Google wants to provide its users with accurate information, original content, and the best writers on the web. It is constantly making changes and fine-tuning its algorithms to ensure the best of what the web has to offer is seen.

However, there is a downside to this: a penalty.

 A penalty is the result of Google finding something on your website that he does not like. Sometimes, a penalty is justified, but even when you know you have done something wrong, you may still want to take action.

 Now, you do not want your site to be penalized by Google. What Google penalties could affect your site's SEO?

With that in mind, we have crafted this guide: 10 Google penalties that could affect your site's SEO. Here you go!

 What Actually a Google Penalty Is?

Google's ranking algorithms have been around since 2000 when they released their toolbar extension.

The toolbar update began what would eventually become known as the SEO industry.

It was the first real publication of PageRank in any meaningful or usable format.

Google continued to refine its search results over the next decade and a half. As it did so, it began to eliminate low-quality content and move the good stuff higher up the SERPs – where penalties came into play.

In 2012, Google rolled out the Penguin update.

It impacted over 1 in every ten search results in a matter of days, wiping out some sites altogether, pushing low-quality content out of the equation, and forcing optimizers to rethink their entire content strategy.

Since then, SEO pros have been very aware of Google's plans and have been on the lookout for the next update in case it penalizes a site they are working on.

These are ten Google penalties that could affect your site's SEO:

  • Sneaky Redirects & Incorrect Content (Cloaking)

Sneaky Redirects redirect users to a page that is not the same as the one displayed on Google.

On the other hand, Cloaking in SEO describes a black-hat SEO technique in which a website hides one version of its URLs, pages, or content from the search engines while displaying another to its real visitors.

When done intentionally, it is an attempt to deceive crawl bots and is a serious breach of Google's webmaster standards.

On the other hand, it can also happen by accident, so it is important to know what it is, why you should not use it, and what you should do if you do.

Both Sneaky Redirects and Cloaking violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

  • Broken Links

Links are not just for showing your sources or potential customers the next step in the buyer's journey.

 They are also really important for SEO.

Google looks at links in the copy for two main reasons: finding SEO equity and looking for related content.

SEO equity is how well your website shows up in search engine results. If you keep providing quality content, your SEO will probably go up.

Links from sites with higher levels of SEO equity will help boost your site's SEO.

Track your links over time and make sure none of your links are broken. It is a simple task that can make all the difference in SEO and help you rank higher on Google's search engine results pages.

  • Plagiarized Content

Duplicate or plagiarized content gets penalized by another element of the algorithm known as Google Panda.

Google aims to deliver the best content to users based on their search intent. Copying content is not the best way to reach users.

However, unique content can give you a fresh perspective on a topic that sets your website apart from your competitors.

Google sees your text's uniqueness and rewards you for it.

Duplicated content does not help users and instead hinders them from finding the best content to search for.

Having duplicate content on your site increases your chances of being penalized.

Therefore, you need to make sure that all your content is written from a unique perspective.

Once you finish writing the copy, you must check its uniqueness using an online plagiarism checking tool. If your written text is duplicated, you can remove it or rephrase it.

  • Not having a mobile-friendly website

Search engines are designed to deliver the most relevant information in an easy-to-read format. Your site needs to be easy to navigate as well.

A report unveiled that more than 90% of the global internet population went online on a mobile device in 2021.

Google recognizes that most internet users are browsing the web on their smartphones.

As a result, Google rewards websites with mobile-friendly designs.

If you built your site to look good on your desktop, it may be time to rethink your design. Developing a site that works seamlessly on mobile is among the most effective ways to improve your ranking in Google SERPs.

  • Incorrect use of H tags

When Google scans your web pages, it learns what is on them. The easier it is for Google to scan your web pages, the faster it finds your great content and the more likely they are to rank your site.

You need to use H tags to help search engines crawl your web pages. H tags are the headings on your web pages.

For example, a page's title should be in the H1 position and the subheadings in the H2 position. If there is a subheading in one of the H2 positions, it will be in the H3 position.

There is more to H tags than just aesthetically pleasing formatting. H tags are coded differently from the body text of your web pages.

This allows Google to understand what each section of your page is about.

If you want to rank your site on the Google SERPs, you should use the correct H tags. You can change the heading style from H1 to H2 to H3 to improve your SEO.

  • Keyword Stuffing

When it comes to content creation, there are many unconventional and fascinating ‘guidelines' regarding keyword density.

 In reality, an excessively high keyword density is a sign of poor writing quality. This, in turn, raises questions about the effectiveness of content and reader engagement.

In the complex world of search engine optimization, Google is one of the most important players. It checks web content to make sure it is valuable and relevant to users.

If Google's algorithms find an unusually high number of keywords on a single page, this can lead to a penalty.

The reason for this is to stop people from gaming the system by keyword stuffing, which damages the integrity of content.

  • Scrapped Content

Many people in charge of websites fall into the trap of downloading content from other sites to increase the content on their pages.

This is often done for good reasons; in some cases, it may be due to an oversight.

However, search engines, especially Google, view this as a form of duplication. From Google's point of view, this kind of content recycling does not add value to users and can hurt a website's ranking and visibility.

A better and more productive approach would be creating and incorporating original and unique content.

Not only does this align with good content creation practices, but it also helps establish your website as a trusted and authoritative resource for information.

When visitors see fresh and original content that meets their needs and interests, they are more likely to interact with your site, spend more time there, and maybe even share it with others.

  • Overuse of Anchor Text

Back in the day, SEO experts worked hard to make sure their websites were as authoritative and visible as possible.

But then came the Penguin update in 2012, which changed everything.

It warned against relying too much on anchor text linking and started to emphasize organic and user-friendly practices.

Suddenly, the old way of stuffing keywords into anchor text was no longer enough - search engines had to be more authentic and make it easier for people to find what they were looking for.

This made using natural, conversational language in your content and linkages even more important.

On the other hand, the new directive promotes the integration of “natural, everyday language” links.

The modern SEO landscape encourages the use of “real English language” links to create a connection that is not only easy to use but also compatible with the ever-changing algorithms of search engines.

  • Links Sourced from Websites in a Foreign Language

Picture this: You get a perfectly good link from a client in another country, but it ends up being demerited against your site. Does not it seem unfair?

But if you dig a little deeper, it all makes sense.

Google's reasoning is simple: users tend to like content in one language better than another. Therefore, links leading to foreign websites may not be as helpful to them.

Google's approach is in line with user satisfaction and relevance.

  • Having a Slow Site Speed

When your website takes too long to load, your users get frustrated. This problem is caused by a number of complex factors that affect hosting speeds.

To solve this problem, you need to analyze and troubleshoot the interplay of many factors.

To solve this problem quickly, you can implement a caching plugin or use a CDN (Content Delivery Network). These solutions can help you speed up load times and improve user experiences.

When it comes to website performance, all of these things add up to a smooth and engaging browsing experience, which keeps users on your site and gives a great impression of your online presence.


Google penalties can significantly affect a website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

If your site receives a Google penalty, it could be ranked lower in the SERPs or even taken off the index entirely. This can seriously affect your website's traffic and income.

To avoid Google penalties, you will need to create a website that adheres to Google's best practices for webmasters. This includes creating content that's unique, relevant, and informative. You will also need to avoid spam or manipulative SEO techniques.

Following the guidelines mentioned in this guide will help you avoid Google penalties and ensure your website continues to rank high in the SERPs.