Google Penalty Removal: All You Need To Know

March 15, 2021 |
By Sotiris Sotiriadis

When you need to look something up online Google is one of the world’s most popular search engines. In a way, it’s sort of like its own club, and like every club, it has a set of rules to follow if you want to be a part of it. If you violate the rules you can definitely expect a penalty.

Google has Webmaster Guidelines in place for index able content. If your website has any actions that go against these guidelines then a penalty is put in place and that will greatly affect where you stand in the search results. Sometimes people have even seen their website fully removed from the search engine results pages.

If you’re running an online business then there’s a good chance that you rely on your page showing up in search engine results. Your business counts on those organic views and any risk to where you rank in search results could affect your sales.

Once you learn Search Engine Optimization you will realize that mistakes happen. Luckily you can undo any damage you may have done. If this has happened to your website then follow this Google penalty removal guide to get your page back in the search results.

What Are Google Penalties?

When you go against Google’s rules you get hit with one of their penalties. There are two types of Google penalties that you could receive: algorithmic penalties or manual actions. Let’s take a look at the two so you know where you may have gone wrong.

Algorithmic Penalties

Google has core algorithm updates that check for things that go against code. Every time that one is released it means that there has been something detected that Google doesn’t like. For some webmasters, this is a good thing, like if their blog content has been stolen. Other webmasters get bad news from these algorithm updates.

These algorithm updates check for things such as low-quality or duplicated content and link-schemes. There is a different name for each algorithm update released because each one is searching for something specific. If you are a keyword stuffer they will catch you!

A good thing about algorithmic penalties is that they keep webmasters on their toes and makes sure they only produce original content. Whether your website is for business or just a hobby, it should be good quality and original. These penalties are making sure everyone reviews their content and marketing plans to make sure they meet Google’s standards.

Manual Actions

Google also has real people on board reviewing websites. If one of their reviewers found that your website wasn’t in line with the guidelines then you may receive a manual action penalty. There are a few things in particular that can get you a manual action penalty:

  • Structured data issues
  • User-generated spam
  • Spam links
  • Low-quality content/ no value
  • Cloaking or sneaky redirects

There’s a lot more that can be added to this list too. Basically, if your website doesn’t follow Google’s guidelines then it is at risk of a penalty.

For manual action penalties, they are mainly seeking websites that are guilty of spamming and deceptive behavior. As a webmaster, you will want to avoid these penalties at all costs. They are much harder to get revoked because they are a more serious penalty. However, it is still possible to do.

How To Tell If You Have A Google Penalty

a businessman stands in front of a blackboard with an illustration of a large drop in metrics illustrated behind him

Since manual actions are done by a person, you will receive a message from Google alerting you of the penalty. Unfortunately, algorithmic penalties aren’t as obvious and you may not know about them until you actually see the damage it has caused. These are a few of the ways you can tell if you have a Google penalty.

Rankings Drop

As a webmaster, it’s highly likely that you often search your keywords in google to see where your site ranks. If you do this and see that your site is dropping in the search engine results page then there is a good chance you may have a penalty.

If you aren’t in the habit of checking your keywords to see where you rank in the search results you should as a way to monitor in case something goes wrong. This way you can take action quickly if you get a penalty.

Traffic Drops

If you notice that your traffic is starting to drop, look specifically at the amount of traffic that organically comes from Google. This can really hurt webpages that sell their products online as they notice sales decline. When your traffic is dropping due to a Google penalty you should take action right away.


When it comes to websites that are heavy on the spam and deceptive behavior, Google will flat out remove it from their search engine. You might notice that only part of your website was removed if this happens.

Google Penalty Removal Guide

If you have a Google penalty, then your SEO team will likely try one of these tricks to remove it.

Disavow Tool

Did you get a link penalty through Google? If you did the easiest way to lift the penalty is by removing any toxic links from your website. You can do this by creating a disavow tool file for all of the links that got you that penalty. Submit the file of backlinks to Google’s Disavow Link Tool to have them removed.

Fix Up Your Page

Google put their rules out for a reason. The best way to get rid of your penalty and prevent your page from getting another one in the future is to clean it up so it meets Google’s Webmaster Guidlines. Take some time to study their guidelines so you know what you can and can’t do to stay high on Google’s rankings.

High-Quality Content Only

Google is strict on its content. They strive to only show their users helpful content, they have no use for junk and spam. Review the quality of your website and take down anything that could be bringing it’s value down.

Reconsideration Request

Make sure you have done the other 3 steps before this one. For a reconsideration request, you will also need to show documents of what you did to improve your website to meet the guidelines along with a brief summary of why your penalty should be revoked. The reconsideration request is found in the Google Search Console.

With these 4 steps, you should likely have your Google penalty revoked but the best approach is to learn how to avoid a Google Penalty in the first place.