A Guide To Google Penalties In SEO

Did you just receive a manual spam action report from Google Search Console? Well, although not every report is something to worry about, it surely helps to be equipped to handle the various spam action reports. Google holds the authority to apply manual spam actions also known as penalties to any website it finds violating guidelines provided by the webmaster. The impact of the Google penalties can be minimal and unnoticeable but some can be catastrophic for your website’s organic search results in Google. 

Thus, let’s see what penalties exist and how can you successfully lift the Google manual penalties on your website. 

What Are The Manual Penalties Exactly? And Why Do You See Them?

Google Search Console or formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools has been used by Google since 2012 to communicate the issues that are going to negatively impact your website’s organic search visibility for relevant searches. So, how do you interpret and respond to these notifications that Google pushes as “warnings” when certain webmaster guidelines are violated?. The Google Search Quality team sanctions the penalties often especially when black-hat techniques are imbibed. 

Although all the notifications are not always about you using the black-hat techniques. Some penalties are imposed due to omitting certain things such as failing to secure your website, allowing it to host spam or be hacked, and(or) skipping to implement correct structured data markup. Google is striving hard to identify technical issues and bring them to the webmasters’ attention. These technical issues may or may not affect your Google organic search but if they don’t violate the Webmaster’s guidelines the penalties will be omitted. You don’t want to lose all the organic search ranking that you have obtained all these months and years. Do you? Having said this, any notification from Google Search Console needs to heeded as serious and important. 

A Few On-page Violation Notifications From Google Search Console Guidelines: 

These notifications appear when you knowingly or unknowingly violate Webmaster’s guidelines on a site. Here are some instances where you will be issued a warning for your activities on your website: 

Spam related problems

When you get notified with this, it implies that your website is not entirely bad but some parts don’t satisfy the users. This could be low quality content that is used as gateways to direct users to another site than providing answers on that page itself. Google may impose penalties only on the pages or folders that have violated the guidelines. 

Hacked content spam

The hacked content spam is one where malicious and irrelevant content is injected into your website by spammers without your knowledge. This penalty is usually applied on sites not because of user-driven spam but rather because of low security for your site.

Incorrect structured data

Structured data is what makes Google understand your website’s content and context. When your data is structured you get something known as – review rich snippets. However, when you use deceiving structured data to obtain a rich snippet, Google will put you on the radar and when spotted will be faced with a violation offense and the rich snippet will not appear on SERP. 

User-generated spam

This penalty notification is issued when your website is driven by users when Google finds that your site is being abused by hackers, spammers, and black hats. Basically, Google is telling you to handle your website. If swift action is not taken, over time, many user-generated spam messages and pages will start appearing on your website. To protect Google users Google will take down all the pages which can be a huge loss for your visibility. Solving this problem is mostly technical and simpler than other spam content manual actions. 

Major and pure spam problems:

This notification for Major spam and pure spam implies that your site has failed to satisfy the Google users’ standard. However, Google often sends Major spam when content is copied from other sites and/or when it is a gibberish site that does not give any value to the users. 

Unnatural outbound links

Selling or buying links to raise or manipulate your site ranking is another major Google Search Console violation that triggers a penalty to be imposed. Google will do so by sending a notification highlighting the breach. However, this penalty may not cost you much of your organic search visibility. However, Google penalties are not something you tread on lightly. 

Off-Page Violations 

While it is logical to assume that you cannot control what others link to your site. However, black- hat tricks like purchasing links or spamming other websites have made Google raise concerns with off-page violations as well usually through unnatural inbound links. 

Reconsideration Requests

When you have received a manual penalty notification and made all the necessary changes to fix the violations, you can request Google to consider the changes and review your website for the penalty to be lifted. Whenever you get a manual action notification, it usually encloses all the steps that you need to do to rectify the problem. Although based on the specific penalty the steps will vary. As you fulfill all the requirements mentioned by Google, you will find the “Reconsideration Request” button finally to initiate the reconsideration request. 

In order to process the reconsideration request, you may be requested to share certain documents and the outline of the steps taken to comply with Google Webmaster Guidelines. This data will project the reasons to the Google Team to lift the manual action. 

You may receive any one of the notifications mentioned below in your Google Search Console once you have fixed all the problems and requested for reconsideration. 

  • Reconsideration request (submission confirmed)
  • Reconsideration request rejected
  • Reconsideration request approved
  • Reconsideration request processed 
  • Disavow file updated notification

Final Thoughts

To avoid Google penalties it is advised to follow the Webmaster’s guidelines for your website. When you face Google’s manual action notifications, you are advised to take swift actions to avoid backfiring to all your efforts. Constantly check Google Central Blog where much data about troubleshooting all our Google penalties are explained. Some penalties may not cause much loss now, but in the long run, may deem to pull down all your efforts once and for all. The advantage is that Google is trying to protect you and your users from hackers and spammers who exploit your website using black hat techniques for their gain. For every warning that you receive, Google highlights all your offenses and guides you to resolve them. To know more about the On-page SEO and off-page SEO, Entellus & Co offers the Best SEO services in Bangalore. Get in touch with us if you have any queries related to SEO for your website. 

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