fade.
A complicated struggle
It’s not uncommon for guilty parties to feel victimised by Google, especially as their sites may adopt very similar structures to their competitors. While the webmaster guidelines provide suggestions, it’s something that is often handled on a case-to-case basis.
Violations can be linked to content as well as the way certain pages are presented. Essentially, if Google feels that you are marking up irrelevant or misleading content, penalties can be put in place. When we complete a cleanup, we don’t just ensure that the site satisfies those latest guidelines. We also run tests to check that the penalty has the best shot at having the ban lifted. Frankly, this is a
Once the site’s structured data markup has been corrected, we’ll send the site to Google’s Reconsiderations team. Assuming the request is accepted, the penalty will be lifted within one week. In turn, this will allow you to get back to healthy traffic with immediate impacts.
Hidden Text And/Or Keyword Stuffing Penalty Recovery
Even web users with minimal experience can appreciate the importance of keywords in the bid for a good Google ranking. Unfortunately, if you are deemed to use them in an unnaturally excessive manner, the website will be punished. As a website owner, you will be alerted about this situation in the ‘manual actions’ part of your site’s Google Search Control. So, if your website has witnessed a sudden drop in traffic, this is likely to be the main reason.
Keyword stuffing is arguably less serious than some of the other issues that you could encounter. Unfortunately, the impact of those penalties can be just as damaging on your search engine visibility. In addition to excessive keywords, Google frowns upon hidden text techniques too. Whichever violation you’ve committed, a quick response is vital. We’re here to help.
Fixing the keyword stuffing problem
Once notified about the problem, you’ll know whether it’s an issue on one part of the site or the whole thing. This is because the manual penalty update will indicate whether it’s a ‘partial’ or ‘site-wide’ match. This provides some clarity straight away, and the Google webmaster guidelines will provide even more insight.
The Google Fetch tool highlights where the problems lie, but you still need to identify the reasons you’ve been punished. Hidden text is a major problem. As such, comparing content that appears on the crawler to what the user sees is vital. Another issue can stem from hiding text by choosing the same colour as the page background.
Fixing the problems with keyword stuffing is a little more complex. Aside from checking repeated words within the body text paragraphs, you may need to look at the CMS keyword utilisation. The alt text and <title> tags have a crucial role to play. However, there’s a fine line between removing the problem and losing all emphasis on the keywords. Losing all SEO present is the last thing you need.
We’re here to help
Grasping the concept of removing this problem isn’t difficult. However, putting it into practice is something that requires a professional touch. With access to Google Search Console and Analytics, we can quickly get to repairing the damage you’ve caused while offering tips on how to avoid future episodes.
Upon completion, we’ll send your site off for a Reconsiderations Request. If granted, Google will remove the penalty within the week. Perfect.
Thin Content With Little Or No Added Value Penalty Recovery
Google’s mission statement is simply to help users find the best websites for their specific needs. In many ways, they do not care about your site or its goals. If it feels that the content provided on your site is lacking, there’s a strong chance that a manual penalty will eventually come your way. A notification in the Google Search Console’s ‘manual actions’ report will let you know when this happens. When it does, getting the penalty lifted should be top of your agenda. Until you do, traffic figures will continue to plummet.
Unfortunately, fixing the problem is a lot tougher than identifying it. That’s where our experts can help your business get back to its best. We’ll take care of the problem, advise you on how to avoid future problems, and even file the request for the penalty to be removed. Ours is the comprehensive thin content with little or no added value penalty recovery service that your website deserves.
What is it deemed to be thin content?
The short answer to that question is that it’s any content Google considers to be low quality. Poor spelling and grammar can be a contributing factor, but this is a far bigger issue. In truth, the substance of the content is what truly matters. Automatically generated content, bad blogging, and shallow pages are all examples that could cause damage to your site’s SEO. Essentially, if a visit to the page is seen as a waste of the user’s time, you will fall victim.
Low or thin content can vary massively in terms of range and severity. Therefore, the manual penalty will be broken down into ‘site-wide’ and ‘partial matches’. When the latter occurs, you may only need minor changes. For the former, however, more drastic action may be required.
What does the removal process look like?
In theory, it’s simply a case of ensuring that your website endeavours to give users the experience that they deserve. Copied content, even when not breaking copyright laws, should be the first item for removal. And this includes duplicate pages on your site, that may offer the same content targeted at different locations. On a similar note, doorway pages should be attended to ASAP. It’s also important to focus on pages with backlinks and similar features.
Why should you let a professional handle the task?
The idea of improving the quality of a website’s content is easy to comprehend, but very difficult to put into practice. For starters, it’s always better to have a fresh pair of eyes look at the content. Even if it isn’t a professional, outside support will make a difference.
It’s important to remember that Google doesn’t post specific guidelines. As such, it often takes a professional to realise exactly what’s wrong. Whether it’s removing content or updating it, our experts can analyse every page. Furthermore, we’ll provide the support needed to avoid potential repeats of the problems.
Apart from making the website more visible, our help will actively boost the quality. In turn, both traffic and conversions should be restored. With access to the Google Search Console and Analytics, we can have the job done in a far quicker time than you could ever hope to achieve. More importantly, the results will be phenomenal.
Cloaking And/Or Sneaky Redirects
As far as Google is concerned, cloaking is a very serious matter. It is seen to be a form of trickery that causes negative impacts to the user experience and is something that will be punished. When the ‘manual actions’ report of your Google Search Console shows a notification of this ilk, you must not ignore it. Sadly, while your site is hit by this issue, your search engine ranking will be damaged. Even if it was an honest mistake, getting the issue fixed ASAP is the only solution.
Both cloaking and sneaky redirects utilise the idea of presenting search engine bots with a different experience to the user. This is why they are unambiguously in violation of the Google terms. As with many violations, they can be ‘site-wide matches’ or ‘partial matches’. This depends whether the issue impacts your entire site or just a section of it. In either scenario, professional recovery jobs are the ideal solution.
How long does a recovery take?
The process of cleaning your site can be influenced by a number of factors. Our experts will need to analyse your Analytics, Google Search Console, and CMS. FTP and Dbase access will also be required as this is a serious issue that requires a thorough approach. Once completed, though, it only takes the Google Reconsideration Requests department around one week to confirm that the penalty has been lifted.
What does the process involve?
Using the Fetch tool within the Google Search Console highlights the areas that need addressing. Once this has been done, it’s necessary to check each item to ensure that users are receiving the same content as the bots. Any violations must be updated or deleted. Given the negative impacts that some actions will have on the overall SEO strategy, doing this without the expertise is not a solution.
It’s equally important to check that links are sending users to websites they don’t need to visit. This is why checking the code as well as the visible elements is key, thus making it a job for the experts. Our team are more than happy to help.
The Google Search Console is a wonderful resource for checking whether your website is currently breaking Google’s guidelines. If your ‘manual actions’ report says that the site is guilty of unnatural links, it can be quite frightening. However, this needn’t bring long-term problems for your business. With our support, getting the penalty lifted isn’t as difficult as you may first fear. In turn, this will enable you to reap the rewards of a strong search engine presence ASAP.
Google doesn’t like unnatural links for several reasons. Ultimately, there are many link building schemes out there that attempt to manipulate Google’s ranking algorithm. Naturally, the search engine looks very unfavourably on websites that are deemed to do this. This is because it aims to give its users the very best experience at all times. So, even if your site’s breach has been unintentional, finding a solution is vital.
Essentially, a link that Google deems to be spammy or part of a link building scheme is considered to be a bad one. Unfortunately, there are no black and white rules, and it often boils down to Google’s discretion.
There are some common issues that stand out more than others. If your website shares links with another site, it can result in a red flag. Even if the links aren’t reciprocated, this can be a problematic issue, especially if content could be deemed to be spammy. It’s possible that you regularly link to a site because you love its content rather than anything else. Sadly, if Google has any reason to doubt the authenticity of those organic outbound links, your site will be punished.
As such, spotting the potentially damaging material can be difficult for the inexperienced user, even when you know how to obtain those outbound links. This is why it’s probably best to leave it to the pros.
As far as getting a ban lifted is concerned, this is arguably one of the easier jobs for an experienced user. With our support, the cleaning up process can be completed quickly and efficiently. Moreover, we’ll complete the job to a standard that offers the best chance of having the Reconsideration Request accepted. This usually happens within a week.
To complete the process, we’ll need access to your CMS and Google Search Console. Furthermore, any key changes made to the website or coding will be highly useful. The job will include removing or changing those outbound links to leave your website looking natural once more. Updates may also be required for outdated or seemingly hidden content.
With the penalty lifted, your site will be back up the Google rankings in no time.