Do you know there are certain rules to increase your website visibility and traffic using SEO and Digital marketing tactics? If Google algorithms find any violation of its webmaster guidelines or any other unfair means you’ve used to boost website rankings. Then your website will be penalized by google. There’s no doubt in that.

So let’s know about the various types of google penalties? How do they affect your SEO and Digital Marketing Results? What do these penalties mean?

Google penalties can be applied by two ways which are;

  • Automatically (Algorithmic)
  • Manually by their human reviewers.

Let’s understand each one of them

Automatically Applied Penalties

The automatic penalties are the ones that are directly applied to your website by Google algorithm.

Updates in those algorithms like panda, penguin, and hummingbird thoroughly investigate your website using webmaster standards and guidelines. And based on that they punish your website which ultimately makes things worse.

Now, let’s understand these updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird) and know about the points they trigger while investigating your website.

Google Panda Algorithm

Introduced in 2011, panda aims to target websites with low quality, irrelevant, duplicate, outdated and thin content. Penalties by panda decrease your website visibility and rankings from SERPs.

The aim of google panda is to elevate the rank of high-quality websites that had great organic outcomes and performance.

Panda also targets websites that are using Black Hat SEO techniques to increase their visibility and rankings.

Google Penguin Algorithm

Just a year later, penguins came into the market to tackle spamming operations which cannot be identified by panda.

It is the worst-case scenario for any website to be penalized by Google penguin. It targets websites with unfair link building practices and spamming of links to increase traffic and ranking of the website.

Although, penguin also targets websites that repeat their targeted keywords over and over, also known as keyword stuffing.

Just like Google panda, penguin also captured black hat spamming tactics used by websites to improve their positions on search engines.

Google Hummingbird Algorithm

Again a year later Google introduced a hummingbird to provide best-in-class search results.

It is a google search algorithm that aims to provide relevant, reliable, and accurate search results to readers. It targets websites with overlap contents including less conversational tone.

Although, it also outrank low-quality websites that largely focused on individual keywords rather than conversational search.

Manually Applied Penalties By Google

User-Generated Spam

This usually happens, when you allow outside user/malicious visitors to add content and create pages on your website. The most common example of user-generated spam is comment spam on blogs, spam posts on forum threads, and free host spam accounts. 

The user-generated spam is acceptable up to some amount, but excess spam on your website forces google to take manual actions. Therefore, kindly monitor your websites regularly to prevent spam generated by users.

Unnatural Links

Unnatural links are artificial links that are intentionally created to decrease your website ranking. These links can largely affect the ranking of your website over time.

The unnatural links are sometimes difficult to identify. Therefore whenever you build links, try to avoid spammy link building practices.


The cloaking is a practice of tricking google by showing the full content of your website to it. But when readers visit your website, the content is less, restricted, and sometimes not accessible.

Pure Spam

When pages of your website contain scrapped content, cloaking, and unnatural links. This is where pure spam comes into play. 

Moreover, the volume of pure spam on the website increases the chances of getting poor ranking results.

Sneaky Mobile Redirects

It is the situation when the user is not able to find relative content while surfing your website using mobile devices. It means that you had intentionally redirected the user to other URLs rather than the original one.

AMP Content Mismatch

When your website is AMP optimized but it is showing different content to mobile users. In that case, Google penalized your website depending upon the volume of mismatch content appearing on mobile devices.

*What is AMP:-  The web pages may occur differently on mobile devices if compare to opening them in your workstation or laptop. To tackle this, AMP (Accelerate Mobile Pages) is used to optimize the web pages of your website to provide mobile-friendly internet experience to the user.

Hidden Texts

Texts which are intentionally hidden in the website content so that it is invisible and unreadable to users. Sometimes hidden links are also considered as part of hidden texts which are used to redirect the user to different destinations. 

Structured Data Issues

The structured data issues happen when the content of the website did not match with structured data or when the content represent on a website is completely different from structured data. 


Google penalties target unfair practices and black hat techniques adopted by website owners to improve their ranking and visibility. The Google penalty mechanism works on automatic and manual modes to punish respective sites.

It works on webmaster guidelines to preserve website authenticity. Some of the penalties applied by google may cause your website to outrank permanently from search engines. 

Things can get worse based on the type of penalties your website is subjected to. Therefore, it is highly advisable to avoid illegitimate ways of escalating website rankings.

And Finally..!!

Moral of the story

“Don’t ever try to trick Google, He is way smarter than you”

– Unknown

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