Google penalties can be one of the most dreaded things for any website owner or search engine optimization (SEO) specialist. The penalties can range from dropping rankings to completely deindexing your website from Google’s search results. Google uses a complex algorithm to flag and penalize websites that violate their guidelines. The penalties can be either algorithmic or manual action, varying in severity.

This blog post will discuss the most common types of Google penalties and specific strategies for Google penalty recovery.

Algorithmic Penalties

Google’s algorithmic penalties are automated and triggered by specific signals the search engine detects on your website. These penalties can happen without any human intervention. Here are the types of algorithmic penalties:

1. Penguin penalty

The penguin penalty targets websites using manipulative techniques to increase backlink profiles. This penalty is based on link quality, not just the number of links. Websites that purchase links participate in link schemes, or use automated link-building techniques and keyword-rich anchor text, among others, are most at risk of being penalized. To recover from Penguin, web admins must remove or disavow the spammy links if they cannot be removed. Using tools such as Majestic or ahrefs to analyze your link portfolio to identify any offenders is advisable.

2. Panda penalty

The panda penalty targets low-quality content and penalizes sites that offer poor user experiences. Websites that apply duplicate content, thin content, and content factories are most at risk of being penalized. Google Panda uses machine learning to determine if content provides value to users. To recover from the panda penalty, website owners must improve their content and user experience. Some recovery strategies include adding original, informative, and engaging content, optimizing website speed, and fixing technical issues.

Manual Action Penalties

Manual action penalties are initiated by human reviewers at Google when they identify that a website has violated Google’s webmaster guidelines. These penalties require manual review and intervention by website owners to recover. Here are the most common types of manual action penalties:

1. Unnatural links penalty

The unnatural links penalty is similar to a penguin, but the difference is that it is a manual penalty instead of an algorithmic one. Manual reviewers may visit your website, review your link profile, and determine that there are manipulative practices in your backlink profile. To recover from this penalty, web admins should identify and remove spammy links.

2. Thin content penalty

Thin content refers to pages that offer little to no value to users. Google’s primary objective is to provide valuable content to users. Google can penalize websites with thin content pages that don’t offer any benefit. To recover from a light content penalty, web admins should identify pages with narrow content and either improve them with valuable content or remove them altogether.

3. Cloaking penalty

Cloaking is a black-hat SEO practice where a website shows different content to search engine bots and users. Google takes such an approach seriously and can penalize websites that use it. To recover from a cloaking penalty, web admins must remove all cloaking methods and show users and search engines the same content.

Google Penalty Recovery Strategies

Google penalty recovery strategies depend on the type of penalty. Here are some common scenarios that could apply to any of the Google penalties:

1. Conduct a website audit

The first step in Google penalty recovery is to conduct a website audit to identify violations that caused the penalty. Use tools such as google search console, ahrefs, majestic, and Semrush to identify spammy links, thin content, cloaking, other schema violations, and incorrect redirects. Once you have identified the root causes, fixing them will be easier and avoid suffering the same penalties again.

2. Remove or disavow bad backlinks

Suppose you get a penalty from penguins or unnatural links. Removing or disavowing links against Google’s guidelines is crucial in that case. Use tools such as ahrefs, majestic, and semrush links explorer to identify any wrong links, and reach out to website owners to remove any spammy links. If they can’t or refuse to remove them, create a disavow file and upload it to the Google search console.

3. Improve content

If you received a penalty for thin content or panda, you should focus on improving your website’s content. Look for thin pages with little or no content, and either remove them or add rich, informative, and engaging content. Also, remove or replace any duplicate content that can harm your website.

4. Fix technical issues

Technical issues such as 404 errors, incorrect redirects, and broken links can harm your website’s ranking. Fix such cases to recover from any Google penalties. Tools such as Google search console or screaming frog seo spider can help you identify any technical problems that need fixing.


Google penalties can have a significant impact on website traffic and rankings. Understanding the various types of Google penalties is essential in avoiding and recovering from them. Follow the guidelines and webmaster tools Google provides to stay within the search engine’s guidelines. If you receive a penalty, don’t panic. Follow the recovery strategies outlined above, and your website will return to normal in no time. Also, correct any grammar mistakes you find in the article.