A Google Penalty can turn your successful business from a profitable online success to a failed project. If you have suffered a penalty, don’t lose all hope and give up. Taking the correct steps can lift the penalty and get you back on track.

A Google penalty can be through a manual action or an algorithmic update. The latter is harder for the average webmaster to identify because they will need to be clued up with Google guidelines on a daily basis.

How to Find Out if Google Have Penalized You

The manual Google penalty can be found in the Webmaster Tools dashboard and you will see a new notification (uh oh!). In a way, the manual action is better than an algorithmic penalty because you will be provided with a clear reason for the penalization. The most common manual action penalty is due to “unnatural links” that are detected going to your website.

Algorithmic Google Penalties are often harder to identify and will require some digging on your behalf. Its advised that you check the big SEO websites that update the world of anything to do with the SEO world. I like to keep up to date with website such as searchengineland.com but also influential individuals such as Matt Cutts.

Big Google Algorithm Updates

Google clearly state that they are updating their algorithms on a daily basis. However, there are some updates that are clearly stated and provided with names to refer back to. In my opinion, the two that were the biggest were Penguin and Panda. There was recently a Fred update but I believe this was simply a bolt on to the Panda update.

In short, the Penguin Google update was related to poor or unnatural link building and the Panda Google update was related to poor content (either poor quality or duplicate).

How to Recover From a Google Update

Once you have identified the error, you will need to compile a plan of action. If you have been penalized through your use of links, you will need to either use the Disavow Google Tool or contact the webmasters of the poor links and ask them to remove it.

To check all the links going to your website, within the Webmaster Tools Dashboard, click Search Traffic, and then click Links to Your Site. Spammy links are fairly easy to spot and you should act appropriately.

Fixing the content side of things is relatively straight forward. If you are penalized for duplicate content, locate the duplication and simply change it. Copy and paste a sentence from your website into Google.

If its copied, it will be fairly obvious where it is copied from. As a rule of thumb, you should never simply copy and paste content from another website onto your own. This is against Google guidelines and you may be violating copyright issues.

Google may take time to lift the penalty on your website and you should expect to wait a few weeks. Be patient, at the end of the day, you were the one who broke their rules. You should always stick to White Hat SEO methods for improving your Google rankings.