So You’ve Been Hit with a Google Penalty — Now What?

By March 22, 2016Google, SEO, Utah SEO

Any search engine marketer from the East Coast to Utah knows the feeling of dread that sets in when traffic to your website suddenly takes an unexpected nosedive.

Lower traffic numbers aren’t necessarily a sign of a stiff penalty from the search engine giant, however if you’re experiencing significant drops in traffic on individual pages, for certain keywords or a number of your pages suddenly get de-indexed, it’s probably a good sign the SEO gods have come down to Utah to smite your website. In the world of search engine optimization, Zeus has got nothing on Google.

If you suspect you’ve been hit with a Google penalty, don’t panic. The first thing to do is to figure out if you have actually been hit with such a penalty, and if so, what kind. There are two types of SEO penalties — manual penalties and algorithmic penalties.

Manual Penalties

Manual penalties are pretty easy to figure out. Take a look at your Webmaster Tools — If Google’s Webspam team has assigned you a penalty, it will appear as a warning under Search Traffic/Manual Actions. Manual penalties are typically accompanied by lower search engine rankings or site de-indexation.

Manual penalties can be difficult to recover from, but the good news is Google rarely doles out manual penalties for your overage site for some small company in Utah; they’re really only reserved for truly sketchy websites.

Algorithmic Penalties

Algorithmic penalties are less straightforward to identify; however, they can actually be easier to fix. The penalty could be related to offsite factors (most likely due to Penguin) or onsite factors (Panda).

Determining exactly which update caused the penalty can be tough though, so dive into Google Analytics to figure out what went wrong. Fruition Google Penalty Checker offers a good visual representation of penalties across time, and how each update affected your website traffic.

Now What?

Nobody likes getting hit with a Google penalty, but it’s really not the end of the world unless you make it out to be. Review both your current and past SEO strategy, do some serious backlink analysis, get rid of useless or duplicate content and perform a full SEO audit.

With the proper time and dedication, anyone from the East Coast to Utah can recover from a Google search penalty.