Google Penalty Definition & Meaning

What Is A Google Penalty?

A Google Penalty is a negative effect applied to a website’s rankings based on a manual review or algorithm update. A manual action penalty will appear in Google Search Console along with a notification explaining why the penalty was applied. Penalties resulting from algorithm updates are not documented and usually manifest in a sudden traffic drop-off.

Discovering the reason for a penalty during an update can be difficult. Violating Google’s marketing practices, failing to acquire a website security certificate, or using content published on other sites are the most common reasons the penalty is administered.

Websites hit by the Google Penalty are pushed toward the bottom of search rankings, dramatically affecting their organic traffic. Additionally, repeated use of black hat SEO practices can result in a website’s removal from the Google index.

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Recovering from a Google Penalty takes time. It involves diagnosing and correcting all factors that contributed to the website’s search ranking demotion.

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Go to the SEO Glossary to find more terms and definitions that relate to the field of search engine optimization.