Mary Rowling in IT - Information Technology, SEO Sep 22, 2020 · 4 min read · +700

Different Types of Google Penalties and Solutions for Recovery

There is no need to panic when you receive a manual action report in Google Search Console. You can easily recover from it if you know the right solutions. 

Here in this blog, you will get to know how to get back on track after getting hit by Google penalties. 

Does anyone like to be penalised by Google? Definitely not!

Different Types of Google Penalties and Solutions for Recovery

The after-effects of a penalty and manual action can not only be devastating but can also tamper your reputation in the market. You lose visibility, traffic, and then revenue. 

So, how do you bounce back once you are penalised? 

Let’s try to take a note from here: 

Algorithm Vs. Penalty

Generally, people are not sure about algorithms and penalties, hence tend to mistake algorithm for a penalty. We have heard about eminent Panda and Penguin updates, which are not penalties in any way but are algorithms. An algorithm is a set of rules and calculations that come into play to deliver the desired results. 

Coming to Panda and Penguin, Google is expected to reward the website in the SERP that meets the quality standards set by webmaster guidelines. Human reviewers are also employed by Google to manually review and rate websites that pass the algorithm but does not keep up with Google’s quality standards.

However, when you find yourself on the wrong side of the algorithm, then you will definitely feel like you are being penalised. The results can vary – could be huge and sometimes disturbing due to unthinkable organic traffic loss. 

Knowing the difference between having your website affected due to a manual penalty or due to setting off an algorithm is very crucial. This will help you decide how to move forward while developing a strategy for recovery. The main difference between the dealing of two is how and in what circumstance they interact directly with Google. 

A website is sent a manual action report via Google Search Console when penalised by Google. After the given violations are resolved, a requirement to analyse the origin of the problems and their resolution needs to be elucidated in a 'reconsideration request.'

On the other hand, there is no need for filing a reconsideration request to avoid the algorithmic smackdown.

Here, we will come to know about 6 types of Google manual action and also the steps for recovery.

  • Cloaking and/or Sneaky Redirects

Cloaking refers to showing different content to users than the one shown to Google. Sneaky redirect is when users are redirected to different pages other than the one shown to Google. Both actions break the guidelines of the webmaster.

Penalties are of two types:

Partial matches that affect a section of your website.

Site-wide matches that affect your entire website.


Start with, 

Go to Google Search Console > Crawl > Fetch as Google

Then find out the pages from the affected sections of the site. 

Compare the two content – the one on your webpage and the one that is fetched by Google.

Fix all the differences between the two and make them the same. 

Now check all the redirects and remove those that:

Send users to unknown places.

Conditionally redirect (i.e. only redirecting users that come from a certain source).

Are 'sneaky'

Then you can submit a ‘reconsideration request’ after these problems are resolved.

  • Cloaking: Violation of ‘First Click Free’ Policy 

The cloaking penalty is charged on websites that display full content to Google but restricted content to users, especially those users who land on the pages using Google’s services keeping up with Google’s ‘First Click Free’ policy. If a website asks its users to register, subscribe, or log in to see the whole content then it is not in compliance with the policy of Google. 

In such a situation the penalty comes is in two forms:

Partial matches that affect a section of your website.

Site-wide matches that affect the entire website.


Follow Google’s ‘first click policy’ carefully. The content that comes from Google’s services must be the same for both users and Google. You can make all necessary changes to meet the Google policy standards. Allow users to see the full content on your website, without compelling them to register, subscribe, or login, if the content is coming from Google’s services. 

You will have to submit a ‘reconsideration request’ after the issue is resolved. 

  • Cloaked Images

Cloaking can be seen in images too. Here are some examples:

Images are covered by another image.

Images are different from the image served.

Redirect users away from the image.


Show the same image to users as you show to Google. 

You will have to submit a ‘reconsideration request’ after the issue is resolved.

  • Hacked Website

The only intention of hackers is to exploit various websites and inject malicious content for their gain. WordPress and other content management systems are their main target. The content is mostly cloaked and is not easy to find and resolve.

When Google takes up the case, ‘this site is hacked’ notification is then inserted into the search results for attacked pages. This mostly results in a drop in organic traffic. 


Connect to your web host and get a support team.

Isolate your website to protect it from further damage.

Take the help of the search console to identify the type of hacking. 

Evaluate the damage. Find out whether it’s a spam or a malware. 

Assess the vulnerability of the website to find out how the hacker intruded it. 

Clean all the clutters and close the vulnerability that made intrusion easy for the hacker. 

Request for review of your website to Google and submit a ‘reconsideration request’ for the ‘hacked label.’

However, few proactive steps can save you from all the above turmoil. You can take precautionary measures and install website security features on your website. Keep your website clean and take backups regularly to save the data from getting lost. 

  • Hidden Text and/or Keyword Stuffing

Google has found that many websites have a habit of using hidden texts or practising keyword stuffing, which is not compliant with Google’s policy.  

The two forms of penalty are:

Partial matches that affect some parts of your website.

Site-wide matches that affect the entire website.


Go to Google Search Console > Crawl > Search for pages from the affected sections of your site.

Find out the text that looks similar in colour to the body of the webpage. 

Find out the hidden text using CSS styling or positioning.

Remove or change all hidden text 

Remove or change paragraphs with repeated words without context. 

Fix <title> tags and alt text having strings of repetitive words.

Remove all the instances of keyword stuffing.

Lastly, submit, ‘reconsideration request’ after the issue is fixed. 

  • Pure Spam

When it comes to spamming the website, one cannot plead/feign ignorance. This penalty is for websites that engage in all kinds of spammy content, techniques, scrapped content, cloaking, keyword stuffing, automated rubbish, among other annoying violations of webmaster guidelines.

The two forms of penalty are:

Partial matches that affect some parts of your website.

Site-wide matches that affect the entire website.


By any chance, if this is the violation from your end then put things in place immediately and adhere to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If it is a second violation, then simply close everything and start fresh. It is unrealistic for you to expect that google will give you another chance after breaching their trust continuously.

Then submit a ‘reconsideration request’ after the issue is fixed. 


It is impossible to trick Google. If you want a website that helps you achieve your online goals without creating hindrance, and then simply follow Google Webmaster Guidelines for a smooth online ride. If you are still confused, then it would be better to hire a professional SEO company with experienced digital marketers that can help you achieve your digital goals.

abdullah ibrahim Sep 24, 2020 · #1

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