Tips on Penalty Recovery


Google search algorithms are designed to provide relevant results to search engine users. These algorithms follow specific rules and guidelines. If you effectively follow these rules and guidelines, you will be rewarded with top positions in organic search results. You may never experience a penalty.

If your website has been penalized, you needn’t lose hope. If you have been penalised you will receive a manual action report in your search console informing you of it, and encouraging you to fix the reasons for the penalty. Fixing these issues usually result the penalty being lifted, and your website will rank up the search engine pages.

The Following Are Examples of Google Manual Actions and How to Fix Them

Cloaking/Sneaky redirects

Cloaking/Sneaky redirect is the process of showing a different page to your site visitors than the page shown to Google. This action violates the webmaster guidelines. There are two different types of penalty for this action; one that affects a portion of your site, and another which affects the whole site.

How to fix it

  • On your Google search console, crawl your website and fetch as Google, collect the affected pages of the website. Compare the pages fetched by Google to the content of your webpage, and resolve any discrepancy such that the two become the same.
  • Analyse all your website redirects and delete redirect that takes users to unexpected webpages.
  • Submit a reconsideration request after this.

Hacked Site

Hackers are constantly on the prowl, looking for weaknesses in content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla and many more. They introduce malicious links and contents, which are often sneaky and difficult to find. When this is detected by Google, a notification is placed on the search result which says “This site is hacked”. This often leads to rank nose diving

How to fix it

  • Contact your web hosting support
  • Quarantine your website to prevent further damage
  • Identify the hacking type using search console
  • Identify whether the damage was done through a malware or spam
  • Identify your site weakness/loophole and figure out the route of entry
  • Block the identified weakness/loophole that let the hacker in
  • Ask Google for s site review to remove the hacked labelling.

Keyword Stuffing/Hidden Text

When your site is guilty of keyword stuffing or hidden keywords, your penalty can come in two forms; a partial match which affects only a portion of the site or a site-wide match, which affects the whole site.

How to fix it

  • On your google search console, crawl and fetch your website and collect pages from the affected parts of your website.
  • Identify text that is the same to the content of your webpage
  • Identify the hidden text using a CSS positioning or styling
  • Remove hidden text
  • Remove paragraphs with repeated words without context
  • Edit alt text and title tags containing repeated words.
  • Remove any other identified instance of stuffing
  • Submit your site for reconsideration.

Unnatural Links to Your Site

This occurs when you buy or participate in link sharing schemes in order to boost your search ranking. This action violates Google webmaster guidelines

How to fix it

  • Download the unnatural links from your Google search console
  • Identify links that may be breaking the webmaster guideline
  • Add a re=”nofollow” or remove them totally.
  • For any link, you can’t remove or no-followed, disavow it
  • Submit your site for reconsideration.

Thin Content, Adding Little or No Value

This happens when you have spun/auto-generated content, thin product description pages with no unique information and no added value, low-quality guest posts and scrapped contents.

How to fix it

  • Remove spun/auto-generated contents
  • Contents with low word counts should be edited and enlarged upon
  • Identify product description pages with little or no additional value beyond what the manufacturer or retailer offers.
  • Submit your site for reconsideration.

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