Seen a big drop in rankings or organic traffic and don’t know why? You might have been hit by a Google penalty.

Every webmaster’s worst nightmare – a penalty means that Google doesn’t like the way you’re running your website and is taking action to stop pointing searchers your way.

Being hit with a penalty can be crippling to online businesses, but there are ways to tackle them that can turn things around and get you back where you belong on Google’s search results pages.

Types of Google penalties

Google can penalise your site in two different ways – manual penalties and algorithmic penalties.

Manual penalties are the most devastating as they indicate that Google has taken direct, proactive steps to penalise your site. These penalties are applied to sites that go against Google’s search guidelines, whether by using black hat SEO techniques or otherwise trying to game the ranking system, and they can eradicate rankings.

Algorithmic penalties are a little less scary, being indirect and usually occurring after a major search algorithm update. Google is constantly developing the framework it uses to evaluate websites, and an algorithmic penalty is a hint from Google that you’re not on the same page as them and you need to make changes to better suit the way searchers use websites.

Both manual and algorithmic penalties can be because of bad practice in terms of links or content, with the most common reasons being high numbers of spammy links and lots of plagiarised text.

How we can reverse Google penalties

What action we take to reverse a Google penalty (and have your site reclaim its ranking positions) depends on what the penalty is. Manual penalties will be noted in Google Search Console so they’re very easy to identify but algorithmic penalties require a little bit more research to figure out what update they correspond with and what their root cause could be.

If your penalty is link-based – maybe you have thousands of left-over links from a black hat SEO campaign of the past – we’ll carry out an audit and find every bad link. We’ll then put together a comprehensive disavow file, which you can submit to Google to distance yourself from bad links to your site and remove any negative effects they might be having.

If it’s content-based – perhaps your site has lots of content duplication or obvious plagiarism – the approach to remove the penalty involves analysis and re-writes to make sure all of your content adds unique value.

Reverse penalties to get your traffic back

Contact us if you need help removing a manual or algorithmic penalty to get your keyword rankings back and renew your organic performance.

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