Penalized by Google? Here’s the recovery guide

One of the most negative things that can happen to a website is to get penalized by Google. It results in tanking your site ranking on the search result page, an instant drop in site traffic, and complete de-indexation which prevents your site to appear even in the most relevant search results. Penalties affect your reputation as well as revenue potential. In this guide we would try to understand what s penalty, how does it work, what are the causes behind the Google penalty, and how to recover from the penalty. So, lets’ star the guide:

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Manual Penalties: A quick introduction

Google has hired a dedicated spam team that monitors different websites and flags the ones that breach the Webmaster guidelines. The internet giant may decide to penalize them for the offense. When your site gets penalized in this way it is called the manual penalty.

 You can easily check when your site gets a manual penalty. Just sign in to the Google search console and check inbox for messages. If you don’t see any messages or warnings it generally indicates that your site isn’t being penalized.

 The major reason behind manual penalty is spammy or suspicious backlink profile

You can find a message like this:

“Unnatural links to your site – impacts links”

 It tells that your site has some unnatural links but you aren’t responsible for those links- in other words, Google recognizes you as “innocent” in this case.

 As Google doesn’t blame you for this offense, it means that you won’t have to incur any active effort on your part for recovering from this penalty. The effect of this penalty is just that the mentioned links will stop passing any link benefits to your site.

 It may be an unintentional activity on part of third party sources who simply mention your site contextually in their content and make a backlink to it without consulting you. It is equally possible that it is an activity by your competitors who creates spammy links to your site to hurt your SEO position. However, their malicious efforts don’t fructify as Google won’t downgrade your site ranking in such instances.  

Another message that you would get is like

“Unnatural links to your site”

 This penalty identifies you as an active offender who knowingly created unnatural links with a deliberate objective to manipulate SERPs ranking. The impact of this penalty depends upon the extent of unnatural links which could either affect a few WebPages or the whole website.

 It generally happens when you purchase or exchange the links, use reciprocal links, or found to be engaged in various unfair link building practices that Google condemns.

This is third type of messages that you can find in notofation area: “Unnatural links from your site”

 This is quite self-explanatory. The sites that frequently link to other sites or often hyperlink a specific URL using precisely the same anchor text are awarded this penalty.

Any type of manipulative and biased linking can attract this penalty. Just like the above-mentioned penalty the effect of this penalty is also determined by the size of the offense.

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How to recover post manual penalty?

 There are a few methods that can help you recover from the penalty.

 Start by identifying the purchased links, PBN links, reciprocal links, and other links acquired, or purchased through unethical practices. The thing can be difficult if you are being engaged in this practice for a long time.

Thankfully certain tools can fetch you the complete list of links that point to your site.

Take your time, extract this list, and identify the links coming from PBNs or other spammy/ “for sale” platforms.

 Some of the tools that allow you to track the anchor text of inbound links are SEMrush, AHREFs and others. Also, identify and separate the anchor text that is an exact match.

 Once you have created separate links of all spammy and inferior links, contact the related webmaster requesting them to remove your link.

·          If you wish to have complete control over this process then go to Search Console and use Google’s disavow tool for disavowing all those spammy/unnatural links.

·          All the disavowed links are ignored by Google’s crawler and would stop impacting your site.  

·          Once you fix the issue go to Manual Actions in the GWT account and submit a request of reconsideration.

 Just keep in mind that you may need to go for repeated reconsideration requests before it is finally approved by Google. So, don’t stop the efforts if Google responds negatively for the first time. Keep on sending the requests until you get a positive response.

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Algorithm-based Penalties

 Apart from manual penalties Google also has algorithmic penalties that flags defaulters based on search algorithms of Google.

As opposed to manual penalties the algorithmic penalties are not communicated through search console message which makes it a tricky affair to identify or rectify them.

 It is generally indicated by a huge dip in your site traffic in a single day.

 One of the major reasons behind algorithm-based penalties is the latest updates in Google algorithm updates which may prompt Google to disapprove practices that were once considered ethical. It can instantly transform your site into a defaulter. In this regard, prevention is better than cure. Thankfully Google alerts about all such updates well in advance that offer you sufficient margin to optimize your site as per the upcoming algorithm changes.

 Along with periodical updates, some major algorithms have a higher impact on your site. Some such algorithms include

Panda, Panda Bear, Sleep, Rest, Relax


 Panda update focuses on recognizing websites with low-quality content that lacks value and authority. It categorically scans various sites to single out such flimsy or low-quality sites and penalizes them by lowering their ranks.

 What makes is so serious is that Panda affects the entire traffic and all rankings of your site by implementing a site wide penalty. The best thing is to confirm that your site’s content meets the quality standards of Google guidelines. You can read this knowledge resource by Google to set the quality parameters.

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 Penguin automates  the low quality like detection process by evaluation link acquisition retention pattern, its overall quality and diversifies of backlink portfolio like do follow, no follow, high-quality lo quality, etc..

 One thing that makes penguin less formidable than Panda is that it doesn’t have a site-wide impact but penalizes only the specific web pages. Nevertheless, it still makes you lose a large volume of your traffic.

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 As most people now use mobile devices for browsing the internet the Google not only encourages the sites that are mobile-friendly but is also discouraging the ones that aren’t. This algorithm for mobile-friendliness enhances the ranking of mobile responsive sites during mobile search (provided that they meet other ideal standards of SEO). There are some sophisticated tools to check your site’s mobile-friendly quotients. It is best to use the tool designed by Google itself that will show you the real-time actual view of your website on different mobile devices.

 Some of the factors to be considered are UI elements with appropriate size as per mobile device interface. Responsive design, faster page loading speed, etc.

 For algorithmic penalty you would have to identify the issues that may have probably triggered the penalties and repair them. Be patient. Google repeatedly runs the algorithms frequently to check if you have repaired the issues. It may take some time before Google can give a clean chit to your site and removes the penalty. So be patient and make sure that you have fully understood the issues behind algorithmic penalties. If needed you may take the help of professionals as well.

 However, it is not predictable when the next data refresh would be initiated and sometimes it take two calendar years to recover from a penalty.

 certain tools can automatically conduct the auditing of the entire site allowing you to precisely identify the issues and repairing same which relieves you from guesswork.

 The best thing is to start with the easiest recovery procedures like mobile-friendliness.


One of the major concerns of the blogger is a show to bounce back if their site has been penalized by Google. So in this blog, we presented detailed content on the causes of penalties and how to avoid it. We also mentioned some ways to recover from penalties. The readers are advised to start easy and gradually adopt advanced strategies to make their blog successful. The major objective is to strengthen the foundation and provide a great user experience.