5 ways to tell if your site has been penalised by Google ranking algorithm

Google has been making a lot of changes to its ranking algorithms of late.  Panda and Penguin are 2 of the most well known changes. One is targeted at onsite while the latter is aimed toward offsite activities (specifically links).  If your site is affected by these algorithm changes, it will probably result in a loss of traffic. However, losing traffic can be due to many reason, not just because of Google penalties. Hence, if you want to test whether your site has been penalized by Google, here are a couple of ways that you can do it.


#1: Search for your domain name

Most of our website names have fairly unique like smashinghub.com. Under normal circumstances, the search result should ranked our  site as number one when you search for its domain. However, if you find that your site doesn’t appear when you search for its domain name, it can be a sign that it has been affected by a Google penality. Of course, if your domain is very generic, such as webdesign.com, then it might be too competitive for your site to appear as number one. In this case, this test will not be very useful.


#2:  Search for your article title

Another way to see if your site has been penalized is to do a search on your article title. Most of the time, we have unique article titles which means your site should rank for it. Failing to do so can indicate a possible penalty.  This test will not be effective if you used short article title that are keyword based. For example, having an article called minimal wordpress themes, rather 16 beautiful minimal wordpress themes. The former is competitive in the search ranking and your site will probably not show up in the search result.


#3: Check the number of pages being index

A penalized website tend to have less of its pages being indexed by Google. You can know how many pages Google has indexed your site by doing a search using the site command like this site:domainname.com. This test however requires you to know how many pages were being shown when doing this site search before the penalty occurs. If you don’t have a rough idea of this number, you will not know how to compare the current search result.

#4:  Check if your site can pass value through the links

A non penalized can help another site to rank by pointing a link to it through the use of anchor text. If you want to know whether your site has this ability, point a link to a another site with a very unique anchor text such as “smashinghub is not wearing pants’.  which must also not appear in the other site’s page. The latter requirement is to makes sure that this other site is not ranking due to the expression appearing on the site itself. After a few days, if you search for this expression, the other site should appear in the search result since you have passed a link to it containing this expression. If the site is ranking, then your site has not been penalized as it still has the ability to pass value to others.

#5: Search for sentences within your article

A normal site should have its content well indexed by Google. Well index refers to having most of your content within Google’s database. A penalized site is usually not well indexed, meaning that not a high percentage of its site is stored in the database.  Hence, if you search for particular sentences within an article inside your site, your site should appear in the top result. If not, it means your site is not well indexed and might be suffering from a penalty.


These five methods are the only way to test if your site has been penalized. However, they are easy to do and should provide a good picture on the health of your website.

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  1. Ricemedia Mobile Design says:

    Google has now introduced a Manual Actions section in Webmaster Tools. If you think you’ve been penalised check this and Google will tell you in your entire site or just parts have received any penalties and what for.

  2. Michael says:

    A recent Google Webmaster Tools update has included a new feature that will advise if the web spam team has any manual penalties applied to your site.

  3. Kunal says:

    Awesome and easy ways to know if your site/blog is panda affected. Thanks for sharing it!