How to protect your website from a Google penalty

Posted on - 27th Mar, 2017 | Posted By - E4K

What if you opened your Google Analytics dashboard tomorrow and found your traffic has disappeared?

Don’t panic, this scenario is not common, but it could happen if a search engine slaps your website with a penalty.

Every website owner, developer and search engine optimisation specialist fears Google Penalties.

If you think that Google penalties happen when Google changes its algorithms, then you are wrong.

Even with no major algorithm update, I have seen many sites faces Google penalties.


Because of spamming practices such as offering low and poor quality content, buying links to boost one’s link profile, keywords stuffing, scraping content amongst other things.

For example: Does anyone remember the famous JC Penny Google penalty? The search engine found that this retailer indulged in black hat SEO practices by buying links. As a result JC Penny lost its position in the search engine results page.

Search engine found that 100s of sites were linking for 1000s of highly targeted keywords. Mostly, the links were irrelevant and out of place as most of the back-linking sites had little to do with clothing. – Google penalised this popular link network and resulted in this website being wiped out of the organic results for their brand keywords. This penalty was also faced by many sites involved in link exchanges via the platform.

Not all the penalties are a result of spamming practices. Sometimes they might be due to negligence.

SEO analysts need to be monitored backlinks to websites as Google may target your website if there are spammy links pointing to it. This could be due to negative search engine optimisation where your competitors are targeting you.

Types of Google Penalties

1. Spam actions or Manual penalties

Most penalties were automated, but there are some penalties that are imposed by the search engine human reviewer’s.

If you receive any manual penalty, then you will see it in your webmaster dashboard. You click the manual actions tab that is present under search traffic.

manual penalties

2. Algorithm penalties

Algorithmic penalties occur when Google rolls out a new algorithm update. Websites are penalised by violating Google guidelines. It is tricky to identify because unlike a manual penalty, you won’t receive any email alert about it. One way is to track website traffic. If you notice your traffic, reduce drastically then you might conclude you’ve been hit by an algorithm penalty.

How to protect your website from penalties.?

Monitor link profile    

Google always looks at the following types of buying/link-building/ exchanging practices as spammy.

1. Article submissions

2. Buying and selling links

3. Forum/comment posting (excessive/spammy)

4. Link exchanges

5. Guest posting campaigns

These above links are tending to generate unnatural looking links, Google bots identify them with ease. If your website follows the above types of links then Google will penalise you.

For link building – you need to follow and earn one natural link after another, not the practices of the above-mentioned points.

Also, it is more important that the websites that is linking to your website are ideally from your niche. For example: if you are running a custom jewelry store, you can’t have something like a pet store linking back to you. This signals to Google that something fishy is going on.

Link building is an important off page optimisation strategy. You must focus on building website authority, SEO improvement, and drive traffic to it.

Create unique, fresh content, so that other websites love to link back and people in social media will love to share. Quality content is the most effective means of building a rich link network.

My advice is to keep checking your link profile. If you find any unnatural links pointing to your website, just found and fix them.

1. Offer rich, unique, and useful content

2. Google consider the list of content types below as poor or thin

3. in affiliate pages

4. Doorway pages

5. Automatically generated content

If you offer any of these in your website, you might get a Google penalty.

Don’t make users scroll too much to read content

Google came out with a “page layout” algorithm, it asked for websites to offer relevant content immediately to the users.

Google will penalise your website if you show lots of ads within its “above-the-fold-area”. If it is full of ads, then consider redesigning it to move content to the top.


Don’t live in fear of Google penalties. The search engine only goes after sites that try to manipulate them. Build your link profile in trusted sites and use best practices to avoid Google penalties.

An approved way of building links might bring the results that you expect at a slow pace, but once you get there, it will be steady and long-term.