September 12, 2023

What is a Google Penalty? 5 Things You Should Know

Since search engines are continuously evolving, they can sometimes throw you a curveball. When your business relies on search engines for traffic and income, it can be quite frustrating and difficult to know what the current best practices are. So, if you suspect you’ve been given a Google penalty – what do you do? In this article, we explain what Google penalties are and how to fix them.

So, what is a Google penalty? A Google penalty is essentially a punishment that Google gives to websites that do things it doesn’t like, such as using Black hat SEO tactics to improve their rankings. These penalties can make a website’s ranking in Google SERPs (search engine result pages) drop significantly.

Continue reading to learn more about what a Google penalty is and how you can recover from it.

What Actually is a Google Penalty?

In essence, a Google penalty is a punishment for a website that violates the marketing practices that Google recommends. A Google algorithm update or a manual review may result in this penalty if a website is found to be using unethical SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing or hiding content.  

Check out our blog for more information on unethical SEO tactics, also called ‘Black Hat SEO’.

What is the Purpose of a Google Penalty?

While Google penalties can be annoying if you get one unfairly, they are part of Google’s mission to fight spam or websites that try to manipulate its algorithms. As a result, those who put in the effort and practise the right SEO methods such as publishing high-quality content and optimising your site’s loading speed, will have a better chance of ranking. 

5 Things You Should Know About Google Penalties

If you receive a Google penalty, here are 5 things you need to know.

1. Once You Receive a Google Penalty, Your Site is No Longer Listed on SERPS

A Google penalty means your website is either not showing up in Google SERPs (search engine results pages) anymore or it’s way down the list. When this happens, your target audience cannot find you. This ultimately results in a decrease in organic traffic to your site. Fewer visitors mean fewer conversions.

Keep in mind that this can happen to any website. However, once Google penalises your site, you’ll need to invest significant effort into regaining a favourable position and establishing trust with Google. You can do this by maintaining high-quality content on your website.

SERP for "SEO Agency" with a red cross overlaid

2. There are Several Types of Google Penalties

There are different types of Google penalties for different reasons. Here are the 6 types of penalties and what they mean.

3. A Google Penalty is not the Same as an Algorithm Impact

Not sure if Google update or penalty meme

A Google algorithm update is usually responsible for a sudden decrease in your website’s search ranking. This suggests that your site isn’t meeting Google’s latest quality standards. 

On the other hand, a Google penalty happens when your website breaks Google’s rules for website owners, called Webmaster Guidelines. So, if there hasn’t been any news of an algorithm update, your website may have been penalised.

4. Google Penalties Last Until You Fix Them 

You are responsible for fixing your Google penalty. They don’t just disappear or change overnight. When a certain amount of time passes without a penalty being fixed, the alert will vanish from your search console, but the penalties’ effects will still be felt. 

5. Google Penalty Recovery is Fixable

Good news, if you have a Google penalty, it is fixable! Here are 6 simple ways to fix your google penalty.

How to recover from a Google penalty

Avoid Google Penalties with Wildcat Digital

At Wildcat Digital, we pride ourselves on ethical and high-quality SEO services  – so you don’t have to worry about Google penalties. Get in touch with us today by filling out our contact form, for a free initial consultation.

Or, if you’d like to learn more about SEO and how Google works, check out our You Ask, We Answer content hub. Our SEO experts have been working hard to answer a wide range of real questions to help you understand what we do. 

Post by

Emily Fletcher

SEO Executive

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