Did your organic traffic drop all of a sudden?
Then you’ve got a Google Penalty!
It’s severely disheartening to see that your site that used to get thousands of page views is now getting only a handful of page views.
Your income takes a hit, all your dreams appear to be shattered.
Uncertainty haunts you.
Thankfully for you, in this post, I’ll be presenting you some of the Google Penalty Checkers that help you quickly check and diagnose any penalties on your site.
If your content is not following Google Webmaster Guidelines and has low-quality content, Google starts to drive significantly less traffic to your content.
When it comes to penalties, you have two types:
It can occur at any time, preferably a search evaluator flags your website for going against Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Thankfully, unlike other types of algorithmic updates, Google notifies you of this kind of manual penalties.
In case if you have any issues, there will be a notification.
In this case, you need to click “Request review” and consider filing a reconsideration request.
There are different reasons why you may get a manual penalty.
Among them, these are the main ones:
- User-generated spam
- Unnatural links to your site
- Unnatural links from your site
- Thin content with little or no added value
- Cloaking and/or sneaky redirects
- Pure spam
- Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing
Make sure that the reconsideration request is honest, and should feel like an apology than an argument. You should explain to them how you’ve fixed the issue.
As Google has incorporated machine learning, its search ranking algorithms go through several updates in a year.
Some of these updates will be quite big, causing massive disruption in the SERP landscape.
By seeing the history of major Google search updates, I have listed below the most common reasons why your site may get hit.
- Content quality: Your content may be of low-quality and it’s not properly researched (Panda and other core updates focus on these). You may be in a niche like medicines where expertise, authority, and trustworthiness is important but you are lacking in them (Google Medic update). Your content may lack freshness (Google Caffeine update). Or you may even have duplicate or spun content on your site.
- Spammy links: If your content has got a lot of spam backlinks that are from low-authoritative and irrelevant sites, you may get hit by Google. The infamous Penguin updates focus on these.
But lately, Google seems to be no more naming the updates. It’s the SEO community that names these updates.
Periodically Google releases the core updates in which they may target one or all of the things we have discussed.
Sometimes, your website may get hit for no good reason. Maybe because of some glitch in the algorithmic updates (leading to false positives).
If you’re sure that’s the case, you need to wait for the update and its effects to settle and wait for the correction updates (typically within 2-3 months of the update). You don’t need to fix the things that aren’t broken. Patience is the key here.
Google Sandbox period, should not be misinterpreted as the Google penalty. Whenever your site is new, it goes through a probationary period when your site does not receive any organic traffic. This is called Google Sandbox and it’s different from the Google penalty.
SEMrush Sensor – Best competitor penalty checker
SEMrush Sensor is the most reliable Google update and penalty checker.
It has the biggest search keyword database in the world.
The size of the database is really important, as these tools report the updates across various niches by looking at the fluctuations of rankings for the keywords.
More keywords in the database = more accurate results.
Here the main thing you need to see is the “Volatility score”.
In the above screenshot, you can see the score is 3.8/10, which says the volatility is quite normal.
On the other hand, if there are any Google Updates, the score will be above 8 or 9.
When writing this blog post, a week ago we saw a broad core Google update.
And also, as you can see the impact is across all the categories – hence it’s a broad core update.
On the other hand, if the Google update is any industry-specific, then you can see high fluctuations only in those industry-related categories.
The niche-specific fluctuation metric is really the most unique feature that you can find only with SEMrush. No other tools that I mention below come with this feature.
If you’re already tracking your site for specific keywords, SEMrush can also correlate the changes in your tracked keyword's positions against the Google updates and gives you a probability score of being penalized.
You can make use of SEMrush’s domain overview tool to know whether your competitors are hit with Google updates.
When you enter any domain name, SEMrush will display a traffic trend graph.
SEMrush also has Google updates marked in the X-axis. With this, you can easily correlate spikes and bumps in your traffic with Google updates and check penalties for your site.
This graph alone will be a really good Google penalty checker for you.
You can’t expect any tool to report the loss of traffic immediately after the update is rolled. Google Penalty takes around a week or two to completely reflect in the traffic graph.
Accuranker Grump is a free tool provided by Accuranker (a rank tracker we personally use in all of our projects).
As you can see in the above image, based on the fluctuations happening in Google SERPs, this tool displays you a score.
When you head over to the tool, here you can select the country or leave it as global, select desktop/mobile as the device and get the ratings.
You can see that on the day when I was writing this blog post, Google was chill!
You even have a really good timeline view of displaying all the volatility in the Google rankings. The slider goes to as back as 2015.
Compared to some other tools which I’ll discuss, Accuranker excels in historical data as well.
Panguin Tool – Best penalty checker for your site
Panguin Tool by Barracuda Digital is a free tool that integrates with your Google Analytics. Once you integrate, you need to select your Google Analytics property.
Surprisingly, unlike other tools, it doesn’t take any time to pull up your data and correlate it with major Google updates.
You can add the date filters to as back as 2005. You can also toggle off unwanted updates, as you can see at the bottom of the screenshot.
Unlike in the case of SEMrush, you can’t check the Google penalty of your competitors with this tool. Because this tool relies on Google Analytics integration for pulling traffic data and not any API.
This tool appears to be the cleanest tool out there to clearly correlate Google updates with your website’s traffic.
Fruition is really a good tool for determining exactly what updates are impacting your site.
It is a freemium tool. For accessing their Google penalty checker, you need to first create a free account with Fruition.
One you create, it’ll ask you to integrate your Google Analytics account with it and select the sites you want to check.
Once you integrate, it may take around 2 mins for Fruition to analyze your site data.
It’ll correlate your Google Analytics traffic changes with the timeline of major Google algorithmic updates, and helps you check if your site was penalized.
Mozcast is another great tool by which you can determine whether there are any Google updates being rolled out.
They report the Google SERP fluctuations dubbed as temperature.
Unlike SEMrush, with Mozcast you can’t determine the category-specific changes. The report is not comprehensive.
You’ll get to know the SERP weather report for the past 30 days.
You just need to head over to their tool and submit your website and search database details.
This tool generates reports from SEMrush’s data. So you can expect the traffic numbers to be the same as that of SEMrush.
You can toggle the below buttons on/off depending upon the type of updates you need to focus on.
This is really a quick tool for diagnosing your traffic loss and checking Google penalty.
Rank Ranger comes with a Rank Risk Index tool that’s essentially quite similar to MozCast.
You get the last 30-days rank fluctuation graphs of both desktop and mobile index.
Blue and green colors in the graph mean everything is normal. If the graphs are orange or red, it indicates that there are a lot of fluctuations.
Apart from these features, there are not really more features built to this tool.
You need to first determine the exact reason for the slapping of penalty on your site.
If it’s an algorithmic update, you need to educate yourself about:
- What was the update about?
- What category did the update target? Or is it a broad core update?
- Who are the biggest winners and losers of the update? What went wrong with them?
You need to educate yourself as much as possible.
As I’m in the SEO space since 2013, I can say that most of the major updates revolve around:
- Content quality
- Backlink quality
Google really hates duplicate content. Especially with Google Knowledge Graph in place, more than ever, Google is very specific about the quality of the content and that should be error-free.
If you have a lot of webpages on your website that are not driving enough value to your audience, it’s time to do a content audit.
When we migrated and rebranded our site to BloggingX, we did a major content audit – so I’m gonna copy and paste the framework we followed.
Of course, you can alter the number of page views (refer to the above screenshot) so that it suits your business well.
By following this process, you can be pretty sure that almost all the webpages on your website return value to your users.
If you’re building backlinks to your site aggressively, Google may have penalized your site for spammy backlinks.
You need to identify the toxic backlinks pointing to your site and disavow them (ask Google not to consider them) on Google Search Console.
In short, toxic backlinks to your site are from low authoritative and irrelevant sites.
How do you determine what backlinks are toxic and what are not?
You can make use of SEMrush’s Backlink Audit Tool.
You need to enter your domain name in the tool, and SEMrush will analyze all your backlinks for toxicity.
Unless you’re not building low-quality backlinks trying to manipulate Google rankings, you should be fine with it.
If you don’t have access to SEMrush, you can sign up for our free trial of SEMrush.
Or else, you can head over to the “Links” section of your Google Search Console.
Here you can export the referring domain report.
Now, carry out the below three steps:
- Make use of any bulk DA checker tools to sort the domains of my authority.
- Now, visit the sites that have really low DA and appear spammy.
- Once you have a list of sites that are spammy, you can head over to Link Disavow Tool in Google Search Console and submit them in order for Google to negate them.
Once you have disavowed your toxic backlinks, you can’t expect your ranking to improve all of a sudden.
In fact most of the time, it’ll take a couple of months to get partial rankings back (as you’ve negated the toxic backlinks that may have contributed to inflated rankings before the Google penalty).
I hope you loved this post on Google penalty checkers.
Other than correlating your rankings and traffic with major Google updates, there’s no surefire way to check whether your site is penalized or not.
Google rolls out hundreds of updates regularly. Not all of them cause wide disruptions.
On the other hand, it’s totally normal for your keyword rankings also to fluctuate. Traffic loss/gain of 20% is usual and is part of the process.
You need to only keep an eye on major Google updates.
If you’re sure that there’s an issue with your site and that led to a penalty, you need to fix them and wait for Google to reassess your site (which may take a couple of months).
With any Google penalty recovery, patience is the key.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission with no additional cost incurred to you :-)