Google penalties can be typically split in two categories namely manual and algorithmic penalties. Google penalizes a website if the algorithms or manual review concludes that prohibited SEO techniques are being used to increase the rankings. These techniques can be on-site as well as off-site.
Major Goggle Penalties
While there are a number of penalties, most of these can be broadly classified into following categories:
- Thin Content
- Unnatural Links
This algorithm debuted in 2011 and since then it has been responsible for a big majority f the penalized websites. Its main focus is on getting rid of low quality websites from the index. This algorithm detects low quality or thing content.
This algorithm is usually run around once a month. So, websites that get penalized by Panda may take some time to get the penalty lifted after fixing the issues. It is a site wide penalty.
This algorithm is mainly focused on detecting unnatural links and it takes into account link quality, link diversity as well as link velocity. It also takes into account spammy anchor text. It is not a site wide penalty and only penalizes specific web pages. Sometimes, it may discount the back links instead of penalizing the web page.
This algorithmic update also takes a few weeks to fully run which means that a website penalized by Penguin may take a long time to recover, if at all.
In addition to various algorithmic penalties, Google also issues manual penalties. In this case, a Google employee or contractor reviews the site against the quality guidelines issued by Google. The website is penalized if it violates one or more of the guidelines.
Most of the websites are penalized manually for thin content, spam or unnatural links.
When it comes to unnatural links, it is applied when the reviewer concludes that the webmaster is responsible for the shady links. This penalty it is also applied when a website is linking to bad neighborhood.
The thin content penalty is applied when most of the content present on the website is copied from other places and does not provide any value to the visitor. Usually, it means that the webpage is full of scraped or automatically generated content; it acts as a doorway page or a thin affiliate page.
Whenever a website is penalized manually, the Webmaster can see that penalty by going to the manual actions section in the Google Webmasters tools. Manual penalties are usually lifted when the problems detected during the review are resolved and the webmaster applies for reconsideration.
If the reviewer is satisfied that the webmaster has taken the required action, the manual penalty is usually lifted and rankings return.
Overall, most of the websites that get penalized actually deserve it but there is also some collateral damage. Therefore, it is important to understand the root cause of the Google penalties as it helps in preventing them from occurring and you can get the penalties lifted in case your website gets it.