Google penalty

A sudden drop in your position within search results is devastating to your sales. What is the reason for this? Google gives you a “penalty,” a kind of red card. We discuss the reasons behind such a penalty in this article.

Are you going to optimize your website? Make sure you don’t receive a ‘penalty’! What exactly happens when you receive a Google penalty and how do you prevent it?

What is Google penalty?

Google “penalizes” websites that do not keep up with updates or act against the rules. When a website does not comply with Google’s rules, such as after an update, Google gives you a “red card. This is reflected in your website’s position within the organic search results.

In reality, there is a lot of misinformation going around about penalties from Google. A website that is “penalized” by Google receives a report from Google Search Console.

Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm. Therefore, it is vital that your website stays up to date with any changes.

Reasons why Google gives you a penalty

Two categories of penalties can be distinguished.

  1. Based on Google Updates

The first is penalty following an algorithm update. Google issues updates from time to time that affect ranking factors.

Two major updates that have changed a lot for SEO are ”Panda” and ”Penguin.” Panda is focused on content. After this update, websites with duplicate content will no longer rank high in search results.

Penguin is about low-quality backlinks. This update allows Google to see when a website is trying to pretend to be a high authority site. The updates seem small, but it has major consequences for websites that do not follow these rules.

  1. Based on manual actions

The second category is a manual action from Google. If you optimize your website according to the rules, there is no problem. If you do this through so-called “Black Hat SEO,” you risk a drop in your ranking within search results.

Black Hat SEO is the name for bad SEO. When you abuse weaknesses in Google’s algorithm, you participate in “Black hat SEO. As a result, you may receive a “penalty” from Google.

google penalty

Mistakes that really can’t happen anymore

  1. Content written for Google instead of for the visitor
  2. Buy bad links
  3. Too many reciprocal links
  4. Excessive use of H1 tags
  5. Internal 404 statuses
  6. Missing XML

Google penalty checker

How do you know if you have received a penalty? There are two ways to find out if you have received a Google penalty.

  1. Google Search Console

The first way is through Google Search Console. This program uses Google to communicate with webmasters and inform them of any problems. In the case of a manual penalty, Google gives you an indication of the problem. Once you fix the problems, ask Google for a reconsideration and they will tell you if the penalty will be removed.

In the case of a penalty due to the algorithm, you get a penalty because your website is out of compliance since the last update.

  1. Google Analytics

The second way is to find out if you have received a Google penalty is through Google Analytics. When you see a drop in visitors around the same time that an update has occurred, it can be concluded that your website is not optimized according to the new rules of the update.

Read more about white hat SEO

What happens if I had a penalty?

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in use. One of the reasons for this is the many features you add in the form of extensions. We recommend that you do not stare blindly at Mozbar’s statistics. Statistics are indicative of reality. It is therefore important to interpret the data with a nuanced view!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Google Penalty?

If your website does not meet Google’s requirements, Google will penalize you with a red card. This is then called a Google Penalty that you get in the form of a report from Google Search Console.

What is the impact of Google Penalty on SEO?

If you want to optimize your website for SEO, avoid getting a Google penalty. In fact, you will notice this immediately in your site’s ranking in search results.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 22 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 22 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.