Oh heck! Your website has incurred Google penalties, and your beautiful, SEO optimised, conversion driving website has seen traffic take a massive dive.
It’s time to do a full search engine penalty check pronto!
If you’ve read a few of our blogs detailing SEO hacks, you’ll know that we’re all about making your website work as hard as it can for you. We know all the easy, complex, but importantly free ways to improve your website traffic.
Did you know that search engines such as Google penalise websites if you go against their guidelines?
Search engine penalties can also go unnoticed for months, sometimes years, without checking google penalties with a reasonable penalty checker.
This blog will guide you through Google penalties and some excellent penalty checker tools to keep your website ranking high.
What is Google Penalty?
A Google penalty is the search engine’s process of assessing and blocking any website against their guidelines or using sneaky tactics that Google knows are there to trick their algorithms.
Google are clever old folk, so whilst we are always looking for ways to work WITH search engine algorithms, we also make sure we meet their criteria to avoid penalties.
You can view the complete list of rules on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. However, your website can be penalised for doing any of the following:
· Keyword stuffing
· Private blog networks
· Content cloaking
· Article duplication
· Comment spamming
· Buying links
If your website gets a Google penalty, they no longer show you in their rankings, so you will likely see a massive reduction in ranking position or an outright crash in traffic.
A penalty can be highly detrimental to your business website, and the impact can be seen even after penalty recovery.
Has My Website Been Penalised by Search Engines?
So many things can affect website traffic, and sudden drops can occur for several reasons. And in fact, it’s common for website traffic drops to go unnoticed for some time.
So, how do you know if Google has penalised your website?
Often, the only way of knowing if your website has Google penalties is to run it through a checker to find out!
Google issues penalties manually, meaning a real-life human checker will review flagged websites to access if they should receive a penalty.
Because of this process, Google penalties can happen sometimes. That’s why it’s essential to include penalty checkers in your overall SEO strategy.
How long do Google Penalties last?
If your website receives Google penalties, it can last up to thirty days for a small fraction or longer for something more serious.
Some Google penalties expire, so your website should still be checked to ensure the problems are fixed and the penalty removed, or they may issue another.
Google Penalty Recovery
All this is fascinating, but how do you recover a Google penalty?
We get it. It s all good and well knowing how penalties work, but this guide to Google penalties is all about the fantastic penalty checker tools to fix any issues quickly.
So, before you jump down to look at the ten excellent checker tools we recommend, let me just break down the steps you need to take to identify and fix a Google penalty:
1. Identify the Penalty
You can usually determine the penalty via Google Search Console or one of the below penalty checker tools.
Don’t worry if the reasoning is a little vague; it’s not uncommon not quite to understand where you went wrong. With enough digging, you can work out why you got the penalty – through multiple tools that may be needed for this process.
2. Me all appropriate changes
The good news is that many Google penalties are easy to fix once found.
Most penalties are simple mistakes that can be changed with a few copy tweaks, image changes or deleting pages.
However, if you received a Google penalty because of regular practices you undertake, like comment spamming, then you’re in trouble, my friend.
If your whole marketing strategy goes up in smoke once you realise your tactics go against Google’s guidelines, it may be time to give us a call (our number is up in our header).
3. Request to remove the penalty
Though this can take time, you CAN ask for a revaluation of the penalty if you think it has been accessed wrong.
Use Google Search Console to see if you can get the penalty removed without doing a thing to your website.
This can take as little as a day or as long as a finite piece of string. All I’m saying is don’t hold your breath.
4. Learn from the penalty
Apart from the embarrassment of making the same mistake again, allowing your website to be hit with Google penalties time and time again will be ugly for your traffic.
Every time you are hit with a penalty, your website traffic drops. No one wants this.
9 SEO Tools for Checking Google Penalties
Google Search Console
How do I know if I have had a Google penalty? Ask Google, of course!
If you check for official Google penalties, you’ll be notified manually via Google Console. This is the first place we recommend you begin penalty checking, along with Google Analytics, to see how it has impacted traffic.
Here, you’ll also find great resources, links, and guidance on fixing the problem and preventing it from happening again.
But you know we love a good SEO tool. So keep reading for roaring lions (no, really), colour coded systems and free penalty checker tools that can break it down for you.
Moz Change Recovery
This is a great beginners penalty checker tool if you have received Google penalties and want immediate results
· Significant changes are updated almost immediately, so you can catch Google penalties early
· Dates and details are included so you can learn from the penalty
· The analytics can show you potential upcoming penalties
Did we mention that we like to geek out with ALL our SEO stats?
We wouldn’t be able to live with the ultimate penalty checker tool, Semrush. This Google penalty checker is the best SEO tool to use for all your digital marketing, with fantastic features to review multiple sites and channels in one place.
· Spot potential penalties before they happen
· Combine with keyword strategy, analytics and content marketing plan
Semrush also measures SERP volatility – rating how likely they are to change daily and keeping track of Google algorithms to ensure you keep up with the trends. It will check it by industry, country, and other excellent metrics so you can pre-empt and prevent penalties before they happen.
Does even reading this Google penalties guide get you nodding off at your desk?
If SEO is too severe for you, you’ll love AccuRanker Grump.
This adorable cartoon tiger will guide you through search engine penalties, led by how grumpy it gets when a sentence is in its midst.
· Er…there’s a cute Tiger!
· Explicit imagery. If you struggle to understand stats,
· look at thousands of randomised keywords daily to see how well the top hundred results are faring.
· Based on a unique algorithm working on calculating averages
· The tool isn’t specific to one website
· It gives less insight as a whole
· Not always the most up to date
Did someone mention simple SEO?
Ahh…someone gives me an easy penalty checker tool, and I’m your best friend for life!
Rank Ranger is your best bet if you just want something that tells it how it is.
· This is a free penalty checker tool
· A simple colour-coded system from blue to red
· It saves time as you only have to worry about red days
· Great for those who aren’t great with analytics
· It doesn’t differentiate whether it is a specific issue with your website.
· You’ll have to manually what’s going on in SEO to see if you need to make changes to your site.
Penguin Penalty Check Tool
The Penguin Tool might be one of the easiest, most straightforward ways to check for Google penalties.
· This is a free penalty checker tool
· This is ONLY a penalty checker tool, so you don’t have lots of stats to distract you
· Easily integrates with your Google Analytics account to overlay your organic traffic over the last two years
· It gives a basic view
· It’s mainly for algorithm changes, so you may still have to check for unrelated penalties.
Remember we mentioned the roaring Tiger highlighting your penalties with his mood?
Moz Cast equally likes to bring humour and fun into your penalty checking. After all, SEO should be hilarious, right?
Instead of some jungle wildlife, this checker tool presents your penalties as a local weather forecast!
· Fun and engaging graphics
· Available as a widget to add to your site
· It runs every 24 hours and compares 1,000 keywords
· The tool won’t directly show you if you have been penalised.
· It can get confusing if you’re not too into metaphors
As a large global website sales and brokerage firm, FE International makes it their business to keep an eye on long-term website traffic and trends to access the site’s value.
Their free and super easy-to-use website traffic tool can quickly spot big drops and potential Google penalties.
· No need to create a login. Just search and go
· It compares specific traffic drops and rises with coloured Google algorithm changes.
· You can export the data to review in your own time
· The tool is specifically made to analyse traffic for the buying and selling of sites
· Limited insight into preventing penalties
Fruition Google Penalty Checker
Fruition Google Penalty Checker uses unique algorithms to review a website’s past website traffic data and assess if there has been a manual Google penalty or algorithm change.
· This is a free penalty checker tool
· It takes minutes to set up
· Compares your Google Analytics data against 100,000+ websites
· There is a paid version option to include weekly updates and an additional three websites
· It consists of a table of recent Google algorithm updates and a score of how it affects you
· Reviews vary so you might want to back up with another tool
Is it an Algorithm Change or a Penalty?
Can you tell if your website traffic drop is due to a Google penalty or a change in search engine algorithms?
The short answer is yes, sure you can.
Algorithms changes are specifically designed to make websites perform better or improve search quality better for the user. They affect all websites, and you will most likely notice any drops in traffic for specific pages or content.
On the other hand, Google penalties precisely stamp down on bad behaviour. They are explicitly targeted at your website for tactics or misuse of guidelines. It will likely affect your real website traffic for an extended period and is issued manually by Google.
You can simply type in ‘Google update’ into Google to see if any algorithm changes have occurred in the last few months.
Equally, using the above Google penalty checker tools will give your website the once over to check you’re fine and dandy.