What to Do When Penalized by Google

What to Do When Penalized by Google

Being hit with a google penalty is no joke- especially if you depend upon your website for all or part of your income. And even if your website happens to be nothing more than a hobby blog which you don’t plan to monetize, google-penalty issues hurt.

Google penalties ranged in severity from a rankings drop to total de-indexation (like what happened with the Build My Rank network a few months ago). If you suspect that your website has been penalized by Google, then there are three main things that you should do: first, verify that you have indeed been penalized; second, try to get back in Google’s good graces; and third, have a good post-penalization strategy.


What to Do When Penalized by Google

1. Verify That You Have Indeed Been Penalized by Google

A Google penalty shows itself as an actual drop in SERP (search engine page ranking). For example, if your keywords rank highly the first page of search engine results and then very suddenly get demoted to second or third page. On the other hand, a gradual drop just basically means that your competitors’ efforts are outranking you.

You should also check your backlinks to see that they are all up and running, especially if you know for a fact that you have not done engaged in black hat or unethical SEO/SMM practices. A significant portion of your backlinks could be broken or missing.

2. Try to Get Back in Google’s Good Graces

If you haven’t already, register your website with Google and check for any messages which may inform you of a quality issue with your website.

Download the latest version of the Google Webmaster’s Guidelines, specifically the Quality Guidelines portion so that you can check and resolve any website issues that could be causing the penalization. If you use an SEO company, check whether or not they have been doing anything black hat.

Once all the potential issues have been removed or resolved, submit a re-inclusion request with Google. Include a complete outline of your offences and the steps that you have taken to resolve it. Remember that it does not pay to omit or lie about anything—as the Google Spam Team probably knows all the details anyway.

3. Have a Good Post-penalization Strategy

Google does not always give a timeline or an explanation of when and how your website will be reviewed or reinstated. Truthfully, they tend to be very harsh when it comes to repeat offenders. Although there were websites that have been restored after a Google penalty, some webmasters may have no other recourse but to start all over again, with a new website under a new domain.

Whether you are going to be putting up a new website or nursing your current one back to SEO health, learn from your experiences.

Just a reminder, practices which will get you in trouble with Google include:

  • Creating doorway pages which simply exist to lead traffic to affiliate programs without providing value to visitors.
  • Spamming or cramming in keywords for the sake of inclusion.
  • Using automation software to query Google.
  • Loading pages with irrelevant words.
  • Linking to and from link farms and other websites which have a bad reputation with Google.
  • Using cloaking or deceptive redirects.
  • Putting in hidden links or hidden texts.

Interestingly, the latest Google Panda update apparently penalizes websites for over-optimization, especially those that are less than 6 to 8 months old.

10 Responses to “What to Do When Penalized by Google”

  1. Maria says:

    I think Google had penalized my blog. I have an idea why but I don’t know what to do. 🙁

  2. A Google penalty is very frustrating, especially for those who try to work by the rules. In most of those cases, I think competitors are striking, and Google did not give a penalty. Or, for example, your websites get less visitors during the summer. If this is its first summer, you might think the drop of visitors has to do with a Google penalty.

  3. AlexG says:

    Google clearly lays out their do’s and don’ts, but then tries to hide their algorithm from the general public.One has to try and get blacklisted from Google, but ranking for them is no easy task due to the high competition and how many sites utilize large budgets to outrank the competitors.

  4. Alf says:

    Many have complained about the Panda update, but minus a few examples, I have not seen anything impacted that much. Google cracks down on spammers pretty well. I still do not think their system works the best for rankings and the entire DA, PA nonsense, but they are improving.

  5. Brain says:

    Google must follow algorithm system which has some strong strategy to avoid spammers. SEO over optimization and wrong techniques makes website penalized. The most common things to remove this Google penalty effect is start natural SEO work and stop some over optimization techniques. Thanks for sharing best three ways to remove website from Google penalized.

  6. Aasma says:

    Focus on best SEO practices for your website, none of these updates are going to harm you.

  7. Tuan says:

    Just continue what you are doing and don’t care if Google penalized your site or not. This is your site, not Google’s.

    • I tend to agree with you, Tuan! Just remove unwanted content from your pages and go on with your website. Google updates come and go, you just take care of your website, having it honest, simple and easy to navigate is all you have to worry.

  8. Killara says:

    Google’s Penguin algorithm is not such a bad thing. It cleans up unnatural bad hat linking activities and together with Panda’s cleaning up of duplicated content, this really makes the internet useful and relevant to users.

    The key is to keep links natural. If you’re using automated software to create links, well, this is the time to dump it.

    Jamie in point 3 gives good practical advice. I endorse his strategies.

  9. Lakshmi Balu says:

    Escaping the Google updates is usually a challenge when there is no patience of reaping the results ethically. Black hat techniques sure make it easy for the website to rank well but eventually will be heading to a disaster. Doing wild unethical SEO activities will abandon a well built website from the Google’s SERP. Thanks for the blog that helps in rescuing the business sites from that web spam updates.

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