One of the worst scenarios that you can find if you are working on the SEO of a website is a manual Google penalty. Unlike a change of algorithm that makes us lose positions and SEO traffic, this type of sanctions will almost always entail the total de-indexing of our website in Google.
Faced with a situation as catastrophic as this, and more if SEO is one of the main channels of recruitment of our portal, we have little room for maneuver, because we must correct the Google guidelines that we are not complying and prove to Google itself that we have solved the problem. And this process is not particularly fast: it can go on for weeks.
Therefore, one of the keys to avoiding these situations is prevention. However, it is possible that one day you are facing this circumstance, so we are going to analyze how to detect and act upon a manual Google penalty.
“A manual Google penalty may compromise our SEO traffic capture.”
Check if Google penalizes our website
A manual penalty does not always give the disappearance of our website from Google results. There are several reasons why this may happen, such as:
- Improper use of the No-index directive in the format of HTML tags or headers.
- The impossibility of the Google indexing bot to access our website due to misconfiguration of the robots.txt file.
- Inadequate response codes.
In addition to reviewing these and other points to discard them, the use of Google’s Search Console tool will give us a lot of information to respect, with a specific section “Search traffic> Manual actions” which will indicate whether our website or part of it is affected by a manual penalty.
Other useful tools to check if SEO traffic is being affected are Google Analytics, the search operator “site: mydomain.com” in Google, or check if other search engines (such as Yandex or Bing) have our website indexed.
Why can we receive a manual Google penalty on our website?
Google makes quite clear in its quality guidelines for websites what kind of content are subject to a manual penalty, which can be summarized as:
- The website has been attacked.
- In portals where users generate content (forums, comments on blogs, social networks), SPAM has been uploaded.
- Fraudulent content
- Artificial links to/from your website.
- Keyword stuffing.
- Poor quality content
- Deceptive redirections
- The discrepancy between the content of the web and its AMP version.
You can check the complete list here.
Another point to keep in mind is that our website may not currently violate any quality guidelines, but it has done so in the past, and the penalty remains in place.
One of the most common cases is in the acquisition of a new domain: although we incorporate a new website under it, if there was a penalty previously, it probably remains standing until we prove to Google that we no longer breach its rules. Although it may seem an extraordinary case, in Viridian Geeks we have already dealt with this type of situation, as in the case of the web marctorrens.net.
How to get rid of a manual Google penalty
- Register the website in Search Console (if we had not done it before)
- Check in the section “Search traffic> Manual actions” to what type of penalty we face.
- Correct the problem of the website or affected pages.
- Check that Google can access the website correctly.
- Submit a reconsideration request through Search Console, including detailed information on the corrections applied.
Google’s official documentation defines a period of several days to 2 weeks, so you should wait a while until the penalty is eliminated.
If you have problems with a website penalized by Google or with any other aspect of SEO, do not hesitate to contact us.