What are the effects of a Google penalty on a website?
The first thing that happens once you get hit by a Google penalty is that you lose most of your organic traffic.
The second most important thing that you should consider is the loss of Google trust. Once you lose that, you will have to work hard to earn it back.
Once you get penalized, you will get a traffic graph that looks miserable, like the one below
What are the types of Google Penalties?
There are 2 types of penalties:
1 – Manual Penalty: This one is usually easily identified and restored since you can see it reported along with the reason. What happens is that a human went to your website and checked it in person. Then he decides that you were violating Google’s policies. He would then impose a penalty. This can happen because of a number of reasons and it can be partial or total (only some parts of the website or the entire website)/
As I mentioned, once there is a manual penalty (i.e. manual action on the search console), you will see an indication on your search console along with the reasons and resources to rectify the issue.
Once you make the necessary changes, you can submit a reconsideration request and if you managed to resolved the issues, you will get your penalty removed.
2 – Algorithmic Penalty: This is the most common type and it is harder to identify the reason. Unfortunately, algorithmic penalties are not reported on the search console tools. The worst part is that you can not submit a consideration request. You’ll have to go through the below process, in order to get it removed.
Algorithmic penalties are a result of the continuous changes Google is making to their ranking algorithms. I am sure you’re by now familiar with the naming of those algorithms (Panda, Hummingbird, Penguin).
What gets your site penalized?
I will not go through those points here, but there is a great article written by Claire Broadley on Kissmetrics about the reasons a website gets penalized. You can check it there!
For how long does a Google penalty persist?
It depends on the type of penalty; manual penalties will not get removed unless you remove the cause and submit a reconsideration request and once reviewed you will get it lifted.
On the other hand, an algorithmic penalty will persist as long as you have the root cause of your violation on your website. In that case, you will have to figure out the issue, fix it and maybe submit a request to recrawl your website.
How Can you Identify A Penalty?
1- Check The Index Status
First, you will need to check if I still have any indexed pages. You can do this with the “site:” operator on Google “site:www.site.com” and noticed that I have 22 indexed pages.
After that search for your brand name. If you don’t find any results, or internal pages, for the simplest keyword search, then you might be looking at a penalty.
2- Google Search Console
Second, check if there are any manual actions on the listed on the search console tool.
If you don’t find anything, then most probably it is an algorithmic action which is not usually reported on the search console.
3- Check your Google Analytics for a loss of organic traffic
If you see a graph that looks like this, then it is an algorithmic penalty. Here is an article for the basic SEO tools that you should have when playing around with SEO
4- Check your domain authority
Using one of the famous SEO tools, check whether your domain is decreasing in terms of authority.
You can use ahrefs.com or semrush.com or moz.com.
5- Check the backlinks to the website
Finally, using one of the above-mentioned tools, check the new domain that are referring to your website. Most probably there is a spammy website that linked to your domain and got you penalized.
Let me know what do you think. And, If you have any question, please leave me a comment below and I will make sure to get back to you with an answer.