Google Penalty Removal Services

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Getting penalized by Google is no picnic. You may think you’re doing good SEO, but your rankings and traffic can go south overnight for no apparent reason and your entire business can be put in jeopardy.

SearchWorks understands this and we’re here to help. We offer highly reliable penalty removal and recovery services for websites sandboxed by search engines. From situational assessment, penalty revocation strategy, and recovery advice, we’ll take your website by the hand and guide it back to good standing.

Contact us today for a free analysis and quote!

What are Google Penalties?

Just like any platform on the web, Google has a set of terms and guidelines that users and webmasters are expected to follow. These guidelines were put in place to preserve the quality of user experience on the platform by featuring the most relevant search results to queries. The terms of use also serve as a warning to webmasters not to use tactics that seek to manipulate the search engine’s algorithms to try and trick the system into ranking inferior pages higher than they deserve on the SERPs.

While many violations of Google’s Terms of Use fly under the radar, there have also been many cases where Google has taken punitive action against the rule-breakers. When that happens, a website’s rankings for its target keywords will tend to drop sharply with its organic traffic following suit. When the traffic declines can only be observed in organic search and there are no technical issues that might be causing it, most SEO experts will rule the situation as a Google penalty.

Common Penalty Trigger

There’s a host of reasons why Google might degrade a website’s ability to rank on its search results. The following are the most common:

  1. Unnatural Links. Of all the common causes of penalties, this is the most common that we encounter. Highly concentrated anchor text, links from spammy websites, paid link placements and other link schemes can trigger both algorithmic penalties and manual actions.
  2. Spammy Content. Low-quality, non-unique, and spun content can also trigger sanctions from search engines. Most websites that have these types of content assets are usually used for shady affiliate campaigns, private blog networks, and link schemes that Google discourages.
  3. Cloaking. Cloaking can mean many things on the internet but as far as SEO is concerned, it’s the deliberate variation of content on pages depending on the type of visitor they receive. For instance, a webpage can show one version of itself to a human user and another when the user agent Googlebot crawls it. This is usually done to mask over-optimization on webpages as well as to hide the next item on this list.
  1. Malware. Whether a website was hacked or is deliberately propagating malware on the internet, Google will flag it once it’s detected and will call the webmaster’s attention to the situation for quick remediation.
  2. Manipulative On-Page SEO Practices. Keyword stuffing, aggressive advertising, misleading content, and other questionable practices within a page can also trigger sanctions from Google against a website.
  3. Fake News. In recent years, fake news became one of the most destructive phenomena on the Internet. Google has implemented policies that crack down on websites that spread fake news as a response, though its ability to flag cases like these is still limited.

There are many other penalty triggers, though these are the most common. For more information on what activities might pose potential risks to a website’s search visibility, read up on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Penalties vs Filters vs Core Updates

To the inexperienced, any sustained decline of search engine traffic would look like a penalty. However, this isn’t always the case as filters and core algorithm updates can also inflict significant traffic declines on a website. Here’s a description of each and how to tell them apart once you encounter them:

  • Penalties

    As discussed, these are traffic drops resulting from punitive actions due to violations of Google’s terms of service. The operative term here is violations as the website is found to be doing something that Google doesn’t approve of. Penalties can be classified into two main groups

    • Manual Actions. These are penalties levied on webmasters after a review by the Google Web Spam team has proven without a doubt that the website’s activities violate Google’s rules. A human administrator on Google decides and executes the scope and severity of the penalty and the webmaster is notified about the situation via Google Search Console.
    • Algorithmic Penalties. When the violations of Google’s rules are detected by Google’s systems and punishment is levied arbitrarily, it’s referred to as an algorithmic penalty.
      Examples include the Penguin and Panda penalties which sought to bust unnatural linking activity and content farms, respectively. This type of penalty doesn’t come with a notification on Google Search Console and may only be lifted after a refresh rolls out — even if a webmaster takes quick corrective actions.
  • Filters. There are cases when Google will push down the rankings of some webpages in a website or altogether exclude them from the index even when there are no violations to its terms and guidelines. Google itself does not refer to these cases as penalties since there is no malicious activity to warrant a sanction. Instead, it refers to these as “filters” that help maintain the quality of search results

    An example of a filter that’s usually mistaken for a penalty is the way that Google handles duplicate content occurring across two or more pages on a website. If the content is identical, Google tends to include just one of the pages in its index. It doesn’t seem to be that consistent as Google sometimes allows two or more of the same pages to get on its index, albeit with only one page being ranked prominently.

  • Core Algorithm Updates. Google periodically rolls out updates to its core algorithms which can alter the way it “perceives” webpage relevance with respect to search results. Websites may gain or lose significant amounts of search traffic without doing anything because the changes in their search visibility are a result of changes in Google’s preferences and not necessarily in optimizations they’re applying.

    When a website’s organic traffic suffers after a core algorithm update rolls out, Google doesn’t necessarily advise doing anything new because the website likely isn’t doing anything wrong. It’s not being punished like a penalized website would be, but Google may just be favoring other competing websites.

The Penalty Removal Process

Not all penalties are equal. Some are more severe than others. From experience, the vast majority of penalty cases we’ve seen are reversible. What’s more, putting in a serious effort to rehabilitate the website can help it recover most, if not all, of the traffic it lost.

When trying to get a penalty revoked, we follow the simple process below:

  1. Penalty verification.
  2. Damage scope assessment.
  3. Diagnosis of possible causes.
  4. Application of corrective measures.
  5. Waiting period for penalty revocation.
  6. Recommendation of traffic recovery strategies.

The specific tactics that SearchWorks will apply will vary from case to case depending on the cause of the penalty and the severity of it.