Google: Sites Can Be Stuck In Algorithm Penalty Limbo For Several Years (Rare)

Nov 29, 2021 • 7:51 am | comments (17) by twitter mastodon | Filed Under Google Search Algorithm Updates
 

Google's John Mueller said in this past Friday's hangout that in rare situations some sites can get stuck in some sort of algorithmic penalty limbo or black hole state and not be able to recover because Google stopped updating that algorithm. He said this can lead to some sites not being able to recover for several years.

This came up at the 24:49 mark into the video where John said "The other thing that I’ve very rarely seen is that a site gets stuck in some kind of a weird in between state in our systems in that, I don't know, at some point or algorithms reviewed the website and found it to be absolutely terrible and for whatever reason those part of the algorithms just took a very long time to be updated again. And sometimes that that can be several years."

Then John said "I don't know, this random person raising his hand, I will try to ignore him." I believe he was referencing Robb Young who brought up this issue back in 2015 where John Mueller couldn't give him an answer back then. John told Robb then "It is a tricky case where I don’t have much liberty of saying much of what is happening. This is an an individual case and is pretty much a unique case. It is not really helpful for other webmasters. I know it is frustrating and I wish I had something more specific to share with you."

Now John went on to explain this Friday that he has "seen every now" these types of cases where sites are simply stuck but he said "they're extremely rare." "The chances of any random website kind of falling into is fairly low but it is something where if you struggle and you really see that you're doing a lot of things right and nothing seems to be working then do do reach out to us and see if there's something on our side that might be stuck," John added.

Here is the video embed where John spoke about this:

Here is the transcript:

The other thing that I’ve very rarely seen is that a site gets stuck in some kind of a weird in between state in our systems in that, I don't know, at some point or algorithms reviewed the website and found it to be absolutely terrible and for whatever reason those part of the algorithms just took a very long time to be updated again. And sometimes that that can be several years. And, I don't know, this random person raising his hand, I will try to ignore him.

But I mean these are things that I’ve seen every now and then but they're extremely rare. So the chances of any random website kind of falling into is fairly low but it is something where if you struggle and you really see that you're doing a lot of things right and nothing seems to be working then do do reach out to us and see if there's something on our side that might be stuck.

But I would say like at least technical things they resolve very quickly. The kind of the I don't know weird things stuck in the algorithms side I would say that's a lot rarer nowadays but especially if something happened I don't know five ten years ago and your site is kind of stuck in a weird limbo state then that's something where like reaching out and seeing if there's something weird is always worthwhile.

Here is how Glenn Gabe summed it up on Twitter:

Pretty scary that this can happen, even if this is rare.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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