The Complete SEO Penalty Recovery Guide By SEO Experts In 2023

Are you starting to panic because your website traffic has suddenly nosedived? We completely empathize – it can feel like the sky is falling. In many cases, this could be due to Google penalties which are often the culprits behind such alarming decreases.

No need to worry though! In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to lay out time-tested strategies and steps from 2023’s leading SEO gurus for overcoming these obstacles so that your site reclaims its digital visibility.

Before you keep reading… we’re offering free SEO audits for websites facing SEO penalties. Try it now! 

Are you game to get back on track? Let’s jump right in!

Google Penalty Recovery 2023

Understanding Google Penalties

Google penalties can be a major setback for your website’s traffic and ranking. Essentially, these are actions taken against websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Penalties come in two types: Manual Penalties, applied directly by a member of Google’s team when they notice a violation, and Algorithmic Penalties which are automated and triggered by Google’s algorithms identifying manipulative behaviour on your site.

It is crucial to know how to identify these penalties; manual ones often come with a message telling you about the penalty while algorithmic ones require more detective work such as monitoring sudden drops in web traffic or rankings.

Types of Google Penalties (Manual Penalty, Algorithmic Penalty)

Google can use two kinds of penalties. One is a manual penalty. People at Google give this punishment when a website has stuff that should not be there. The other kind is an algorithmic penalty.

This happens by itself when a website breaks certain rules or the content is not good enough. Manual penalties are harder because the owner must fix the problem and ask Google to check again.

Algorithmic penalties are tough too, but for another reason: we need to find and correct every mistake that made it happen in the first place.

How to Identify Manual Penalty

We want to help you understand how to spot a manual penalty from Google. Here is a simple guide.

  1. Open the Google Search Console. This is one of your main tools.
  2. Look for “Security and Manual Actions”. Go to this section next.
  3. Check for any messages or updates. This is where you will find info about manual penalties.
  4. Read the issues listed by the human reviewer. These are the reasons why a penalty came in place.
  5. Look at your website’s keywords ranking drop, it shows if a manual penalty is in effect.
  6. If you spot a warning, don’t panic! Start taking actions to fix these issues.

How to Identify Algorithmic Penalty

Let’s dig into the process of finding out if your website has an algorithmic penalty.

  1. See a sudden drop in organic traffic. The first sign is a big decrease in visitors from search engines.
  2. Spot changes on the date Google updates its rules. If traffic goes down right after an update, you might have a penalty.
  3. Use SEO tools that show changes in ranks. Some tools can tell you if your website is not doing as well as before.
  4. Notice a decline in keyword ranks. If your website was at the top for some words and now it isn’t, this could be why.
  5. Check your pages are still being noticed by Google’s bots. If they stop coming, you could have a penalty.

Common Causes of Google Penalties

Google penalties often stem from practices such as cloaking, sneaky redirects, and hidden text. Other times, the reason could be keyword stuffing or publishing pure spam. Unnatural links to your website or from it can trigger a penalty; you need to also watch out for user-generated spam.

Violating Google’s content policies such as sharing adult-themed, dangerous or harassing content might leave you penalized too. Penalty can rear its ugly head if there’s any hateful content on your site or manipulated media.

Others include medical misinformation, misleading content and sexually explicit material; having terrorist propaganda is another no-no! Even excessive violence and gore or vulgar language may lead to a Google slap-down! Be cautious in what you publish – steer clear of these to avoid penalties!

Cloaking and/or Sneaky Redirects

Websites can get a Google penalty for cloaking or sneaky redirects. Cloaking is when a site shows one thing to Google and something else to users. Sneaky redirects guide users to a different page than what they clicked on.

Both actions are deemed wrong by Google Search Essentials, and may result in trouble with Google’s manual actions and notifications. Websites need to steer clear of such practices to avoid these penalties.

A drop in SEO traffic can be due to this reason as well, so it’s worth being careful of your website’s activities.

Sneaky Mobile Redirects

Sneaky mobile redirects can cause a lot of trouble. They send mobile users to different places than what they click on. This not only confuses the user but can also lead to websites getting penalties from Google.

Websites need to make sure they avoid this practice.

How does this happen? A website might show one thing when viewed on a computer, but something else for those using a phone. Sometimes an ad pops up that’s not related to the site at all! If your website is doing this, you may be hit with a SEO penalty in 2023 and see less traffic coming in.

To keep going strong and avoid any hiccups, let’s stop these sneaky redirects now!

Hidden Text and/or Keyword Stuffing

Hidden text and keyword stuffing can hurt your site. Google finds this unfair. Hidden text is when you put words users can’t see on your page to trick search engines. Keyword stuffing means using too many keywords on purpose.

The goal here is to cheat the system and rank higher in search results. But Google doesn’t allow this and may penalize you for doing it, even by accident! We must work hard to keep our sites clean from these harmful practices to stay in good standing with Google.

Pure Spam

Pure spam is a big problem. Sites that do this break Google’s rules. They use tricks to fool Google and people who use the site. It’s not fair, it’s not nice, and it hurts search results.

Our job as website owners is to keep our pages clean from pure spam for us and for users.

Websites steeped in black-hat SEO tactics are more likely to get tagged as pure spam by Google. That can lead to bad news like penalties or even total removal from search pages! If you want your site back in the good graces of Google after a pure spam penalty, start with an honest look at what went wrong.

Fixing pure spam issues takes time but is key for seo penalty recovery 2023. You need to find where you broke Google’s rules and fix those areas right away. Use your know-how about website seo penalty guidelines to handle these problems! And if things get too tough? There are always seo penalty consultants ready to lend a hand.

Unnatural Links to Your Site

Bad links to your site can cause trouble. These are called “unnatural links“. Google may punish your site for them. This can happen if others see your site through a bad link or if you ask for the bad link yourself.

Often, these links come from websites that don’t have good quality. They might even pay people to put their link on those sites! Both ways can hurt your website’s standing with Google.

So, keep an eye out for them and keep your website safe!

Unnatural Links From Your Site

Bad links from your site can harm you. These are links that don’t follow Google’s rules. Some sites have these bad links on purpose. They hope to trick Google and get a higher place in search results.

This is not good. It will cause trouble with Google.

You need to clean up these bad links right away! If you bought or sold links, stop it now. Make sure all the links on your site lead to good places. Do this job well and fast, so you’ll avoid the penalty box!

User-Generated Spam

User-generated spam can hurt your website. It makes a site have less value and leaves it open to Google penalties. This kind of spam messes up the main points of a site, which Google doesn’t like.

A lot of comments that are only there for spam may make Google upset with your site too. User content can help in digital marketing but be careful because if it’s just spam then you might get in trouble with Google! Be on the look-out for hacked content as well; it’s similar to user-made spam since someone takes over your site and uses it for their own gain.

Violation of Google’s Content Policies (Adult-Themed Content, Dangerous Content, Harassing Content, Hateful Content, Manipulated Media, Medical Content, Misleading Content, Sexually Explicit Content, Terrorist Content, Violence and Gore Content, Vulgar Language and Profanity)

Google has rules about what you can put on your website. Breaking these rules can mean big trouble for your site’s place in search results. One rule is to avoid putting adult stuff on your site.

This means no photos or videos of people who have no clothes on, or are doing sex acts.

Dangerous and hateful things are not allowed either. This includes threats to hurt others, or saying bad things about groups of people based on their race, religion, or other traits.

Fake news and false medical advice also break Google’s rules.

Sites that trick users with misleading content get a penalty too. Untrue stories designed to look real fall under this rule. The same goes for sites showing graphic violence, supporting terrorism, or using crude language.

If you don’t stick to these rules then Google might move your website down in search results – even if the harsh words come from visitors leaving comments! So always keep an eye out for user-generated spam as well.

In all our years helping with SEO, we’ve seen it all when it comes to penalties. It’s best just to follow the rules if you want your site at the top of search rankings!

Steps to Recover from Google Penalties

Embarking on a recovery journey from Google penalties begins with identifying the ranking problem, digging deeper to understand the nature of the penalty, making necessary corrections to resolve the issues identified, and sending a reconsideration request to Google.

Check for a Ranking Problem

First, we need to see if your site has a ranking issue. A sudden big drop in web traffic is the main sign of this problem. You will notice fewer people are visiting your site from search results.

It’s smart to use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console for this task. These tools show what happens on your website. They track how many users find your site through Google search.

If these numbers go down fast, it may mean you have a ranking issue.

Investigate the Penalty

We take a close look at the penalty next. This step helps us know why we got the penalty. We dig into our website’s data. We find out if it’s a manual or algorithmic penalty to fix it right.

If you see a drop in traffic for some of your site’s pages, that could be an algorithmic hit. With a manual action, Google will tell you directly in your Search Console account. It is important to know what kind of penalty we are dealing with so we can fix the right things on our site.

Fix the Issues

We need to act fast and smart. The first step is an SEO audit. This lets us see what works and what doesn’t. High-impact issues are the top priority. They hold back our website the most.

We fix these problems first, then we move on to less urgent onesGoogle can penalize whole hosting services! Our website might get hurt in this case too, even if it follows all rules.

Staying up-to-date with new changes helps as well. We always keep our eyes open for Google’s new updates so nothing slips past us unnoticed.

Request a Reconsideration

We fix the issues on your site first. Then, we ask Google to look at your site again. This step is key to getting rid of a manual penalty. Google needs to see you have made changes before it will lift the penalty.

We don’t do this for penalties from updates like Penguin though. For those, we focus on fixing all the problems instead.

Hiring an SEO Expert to Assist with Recovery

You need an SEO expert to get back on track. Here’s why:.

– They know the rules. Google has many rules about website content and links. It is hard to learn them all.

– An expert can find problems fast. Your site may have hidden issues you don’t see.

– They fix issues right away. Once the problem is found, it gets fixed without delay.

– Experts save time and money. Fixing a penalty takes lots of hours that you could use in other parts of your business.

– Their skills are up-to-date. SEO rules change often; experts keep pace with these changes.

Picking an expert needs care too:

– Check their past work: Did they help others like you?

– Ask how they charge for their service: Do they ask for $50 per hour or more than $250?

– See if they can explain things well: Do they talk in easy words so that you understand?

Hiring an SEO pro helps solve penalty troubles faster, making your website shine again soon!

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Google Penalty?

Getting over a Google penalty often takes time.

1. If it’s a manual penalty, expect to wait 10 to 30 days.

2. For an algorithmic penalty, the recovery might take up to two years.

3. After lifting a manual penalty, more time could be needed for full recovery.

4. Each month, Google sends out over 400,000 manual penalties.

Every website is different so these times can change.

Additional SEO Performance Boosts to Improve Rankings

We want to share some more ways to boost your site’s SEO. They can help you score higher on search results.

  1. Use E-A-T: This stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. In 2023, these are very important for SEO. They show your site is a good source of information.
  2. Focus on good optimization: Your site should be easy to use and quick to load.
  3. Offer quality content: People like helpful and clear data. Make sure your website gives that.
  4. Think about the user: Your site should meet their needs in a simple way.
  5. Stay up-to-date with tech trends: New tools like voice search and machine learning can change how we do SEO.
  6. Keep an eye out for SEO attacks: These can hurt your rankings, so you need to know how to stop them.
  7. Hire pros when needed: If you’re having a hard time with SEO, experts can help!

Tips to Avoid Future Penalties

We want you to stay safe from Google’s penalties. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Always keep your website clean. Delete or change repeated keywords.
  2. Make sure your site is easy for users to use and navigate.
  3. Give users honest, useful content. Do not try to trick them or Google.
  4. Do not buy links that point to your site.
  5. Keep track of what your site is doing in real time.
  6. Use the Google Search Console often.
  7. Be careful who can post on your site.
  8. Check if the things you post go against Google’s rules about content.
  9. Build good habits for your website and stick with them.

Frequently Asked Questions about Google Penalty Recovery

We understand that navigating Google penalty recovery can be a complex process filled with numerous queries. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some commonly asked questions:

1. What is a Google penalty in SEO?

A Google penalty in SEO refers to a negative action taken by Google against a website that violates its guidelines.

2. How can I know if my website has received a Google penalty?

If your website is penalized, Google will send a manual action report via Google Search Console.

3. What are the common reasons for receiving a Google penalty?

Common reasons include cloaking, sneaky redirects, hidden text, keyword stuffing, and violation of Google’s content policies among others.

4. Can I recover my website from a Google penalty?

Yes, with a careful process of investigating the penalty, fixing the issues, and then requesting a reconsideration, you can recover from a Google penalty.

5. How much time does it take to recover from a Google penalty?

The recovery time from a Google penalty can vary depending on the type of penalty and the action taken to correct it.

6. Can an SEO expert help me in recovering from a Google penalty?

Absolutely, SEO consultants are skilled in identifying and fixing SEO penalties, and they can be of great help in your recovery process.

7. Are there different types of Google penalties?

Yes, there are two types of Google penalties: manual penalties and algorithmic penalties.

8. How can I avoid future Google penalties?

To avoid future penalties, ensure your website adheres to Google’s guidelines and regularly monitor your site for any potential issues.

By understanding these answers, you will have a solid foundation for navigating and handling Google penalties.


The SEO Penalty Recovery Guide for 2023 is here. It gives us all the tools to find and fix Google penalties. Using it, we can improve our website rank in no time. This guide is a must-have for every website owner in 2023!

Gerald Leckie - Atthor and Owner of Ironball Marketing

Gerald Leckie

Author & Founder Of Ironball Marketing
Gerald's journey to IronBall Marketing began in the early 2000s, where he embarked on his entrepreneurial path in the emerging field of marketing. Over two decades, he honed his skills through managing successful businesses, developing a profound passion for search engine marketing.

Today, Gerald leverages his wealth of experience to guide other businesses to new heights through strategic marketing approaches. He's a trusted advisor, sharing lessons learned from his own journey. Beyond business, he's a talented composer and an avid investor, always seeking growth opportunities.

His dedication to continuous learning, evident in his pursuit of an MBA, underscores his commitment to serving clients and the broader business community. Gerald's story exemplifies the transformative power of passion, experience, and unwavering pursuit of excellence.

Let's Get Started on Your New Project

Congratulations on taking the first step towards starting a new project!
© 2023 Ironball Marketing. All rights reserved.