How to Identify If Your Site is Filtered or Penalized

How to Identify If Your Site is Filtered or Penalized

How do I know my site is penalized by Google?

Quick Answer: The quickest way to check if your website was penalized is to login to your Google Webmasters Tools. Sharp drops in traffic, especially in line with algorithm updates, may indicate that you were hit. Other ways to check for a penalty are by manually searching the query of your domain and your main keywords — if your pages are not showing up, that’s another sign you’ve been penalized.


Why do most of business representatives start their websites? It is one of the best ways to promote business into masses and help it to develop. But what a disappointment it is to realize that there are some problems with your website, especially if it is penalized by Google.

There are immediately many questions appearing in your head: is this a Google penalty, why it was penalized and how to recover it and avoid these problems in future. Here are the answers to the following and other important questions connected with Google penalties.

What is a Google Penalty?

Google penalties include an entire or partial removal of the site from Google index or there is a significant drop in the site search rankings. The latter one is usually a result of the automatic or manual spam detection while there are many other reasons too. The decrease in ranking can refer to the whole website, several its pages or some specific spamming keywords.

How Can You Identify a Penalized Website?

Not only Google penalties influence the website ranking, that is why it is important to learn how to identify if there were any penalties thrown at. There are several ways to do that:

  • Login your account to open Webmasters Tools. Press “Search Traffic” button to open “Manual Actions”. There you will find a message stating the presence of any penalties;
  • Look up when the significant loss in traffic took place and check if any updates were launched at that time;
  • Type the query of your domain into the search line to see if it is indexed as one of top ten results. If not, it may hint you about a possible penalty;
  • The partial penalty is identified by typing the name of the domain and the main keyword in the search line and if some pages do not show up, you might suffer from this type of penalty;
  • Check the page rank and the visitors to identify the time of a sudden decrease.

What are the Different Types of Google Penalties?

The first thing to identify when you realized that your website is penalized is the type of penalty thrown at you. There are several of them:

  1. An algorithmic penalty is an automatic type that is thrown at websites with behavior that does not correspond with Google guidelines. Most often this happens because of the new updates released by Google but not familiar to the website owner. For example, Panda banned low-quality content, Penguin worked with links of poor quality, while Hummingbird aimed at search queries with long tails.
  2. Manual review penalty is given by a webspam team on the basis of the triggered algorithmic one. Usually, the website owner receives an email with the notification of the problem and as soon as you correct everything, it is better to contact the team for them to review the website. To check for any penalties, you can log the webmaster account and choose “Manual Actions” in the “Search Traffic”.
  3. The site-wide penalty is one of the most unpleasant ones as your site is viewed as spam by Google and your ranking drops dramatically. That can lead to de-indexing or blacklisting of the site too.
  4. The Partial Manual penalty is given based on the reviewer’s conclusion as for some issues that are unsuitable on your pages. These might be poor links or content that does not match the guidelines.

What are the Reasons for Google to Punish You?           

So why does Google punish popular websites? The list of reasons is rather vast. Here are some most popular causes that make Google act in that way:

  • Black-Hat techniques like cloaking or redirecting. Cloaking is insufficient content shown to users and completely different from one provided to the search engines. It is easily identified by modern Google tools. Specially created bots are identified by Panda that hits such sites with thin content and as a result they undergo Google penalties. Numerous URLs to your main websites can result in severe penalties too as the latest Penguin update detects unnatural linking patterns to avoid manipulations;
  • Spam is one of the most popular reasons for penalties after the release of Penguin and Payday Loan Update. Both of them combat extremely spammy results that cause severe penalties. Another popular Google tool Exact Match Domain aims at decreasing the number of spammy domains that sound the same as the main keyword;
  • Duplicated content takes its place in the list of causes too. Most of the websites use plagiarized content unintentionally as they trust writers, while others generate content automatically with the help of some software. To avoid problems with ranking it is necessary to check all the content using plagiarism checkers as Google allows only up to 10% of the similarities in the site content. In other cases, you may suffer from penalties too;
  • Slow website loading speed can lead to drops in ranking and further algorithmic penalties;
  • Improper architecture of the website is also detected and subjected to algorithmic penalties;
  • A hacker attack toward the website is a cause of the sudden penalty. Opt for Google analytics to analyze the SEO practices and see if that has really happened;
  • Appropriateness of the web hosting is also important to maintain a high site ranking. Google has even made SSL certificates for that purpose etc.

These are the most popular reasons that lead to Google penalties, so it is important to know what a website owner should do to avoid such troubles.

What are the Solutions to Avoid Google Penalties and Recover Your Website

If you are lucky enough to launch your own website, it is important to build up a right strategy of its functioning. It is useless to try to cheat Google so only a well-structured and maintained website will reach the best ranking and avoid troubles. How can you reach that? Here are some tips how to avoid Google penalties and contribute to a perfect website ranking:

  1. Look through the Google guidelines scrupulously;
  2. Check all the links and content of your website on a regular basis;
  3. Follow the updates of Google to avoid new problems;
  4. Make a reasonable choice of advertisement and affiliated links;
  5. Keep the website secure;
  6. Select a proper website hosting;
  7. If you were penalized, correct all the issues and submit a re-consideration request.

These solutions will help your website function properly and you will not experience what it means to suffer from Google penalties.

Author Bio:

Alexandra Foster is an ex-English teacher who helps parents/students and organizations with educational planning. She is a tech savvy, who loves to write about education, technology, and marketing.

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Sean Si

About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.