Googleโ€™s business model relies on customers trusting the results they serve up in their searches. Thatโ€™s why they penalise websites that are doing things that they see as deceptive, harmful or consumer-unfriendly. These penalties have a devastating effect on your siteโ€™s rank in the search results. Certain penalties can take you out of the results entirely.

Unfortunately, those arenโ€™t the only types of penalties โ€“ you can get penalised through no fault of your own if youโ€™re the victim of hacking, or if the wrong sites decide to link to you. Google also judges the quality of your content and may hand out a penalty if they feel it is not useful to users or has been copied from someone else.

Fortunately, a penalty doesnโ€™t mean the death of your website. Google wants you to identify and fix problems with your site, not take it off the web entirely.

Thatโ€™s where our penalty recovery service comes in. Weโ€™ll identify why Google is currently penalising you and develop a strategy to fix it.

Google Panda and Google Penguin algorithms
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Unfortunately, many business sites are suffering from penalties because of the underhanded actions of a digital marketing or SEO agency they had previously hired.

Ever since Google first launched, the amount of sites that link into your business has been a major factor in where you appear in the search results. The most primitive version of Google basically just counted the raw amount of links to each site and declared the one with the most the victor.

Of course, that system was ripe for abuse. To maintain the quality of their search results (and their core business model), Google has transitioned over time from prioritising quantity of links to quality. Unfortunately, there was a long period where the scales were tipped more to quantity than quality. โ€œBlack hatโ€ SEO agencies used all sorts of devious tricks to game the system.

Google has caught up with just about all of these tricks at this point, and has started handing out penalties to sites still using them. Many businesses unknowingly still have the lingering damage from these โ€œblack hatโ€ methods dragging them down, however.


Cleaning up after penalties can be complicated. They can come from measures on your site, black-hat backlinking schemes on third-party sites that are still out in the wild causing problems for you, or a combination of the two.

Weโ€™ll track down these issues and make sure they are eliminated. We can also implement new โ€œwhite hatโ€ linking methods that are ethical and within Googleโ€™s guidelines, but will still help to boost your siteโ€™s visibility and placement in search results.

yellow and red penalty cards going into a recycling bin

Google Penalty FAQs

A Google penalty is what you’ll get if Google believes you’re violating its terms and conditions. This includes the use of blackhat techniques to improve your search position.

A true penalty is different from the drop in rankings experienced following an algorithm change. It sometimes meansย your website no longer appears in any search results โ€” unless you take action to fix it.

There are a few ways you can check your website to find vulnerabilities that put you at risk of a Google penalty.

Your link profile is the most important. Monitor external links to your website to ensure they are of high-quality, relevant links. Links that look like spam put you at risk.

In the early days of SEO, it wasnโ€™t unusual to see people using unethical strategies to increase their position in the search results.

These violate the terms set by Google โ€” and you should avoid them at all costs. Black hat SEO techniques include:

  • Paying for backlinks to increase your backlink profile,
  • Keyword stuffing in website content (using the same keyword too much on one page),
  • Using invisible text in your website content to trick the search engine.

Digital Meal recommend only using white hat SEO services & optimisation techniques to ensure your website wonโ€™t be penalized by Google.

If you want to learn SEO for your business, there are many great places to start.

Start with some of the popular SEO blogs โ€” such as Moz and Search Engine Journal โ€” to learn from the best in the industry.

If your website puts search users at risk, this could put you on Google’s blacklist. This includes:

  • Websites that contain malware,
  • Websites with suspected phishing scams,
  • Illegal content,
  • Buying or selling backlinks.

Itโ€™s natural for your rankings to fluctuate slightly. The search rankings in engines such as Google and Bing are constantly changing as the websites around you work on their SEO (either intentionally or unintentionally).

These natural variations should reduce as your page ranking gets closer to the top.

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