Friday, July 12, 2024

What to Do if Your Website Has been Hit by Google Penalties

Your website has been hit by a Google penalty and now no one can find you. Bad news, right? Fortunately, there are some actions you can take to reverse the damages done.  There are three steps you need to take:

  1. Identify the Penalty: What did you violate in Google’s ToS?
  2. Learn How to Fix It: Whether you know the solution, need to research some DIY articles, or call in an expert, each penalty has a unique fix.
  3. Implement the Fix: Implement the fix as soon as possible so your website will no longer be penalized during the next wave of updates.

 Let’s begin fixing the penalties.


Identify the Penalty

There are several different Google Penalties you need to know about because they each target different aspects of your website. While there are many errors, we will look at some of the better-known algorithms that can impact your site’s performance:

  • Panda: Penalizes websites for having poor, low-quality content—in both how it is written and in its length.
  • Penguin: If your website has this penalty, it is because there are multiple issues with backlinks, such as how quickly links are accumulated and that quality of the websites linking back to yours.
  • Pigeon: This Google algorithm focuses on local search to improve results by making them more accurate and useful.
  • Pirate: Meant to prevent websites from ranking due to piracy, this algorithm penalizes websites that violate copyright laws.
  • Mobile-Friendly (Mobilegeddon): Mobile-Friendly penalizes websites that do not have an optimized mobile website.

To identify what penalty hit your website, you could go through Google’s ToS and compare it to your site practices. But the easiest way is to use an online tool that can identify these errors for you. Some tools include:

  • Fruition Google Penalty Checker
  • Penguin SEO Tool
  • SEMRush Sensor
  • com

Once you’ve found out which penalty—or penalties—hit your site, you can begin fixing them and improving your search engine rankings with SEO services company.

Learn How to Fix It

Here’s how to fix each of the most-likely penalties Google hands out:


You’ll want to conduct an overview of your website’s content. The first item to check is the length: Your content should be no fewer than 300 words on each page. By checking content length first, you’ll more quickly determine what needs to be rewritten.

Next, go through your remaining content and check it for issues like punctuation, grammar, keyword stuffing, and more—anything that’s considered poor writing practice. Since this can be a big undertaking for one person (especially if a lot of your content has issues), you may want to consider hiring someone to help rewrite any content that needs repair.


Penguin issues may be a bit more difficult to fix, as you need to find out from where the links are coming. You’ll need to conduct an audit of all backlinks so you can work on getting poor-quality ones removed. You may have to reach out to webmasters of other websites to get this accomplished. But once these links are gone, the penalization will be gone. If you cannot contact the webmaster, you may be able to remove the backlink with Google’s disavow tool.


You only have to worry about this algorithm if you’re focused on securing local business. The best way to fix Pigeon issues is by using the same fixes for Panda and Penguin.


If you focus on writing unique content for your website, you do not have to worry about this algorithm. But if you haven’t always created your own content, you’ll need to conduct an audit of your website. Check any content that you published to see if it violates copyright laws. A plagiarism checker like Copyscape can be useful here.


Since the majority of users access the web on their mobile device, it is necessary that your website is optimized for mobile devices. You can use tools to check the mobile-friendliness of your website. If it’s not, you may need to look into re-designing your site to avoid this penalty. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to see what needs to be done.

Implement the Fix

Now that you’ve implemented your fix, it’s time to wait for the algorithm to update your website. Note that the penalties listed here are all algorithms, so they will update automatically once your site is rescanned. You can always request a review through the Search Console dashboard. Be warned that if you had multiple issues, Google may only notify you of the first one they came across. If necessary, you may need to hire a company that specializes in Google penalty repairs to clear your name.


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Chris Hickman
Chris Hickman
Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded, helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google.