How to tell if you’ve been hit with a Google penalty

In this post I’m going to explain how you find out if you’ve been subject to a Google manual action.

So lets imagine… you’ve a great web site and it’s doing really well in the search engines…. then BAM it’s gone from the first page!


You regularly check where your website appears in the Google search engine rankings, but this morning something is wrong.  When you’ve typed in your keywords your site isn’t there on the first page!

After the initial confusion you start to panic.  What has caused my site site to disappear?! You click the number 2 to see if you’re on page 2. Nope it’s not there either!  Nor page 3 (no not that page 3)!

Now you really panic!

How can I tell if my site is penalised by Google?

The immediate thought is that the Google Gods must have been penalised (‘penalized’ for my american chums) your website.  So how can you really tell if you have been issued a Google Penalty?

First you need to be aware that your ranking could have been affected by either:

  1. A change/update to the Google algorithm.  For the non-seo people out there, Google works out which sites appear where in the listings by running a complicated calculation that scores each site. This algorithm is regularly updated to give users the most accurate results when they conduct a search (allegedly).
  2. A manual review of your web site.  This is when a Google employee (or contractor) has actually visited your website and it has then been flagged for spam or other naughty goings-on.  This is known as a manual action.

Next you need to be know that Google says fewer than two percent of domains in its index are manually removed due to spam. That is a tiny amount when you take into account how many websites there are.

Is my site subject to a manual action ?

Find out how to check if Google has carried out a manual action on your site … all I ask is a simple Like on Facebook, a Google +1 or a Tweet.

Hidden content alert – Click Like to reveal text and then read how to tell if you’ve been hit by a Google manual action….


You need to use Google Webmaster Tools.  Log in and make sure you’re checking the right site/url.

Google Webmaster Tools have introduced a new feature called Manual Actions viewer. It will leave no doubt if your site’s search rankings are affected by a manual web spam action.

It’s available under the “Search Traffic” tab. This tool complements the email notifications that Google already sends out to webmasters when it takes manual action against a website.

manual action check

If your site has been affected then you will see details on this page. There will be two headings: Site-wide matches and Partial matches. In both cases, Google will list what type of problems exist from a list of about a dozen categories. e.g. “hidden text and/or keyword stuffing,” “thin content,” “pure spam” plus some others.

There’s also quick access to a new “Request a Review” button. This button will be available when there are manual webspam actions listed. Clicking it will open a pop-up window where you can send Google details on what changes you have made in order to fix the problems identified.

Visitors to Google’s existing page about reconsideration requests will first be invited to use the Manual Actions viewer to make sure that there’s really a manual action in place.

Good luck and if you need help, give me shout.

^^^ Have you read the hidden section above on how to check if you've been hit by Google?  Click Like if you haven't. ^^^

If you find out that your site  hasn’t been issued a Google manual action penalty then your drop in rankings is due to a change or update in their algorithm.  You have narrowed the problem down to your site not getting a good score because of the Google scoring algorithm.  There are lots (I mean lots) of different things that could trigger a bad mark or make Google think your site isn’t as good as the other sites now listed on page one.  Identifying exactly what those things are is something for another day/post.

In the meantime if you can’t wait and you’d like me to investigate and find out what the problems are for you – I charge £150 for an analysis and report.  I can also get your site back up the rankings for a monthly fee – fees start at £275 per month.


Has your website received an Unnatural Links Penalty from Google? Having trouble getting it removed? The book, written by Dr. Marie Haynes is a step-by-step guide to what you need to do to recover from an unnatural links penalty. Checkout this book.

Haydon Rouse

Haydon is a business consultant / mentor and an expert at marketing and selling online. He genuinely wants to help you and provide exceptional service. Why? Because, when he achieves that, you will tell your friends about him. Haydon has been marketing and selling online for over 20 years. He has lived in East Kent all his life (cough... over 49 years.. cough), knows the local area like the back of his hand and has fantastic customer service skills. You can contact him here.

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