SEO is one of the most important parts of building and properly maintaining a website if you want it to rank well and be successful. While the quality of the content can make or break a website, its visibility in search engines like Google will always be determined, in a large degree, by how good your search engine optimization is.
Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that something goes wrong when you least expect it, and you will be forced to spend a few long hours trying to fix the website so that it again rank as it should.
Most often, you will notice that your website has been hit with a Google Penalty, and this can seriously handicap a website’s ability to draw traffic.
Fortunately, this penalty is not a death sentence for the website, and it can be removed. However, you will have to find out what has gone wrong and also look at ways to prevent future issues of this kind.
Below, you will find all the information that you need in order to find the source of the problem, as well as how to protect yourself from future penalties. You will also see how a few, extremely useful and powerful tools can help make your life a lot easier.
However, there are a few things that you will have to do before using them.
Most administrators attempt to modify parts of a website, before actually determining where the problem originates. This can further damage the overall system, due to the fact that they may rewrite parts that were functioning the way they should, and miss the ones with errors.
If you’ve recently made any modifications, and then found that you have been penalized, trace back your steps, and make sure that you didn’t accidentally mess something up. Diagnosis is the most important part of problem-solving. In other words, you need to know what to fix, in order to get the Google Penalty lifted.
This brings us to how the following tools can help you fix your website. Please keep in mind that they are simply listed, and they are not ranked in any particular order. Each of them is extremely useful, and they have all been extensively tested by web designers and website administrators.
7 Google Penalty Checker Tools that will make your life a lot easier
One thing that you should remember when looking at this list is that the first four tools will actually tell you why Google penalized your website, while the other ones can help you keep your website under surveillance, in order to avoid any future problems.
- Moz Change History
This is a very useful tool that basically keeps track of all the updates that have been made Google’s algorithms and shows you the time when they took place, as well as other relevant information.
The page even explains what the updates are so that you can fully understand how a particular change might have affected the way that your website ranks. Furthermore, Moz Change History also provides information about possible future updates, so that you can prepare your website for the things to come.
If a change isn’t on this page, then Google hasn’t made it. Change History is updated as soon as Google rolls out a new modification to their algorithms.
Check it out if you see a big change in your website’s traffic, in order to see if the problem lies with how your website is perceived by the search engine, or if it is something local.
- Panguin Google Penalty Check Tool
Developed by Barracuda, Panguin Tool has been around for several years, and it has remained extremely popular because it does two things perfectly: It is simple to use, and it can give website administrators a lot of useful information, on the spot.
In order to use it, you will have to sign in using your Google Analytics accounts, and the tool will instantly create a map of all the traffic that you’ve received, and also the times when Google made updates to their algorithms. This way, you can see how your traffic changes after various changes made by the search engine.
You will notice that the graph will display the various updates that Google has made to their algorithm, using vertical lines. Once you click on one of the lines, the tool will give you a description of what that update is, what it was meant to fix, and also how it may have impacted the traffic that your website is getting.
On the dashboard, you will see switches that will turn on or off the various possible causes that usually lead to Google Penalties, so that you can narrow down the source of your problems.
- Rank Ranger
Rank Ranger is great if you want to have as much information as possible, on a single screen. Basically, it takes the type of analysis offered by the Change History tool and adds it to its own in-depth look at every one of Google’s updates.
The result is a much more detailed view of what could have affected your site. Unfortunately, a drawback that may limit the tool’s effectiveness is the fact that it tends to be a bit particular regarding what can be considered important changes.
Overall, it’s a great tool to use, and it is intuitive; if the chart that you are presented with is in the green range, then everything is ok, if not, then you have some serious problems that you need to take care of. Also, if the tool shows that you are in the blue range, then there is literally nothing that you have to worry about.
Be sure to give it a try. It is used by a lot of people, all over the world, and it will bring you one step closer to getting your website back on track.
- The Google Penalty Checker Tool from Fruition
Fruition’s Google Penalty Checker solution may not be as popular as the other products on this list, however, it is effective at determining the exact reason why your website is not getting as much traffic as it should.
Using it is simple. You will have to create a free account, after which you will be presented with data that will help you pinpoint the reason behind your problems.
First, you will see general information regarding how recent Google updates may have affected your website, and as you scroll down, you will see more in-depth data. The tool will show you a chart containing every update to the search engine’s algorithm, and calculate the probability that they may have changed the traffic that your website is getting.
You will even have access to a chart showing you how much traffic you could get from different devices.
Also, the tool will give you all the information that you may want on each of the updates.
- SEMRush Sensor
SEMRush Sensor offers the most detailed data of all the tools presented in this list. A favorite of many web designers, SEMRush takes a more surgical approach to establishing what Google is doing with their algorithm.
If this isn’t enough, the tool will also give you information about the activity of various niches, which can be invaluable if you’re trying to troubleshoot a niche website. The best part of this is that everything is completely free. You don’t have to pay anything for all this data.
You are also able to task SEMRush Sensor with analyzing your own website, which means that the tool will look at every page and every keyword that you are currently ranking for. Once it finishes its analysis, it will return important data regarding the SERP volatility of your website.
This having been said, the tool has a lot of other features that will prove useful even when you’re trying to rank higher, and are not necessarily looking to fix a problem with the traffic that you’re getting.
- Google “Grump” Rating from Accuranker
While it won’t help you directly fix the problem that you may have, this is an awesome tool for monitoring what Google is doing with its search engine algorithms.
Grump Rating will show you each change that is made, in real time, and will also try to predict when the next modifications will come online. This makes it particularly great for those trying to stay ahead of the competition, and keep their traffic up when the competition is forced to make due with lower amounts of traffic until updating their websites.
This data can be checked out for a variety of devices and locations, all over the world, enabling website administrators to select only the information that is relevant to where they are situated.
You can also take a look at the history of Google’s changes to their algorithms, in order to find any patterns that you can use in order to avoid any future problems, or that you can exploit to get ahead of the competition.
This feature is great because it can help you determine when your website might have been penalized in the past.
You don’t have to use Grump Rating on a daily basis, however, it’s a great tool to have in your troubleshooting and monitoring arsenal, and to check it once every week so that you won’t be caught by surprise.
If for whatever reason you dislike Accuranker’s Grump Rating, then you can always give MozCast a try. This tool has the advantage of presenting data in a way that is a bit easier to process.
You will receive all relevant information like you would a weather forecast. The daily report will include any changes that are made by Google, on a daily basis, but you will also receive a forecast for the next few days.
Unfortunately, MozCast doesn’t have as many features as Accurank’s tool, which means that you will also need to use one of the other solutions if you need to fix a Google Penalty.
This does not mean that MozCast does not have its uses. Those who don’t have large websites, and just want a daily report regarding changes made to Google’s algorithms, will find that this is a great tool.
How to solve the problem once you’ve identified your penalty
Now that you have the tools that will help you find out why Google’s algorithm has penalized your website, let’s look at what you can do to get back on track.
First of all, it is extremely important to determine if the drop in traffic that you are experiencing is due to a change in Google’s algorithm, or if there is something else at work. Coincidences do happen and there is always the possibility that your website may have been hacked at the same time that an update went online.
For example, the search engine will pretty much cut all traffic towards your website if it finds that you are hosting malware, so you should check for any kind of tampering before you make any changes.
A good rule of thumb is to make a habit out of checking the Google Search Console for errors prior to doing anything else so that you don’t attempt to fix anything that isn’t broken.
However, if this isn’t the case and the drop in traffic that you are experiencing correlates with an algorithm change, then there are a few things that you should consider:
- Backlink based problem – You will have to perform a backlink audit if you have received a penalty related to your backlinks;
- Content-based problems – if Google’s update changes the way the algorithm perceives your content, then you will have to perform a content audit;
- On-site penalty – You may have gotten an on-site penalty, and this means that you will have to make use of a tool like URLProfiler in order to analyze your website and determine what went wrong;
Try to avoid making the mistake of starting to modify your website without first establishing where the problem lies. Use one or more of the tools above and make sure that you’re really fixing the problem, not just randomly pushing buttons, hoping to get rid of the penalty in the process.