Digital Marketing

How to find out if you’ve been hit with a Google penalty

In previous periods many websites have been punished by Google algorithmic updates and small manual actions, which average webmasters and marketers haven’t noticed when this took place. That is why Alpha Efficiency has dedicated today`s post to designating the problem of Google punishment, and the ways in which you can find out whether your website has been one of the thousands affected by this measure.

What is Google’s penalty?

Google’s platform has its own marketing rules and practice and Google’s punishment represents the consequence of the conflict of website content with these regulations.

Additionally, this penalty may occur as a result of a Google ranking algorithm update, or manually when a review suggests that the website is using a black hat SEO technique.

The black hat SEO technique refers to unethical website practices to increase ranking in search results. This tactic usually includes using private link networks, cloaking, keyword stuffing, and many other instruments that conflict with Google`s search engine guide.

An algorithm filter is an instrument that suppresses a site`s ranking and traffic, and its penalty is harder to notice than manual action ones. Algorithm changes effects all websites not just selected ones, and perform in order to improve search quality for end-users, which consequently can cause a drop in traffic.

On the other hand, manual actions apply the Google`s team that manually reviews and checks, and rates websites based on Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

There are two sets of manual actions:

  1. Sitewide prospects that affect the entire website
  2. Partial matches that affect parts of the website or particular URL

The most common manual actions involve hacked sites, unnatural links from your website and to your site, low-value content, pure and self-generated spam, spammy structured markups and free hosts, and others.

Penalty checker tools


The are numerous reasons why SEMRush is considered an ultimate SEO tool. Besides the robust functions and features that SEMRush offers, there are many instruments for webmasters to help them understand the matters of website ranking.

SEMRush works in a way of checking all keywords and pages and detecting volatility parts. Running the website through this program provides a chance to identify potential penalties, and fix them in advance.

SEMRush Sensor measure SERP volatility by ranking it on a scale from 0 to 10, indicating how many changes have occurred on each day. The high and very high result indicates a high chance that your site’s ranking could notably shift as a consequence of Google’s update.

Additionally, SEMRush provides data about scores by industry and various SEO reports.


Panguin provides the simplest and most direct way to examine Google penalties. Its design serves this specific purpose, ensuring it won’t divert your attention with extra data and features.

This tool works by overlaying your website’s Google Analytics account and organic traffic in the previous two years with the timeframe when algorithm changes occurred. If you perceive any significant drop that doesn`t correlate with the major update consider that this happened because of a manual penalty. However, the drawback of this program is that it doesn`t distinguish traffic drops caused by a manual penalty from those with different backgrounds. For instance, seasonal content might decline in traffic because of the off months.


Mozcast provides the report of changes in Google algorithm in a form of weather forecasts. The report includes the display of the turbulences for the previous day or the period of the previous 90 days. Although this tool doesn`t have the ability to inform you if your website has been penalized, it can help you identify unconfirmed changes in the Google algorithm.

Rank Ranger

Rank Ranger is a simple program that provides information about the risks referring to penalties or algorithms changes, without additional overwhelming analytics data. This program displays information in a chart with red and blue bars, where red bars signify the days when your site had a traffic issue. The disadvantage of this tool is that it doesn`t distinguish the specifications of website issues. This implies that you will have to make an additional check on the SEO climate to determine whether your page requires serious changes.

Google Search Console

If you have noticed a significant drop in traffic, the first place you should look for an issue is a Google Search Console. This program provides insight into whether your website is under Google’s penalty. In this platform, you can apply for penalty removal after you make changes.  Additionally, Console provides links to best practice resources to help you in fixing the problems.

Final Thoughts

Although Google’s penalty decreases website traffic and ranking, this practice has an encouraging aspect on websites. Since all websites rely on a search engine for driving traffic, adjustments that websites make to remain coherent with the algorithm have the additional benefits of keeping the level with the latest patches and providing superiority over the competition if you can faster and more efficiently optimize your content than your opponents.

Of course, everyone wants to avoid penalties before Google even crawls the site. To avoid this inconvenience, keep monitoring your website’s success, maintaining it trustworthy, up-to-date, and relevant.

Cheryl Henson

Cheryl Henson is a passionate blogger and digital marketing professional who loves writing, reading, and sharing blogs on various topics.

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