Google penalties can be a death sentence for online businesses. Sites penalized by Google can see their traffic drop off a cliff, leaving them scrambling to try and figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The only way to get your traffic back is by using Google penalty checker tools.
This blog post will discuss some of the best Google penalty checker tools available online. We will also talk about what each tool will teach you in order to improve your SEO and get your site back on track.
Before making significant changes to correct a drop in website traffic, you’ll want to use a Google penalty checker tool that analyzes your site to determine if you’ve received a penalty. Making uninformed changes to your website will cause more confusion and make it harder to determine the actual problem.
Below are the best Google penalty tools to access your site’s status and give you insights on how to get your site ranking in top positions again.
Moz is well-known in marketing as one of the most powerful SEO tools available. Although it won’t list specific Google penalties your site has incurred, it will list all the algorithm updates from Google that are confirmed and unconfirmed.
If you’ve noticed your organic traffic take a sudden hit, check the Mozcast feature to see if an algorithm update could be the cause.
The feature is separate from the paid plans and is free to use for any site owner.
Unless there is a Google algorithm update you weren’t aware of, the likely cause of your traffic drop is a Google penalty. The tool is free to use even if you don’t have a Moz account and acts as a great first step to understanding what went wrong with your site.
SEMRush is one of the most comprehensive Google penalty checker tools on the market.
You’ll see Google analytics displayed concerning various website data including:
- Traffic visitors
- Organic keywords
- Referring domains
- SERP rankings
- Domain rating
The Sensor feature is where you’ll get information on whether or not you’ve received one of the infamous Google penalties.
You’ll be able to see SERP volatility and compare it to how your site is performing after updates occur.
Any Google algorithm change will be logged along with helpful insights on specific niches that were hit particularly hard by an update.
If you’re just looking for a tool that checks for a Google penalty, SEMRush Sensor is exactly what you need. However, if you want a powerful SEO tool that has all the bells and whistles in one location, you’ll want to get a full SEMRush plan.
AccuRanker Grump, like most tools on this list, helps you monitor the Google changes to the algorithm that would cause your site to drop in traffic. The difference in AccuRanker is they have a bit of fun while tracking the changes.
A tiger face decorates the dashboard to signal whether an algorithm change has taken place.
If the tiger is in a good mood, Google has not made many changes. If the tiger is in a bad mood, an algorithm update is in progress.
The tool doesn’t track your Google Analytics though. So, if your site has dropped in traffic and the tiger face is still happy, it’s likely you’ve received a penalty.
The site is updated daily and has different filters to organize the data.
Rank Ranger is one of the Google penalty checker tools that shows you the Google changes that have occurred over the past few months. You can use the data to see if you’ve been given a manual penalty.
The tool looks at over 10,000 domains and keywords that are monitored daily to assess SERP fluctuations.
The results are displayed in a graph chart that shows color-coded fluctuations. Red means fluctuations are high, and chances are there are changes to the algorithm being made by Google. Cross-reference this data with your site analytics to determine what changes need to be made to get your traffic back.
This is one of the more straightforward tools that doesn’t get bogged down by extra metrics. A quick look at the dashboard will tell you everything you need to know about your site’s progress.
Pro Tip: Rank Ranger is free to use and serves as a great starting point in your Google penalty research
Completely free to use, FE International is a simple and easy tool that logs all Google updates and compares them to your website traffic. The tool isn’t quite as easy to read as other platforms on this list since all the color-coded lines make it hard to tell what’s going on.
Once you get the hang of it, FE International is easy to use. Clicking on a specific part of the graph will focus on the selected area and give you even more information and insights.
All results are displayed with a color-coded graph so you can easily tell between the particular Google algorithm update.
All you have to do to use the tool is enter in your domain name, and your site stats will be displayed in seconds. The tool isn’t good for much more than checking algorithm changes, so if you want accurate Google Analytics data or other information, you’ll need to go with another option.
Google Search Console
The Google Search Console is officially run by the Google team and tracks your website traffic progress and performance.
The Google Search Console is one of the best penalty checker tools available and one of the first places you should look.
Unlike other tools that show algorithm changes, you’ll easily see any penalties added to your site in Google Search Console and receive notifications if you miss them.
On top of displaying penalties, the Google Search Console also shows you Google Analytics data like:
- number of visitors
- daily impressions
- mobile errors
- security issues
Site owners should check the Google Search Console weekly, if not daily, to ensure no Google penalties have been enforced and website traffic is trending upward.
No other Google penalty checker tools on this list cut straight to the point, quite like Panguin. The tool has been specifically designed to check for a Google penalty using your own Google Analytics accounts.
Panguin works by gathering your website data over the past two years and overlaying it with Google algorithm changes.
Like most other tools on this list, you’ll be able to easily check a Google update and look at the fluctuations it has called in the SERPs.
Every statistic in Panguin is displayed visually so even first-time users can find the information they need quickly.
The best part about Panguin is you don’t have to pay a single penny to use it. The Google penalty checker tool is completely free and provides enough data to be considered by any site owner.
Fruition is a freemium Google penalty checker tool that uses its own proprietary algorithms and in-house team to determine reasons for website spikes and drops.
You’ll be able to receive insights on whether your site has suffered a Google penalty and what you can do about it.
The penalty checker tool uses different graphs and charts that display data from the past three months of your site.
Fruition logs even unconfirmed changes to the algorithm, so you know you’re getting a full look at whether or not your site is receiving a penalty.
FYI: Only established websites will be able to use Fruition as the platform needs at least 5,000 monthly visits to correctly gather data for your site.
Developed by DEJAN, Algoroo is a simple tool that tracks Google changes in the algorithm. The penalty checker monitors specific keywords and checks on search rankings and fluctuations.
Higher fluctuations are measured with a different color than days when fluctuations are small. Algoroo measures fluctuations in “roo” which is their own term.
You can search back years of traffic to see the different changes in the Google search engine.
All the Google core algorithm updates are logged and detailed in CognitiveSEO signals. Although you won’t be able to see your own traffic data in comparison, the tool goes into far more depth than other tools that function similarly.
CognitiveSEO monitors an impressive 100,000 keywords for mobile and desktop as well as local rankings.
You’ll get options to check the top 10, 20, or 50 results on Google. There’s also an option to look over the top 3,5, or 10 positions on the very first page. This will let you know if an update is a cause for any changes or if a Google penalty has been added to your site.
Other features of the Google penalty checker tool include:
- Content optimization
- Backlink checker
- Penalty recovery
- SEO dashboard
- Marketing reports
- Rank tracker
What Is A Google Penalty
A Google penalty is given to websites that violate Google’s terms of service by using poor practices. Penalties are either manually or automatically served to websites, which can cause a website to drop significantly in rankings.
Google’s algorithm updates happen periodically throughout the year, and each one focuses on certain website practices that cause unfair advantages for site owners.
Blackhat methods like using PBN services, keyword stuffing, or cloaking can all result in a penalty.
If a penalty is deemed bad enough, it has the potential to remove a website from the Google search engine index entirely. Website traffic will drop immediately, and the site will have a very difficult time fixing the issue to regain ranking status.
How Does Your Site Get A Google Penalty
When a site owner uses bad practices to grow their website, Google takes action so that results are not manipulated in any way. Below are several reasons your site may incur a penalty from Google:
- Keyword stuffing
- Hidden links
- Spyware, viruses, adware
- Duplicate content
- Pages with irrelevant keywords
- Deceptive redirects
- Using PBNs
If your site does receive a penalty, you’ll be able to notice it in a couple of ways.
For starters, your website traffic will drop significantly. You can check this information through your Google Search Console or Google Analytics. The Search Console will go as far as display the penalty and notify you of the infraction.
Secondly, you can check one of the tools listed above to track algorithm updates. If no update has occurred, you likely have received a penalty.
How To Fix A Google Penalty
The first step to correcting a penalty given by Google is to stop the action that is causing the penalty. Stop using bad link services, don’t try to manipulate Google’s rankings, and don’t continue to use duplicate content on your website.
Read through Google’s terms of service or the Google Search Essentials to ensure you understand what Google deems appropriate and inappropriate.
Once you have removed the problem causing the penalty, you can use the steps below to recover your site’s traffic.
Understand Your Penalty Thoroughly
Messages sent to you from Google will help you understand what kind of penalty you have received. If the message is vague, take some time to research the type of penalty it may be. The Webmaster Guidelines are a great resource because they tell you exactly what not to do on your website.
Set aside a few hours to research how others have acted to resolve their penalty. You’ll find helpful articles about specific google updates and penalties on any of these popular SEO tool blogs:
Consult an SEO expert with experience helping sites recover from penalties if needed. They’ll likely have an outline of steps you need to take to get your site back in Google’s good standing.
Take Security Measures
One of the more frustrating penalties to receive involves your website being hacked. If Google detects any malware that includes spammy or harmful content, your site will immediately be penalized.
Google wants to protect searchers from visiting sites that could cause potential harm to their computers so they will remove the website from SERPs until the issue is resolved.
If your site has been hacked, take these steps:
- Change all passwords on the site (admin, FTP, Cpanel, etc)
- Update to the latest software versions
- Install a security plugin
- Remove any malicious code
- Restore any lost content
If you’re not familiar with how to take these steps, it’s best to contact your hosting provider or an expert. The key concept is to remove the malware while simultaneously creating protection against any future attacks.
Remove Unnatural or Spammy Links
You’re probably already aware one of the fastest ways to grow a site is through backlinks. The problem most site owners run into is how they acquire those links and what type of quality the links contain.
Most of the penalties given to sites for links involve unnatural methods like:
- Link directories
- Spammy blog comments
- Paid links
If Google determines that many links pointing to your site are not from relevant industries, they will deem these as unnatural. The same applies to links in your article pointing to external sources.
Even if you are on the receiving end of spammy links, Google may still penalize your site. Here are a few guidelines Google has given for categorizing bad links:
- Links purchased in exchange for goods and services
- Excessive amounts of link exchanges with the sole purpose of link building
- Guest posts or similar articles posted on multiple sites
- Automated programs or services that acquire links
The simplest way to fix this problem is by removing any unnatural links pointing to external sources on your own site. Also, use the disavow tool from Google for links pointing to your site.
Create High-Quality Content
Many affiliate sites are caught for having content deemed too thin by Google’s standards. This means that the sites only include articles selling other people’s products, but they don’t provide any helpful content for searchers. These types of sites are heavily penalized because they provide a poor user experience.
Here are some steps you can take if your site needs to improve the level of content:
- Remove content copied directly from a manufacturer or retailer’s website.
- Fix content written only for ranking purposes, like keyword-stuffed articles or blog posts with multiple links packed into the copy.
- Write new content to replace all removed copy and make sure it appeals to human beings, not just search engines.
- Create systems and SOPs that ensure content is written in a way that provides more value to readers
Although fixing thin content is fairly easy compared to some of the other Google penalties, it will take significant time to create and write new content.
Remove Duplicate Content
Google wants every search result page to have original and unique content that is also helpful and relevant to the search intent.
If a website is simply copying content from another site to rank, it will eventually be found and penalized.
The best way to avoid this problem is by ensuring all the content on your site is 100% original. This includes blog posts, articles, product descriptions, and even images. If you have copied any content in the past, take the time to rewrite it or remove it completely.
The problem for most site owners is third-party services are automatically scraping your website’s content and using it for their own purposes.
The good news is Google is fairly lenient when it comes to this type of scraping as long as you take action to have the content removed.
The fastest way to remove the content is by filing a DMCA complaint with the site host scraping your content. Once they receive the complaint, they are legally obligated to take the content down.
For manual penalties, you will need to submit a reconsideration request to Google to have the penalty removed. Algorithmic penalties will require you to fix the problem that caused the penalty, and afterward, you will submit your website for review.
Google Algorithm Updates Vs Google Penalties
Google algorithms are essentially coded programs that use specific metrics to track, monitor, and rank websites in search results.
These programs are designed to provide searchers with the most relevant and useful content for their queries.
When Google makes an algorithm update, they adjust or change the code so that search results run more efficiently and use better metrics to rank websites.
A Google algorithm update happens in small stages almost every month, but major changes happen 3-4 times a year. These changes can cause significant traffic drops in websites but are not considered actual penalties per se.
On the other hand, Google penalties are imposed because a site is violating Google’s terms of service to manipulate search results. These penalties can be either manual or algorithmic.
Manual penalties are imposed by a Google employee after they have reviewed your website and found that you are in violation of one or more guidelines. Algorithmic penalties are automatically applied when your website is discovered to be breaking the rules
In most cases, a penalty will result in a significant traffic drop that can be difficult to recover from. In worst-case scenarios, your site will be removed from the Google Search Engine completely.
When you are infected, Google penalties cause significant damage to your website and could even cause complete removal from the Google Search Engine.
If you are worried you have received a penalty, use one of the tools above to check your site’s status easily. In most cases, you can take the appropriate steps to fix any issues and make a reconsideration request to Google. With some work and luck, your site will be back to normal in no time.