How to Check If Your Website Has Been Penalized By Google
As an SEO expert, one of the most common questions I get from clients is “Has my website been penalized by Google?” A penalty from Google can have a devastating effect on website traffic and search rankings. The good news is, there are a few ways to determine if your site has been penalized to fix the issues.
Check Your Google Search Console
The first place to check is Google Search Console (opens in a new tab), which provides information on your site's indexing and search performance. Look for any manual actions by Google against your site. This could indicate a penalty. You should also check other parameters like impressions, clicks, and average position to spot any major drops.
Analyze Your Organic Traffic
A steep drop in organic traffic could signal a Google penalty, especially if other rankings and metrics have remained stable. Log in to your analytics account and check if there were any major changes around the time of the traffic drop. If rankings, backlinks (opens in a new tab), on-page content etc. have stayed the same, it's likely due to a penalty.
Review Your Rankings For Important Keywords
Do a manual check of your keyword rankings for high-volume terms that used to drive a lot of traffic to your site. If you've fallen significantly in rankings across the board, especially in terms of 10+ positions, that is usually a sign of a penalty.
Check for Messages in Google Search Results
Sometimes Google will actually display messages in search results about penalties, warnings, or manual actions against a website. Do some sample searches for your important keywords and see if any alerts are showing for your domain.
Request A Manual Review
If you've determined your site was likely penalized, you can request a manual review through Google Search Console (opens in a new tab). Submit a reconsideration request asking Google to review and re-index your site. Be prepared to make significant changes to content and backlinks to revive your site.
The key to recovering from a Google penalty is identifying and resolving any underlying issues with your on-page content, backlink profile, technical SEO issues, and more. With the right changes and by submitting a successful reconsideration request, you can have your site penalty lifted and regain top rankings in Google.