Google Penalty Removals Happen Two Ways: Manually & Algorithmically

Feb 16, 2011 • 9:20 am | comments (12) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

As I summarized at Search Engine Land a minute ago, Google's Matt Cutts answered a question that I don't think was clearly answered by Google before - "When are penalties lifted?"

Here is the video answer from Google's Matt Cutts:

As I summarized at Search Engine Land, there are two types of penalties.

  • Manual Penalty
  • Algorithmic Penalty

If you are impacted by a algorithmic penalty, if you change your site, after they recrawl, most of the time, you should pop back up.

On the manual penalties, the penalties "time out" and "expire." The length of the penalty is based on how severe the penalty.

You can also do a reconsideration request, which would expedite removing a manual penalty. But a reconsideration request will not help you with an algorithmic penalty - you would need to fix your site to fix the issue.

There is a WebmasterWorld discussion around the topic. As Tedster said there:

It still leaves me a little hazy about the difference between an algorithmically applied penalty and an algo change that caused a natural ranking drop - one that's not a penalty. But I guess we're not supposed to perfectly understand everything. I can fill in the blanks pretty well, I think.

I think the biggest example here is a link penalty. Some are manual and some are algorithmic. I also wonder if the warnings you get via Webmaster Tools, if they are for both manual and algorithmic penalties. I suspect both.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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02/16/2011 02:36 pm

Interesting... Only manual can be lifted thus if you think you have a penalty then change your site and wait for recrawl and if it sticks then your on the "list" I can agree 100% in real life I've seen this.. warning in GWT are both in my opinion, I can't stop the bloody "For legal reasons, we've excluded from our search results content located at or under the following URL/directory:" I get it each and every month for the same URL which has been removed thus making it Auto with recrawl ignore set lol.. I'm not the only one loads are getting repeated warning...


02/16/2011 02:59 pm

It's good to see Google has a manual reconsideration request for penalized sites. I've had a client that was penalized and we had to wait for the re-crawl for it to eventually get fixed. Good to see Google doesn't ban a site for life if you make the changes.


02/16/2011 03:50 pm

Would a manual penalty be the same as what we used to call 'sandboxing'?

Harendrasingh Rajput

02/17/2011 05:28 am

Because of this penalties i found difference in keyword ranking like in AOL com i am on first page. and on when i was see in global google usa its on 350 or more down position . why this type of things happen ? how can we recover it?

Harendrasingh Rajput

02/17/2011 05:29 am

i have also send one site for reconsideration. how much time take to resolve it?

partnership agreement

02/17/2011 07:42 am

I Think Manually Plenty should be recover by Webmaster because he knows about the mistakes, like sand boxing buying free links and other sort of activities.. But What should To do when webmaster Faces Algorithmic Plenty?

Rob - Consumer Durable

02/17/2011 10:27 am

Those reconsideration requests are totally useless.They are not entertained for 99% of time.


04/07/2011 04:54 am

I wish they had a report that they sent webmasters that told them how they may or may not be affected by the algorithm. Kind of like a check box of what is passing and what is not. If someone were to be penalized for an "unknown crime" then they might have a hard time fixing it.


04/17/2011 10:26 pm

Usually takes about two weeks.

Saad Naeem

09/05/2011 05:44 am

i hope our penalty is automatic one and not manual , yea but they should have a report system giving us some hint about what we are doing wrong

Greg Fowler

03/19/2012 07:19 pm

I find it interesting that you can clean up your site, such as we have, but I don't believe anymore that other nefarious people cannot harm your site with a bunch of links to bad neighborhoods.  

steven watson

04/23/2014 12:09 pm

thank you matt i was really worried

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