How long does it take to recover from a Google algorithmic penalty?
Google algorithmic penalties are not new. They have been a thing for a long time, and it’s not going anywhere.
If anything, with all the new systems and updates that Google keeps introducing — such as the latest Helpful Content update and the December 2022 Link Spam update — there are even more things that webmasters and content creators need to be wary of.
But what if you have been hit by a Google algorithmic penalty? What happens then?
More importantly, how long does it usually take to recover from the penalty after you have cleaned up your website and fixed all the content issues that led to the penalty?
Google’s John Mueller recently shed some light on this question, and now we have a reasonable estimate of how long it can take.
It can take several months
According to John Mueller, “It’s generally a good idea to clean up low quality content or spammy content that you may have created in the past.
For algorithmic actions, it can take us several months to reevaluate your site again to determine that it’s no longer spammy.”
John Mueller also echoed similar thoughts in November 2021 when he discussed how long it takes for a website to bounce back from lost search engine rankings.
Back then, he said:
“I think it’s a lot trickier when it comes to things around quality in general, where assessing the overall quality and relevance of a website is not very easy. It takes a lot of time for us to understand how a website fits in with regard to the rest of the Internet.
And that’s something that can easily take, I don’t know, a couple of months, a half a year, sometimes even longer than a half a year, for us to recognize significant changes in the site’s overall quality.
Because we essentially watch out for ‘how does this website fit in with the context of the overall web,’ and that just takes a lot of time.”
So, the several months period can last up to half a year — or, sometimes, even more than that.
As you can imagine, that’s a lot of time. And if your business depends on organic search results, rankings, traffic, and revenue, a big algorithmic penalty can be nuclear for your business.
What’s the best way forward then?
The best way forward is to ensure your website is built on a strong foundation that would help avoid most penalties in the future. If the fundamentals are right and in line with Google’s guidelines and policies, most current and future search penalties can be avoided easily.
How to avoid Google’s algorithm penalties
Here are 8 tips on how to avoid Google’s search algorithm penalties:
- Keep your website up-to-date and fresh with high-quality, unique content.
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate, with a clear and logical structure.
- Make sure your website does not have intrusive pop-ups and interstitial ads that prevent visitors from accessing information.
- Use internal linking to help Google understand the hierarchy, context, and organization of your website’s content. However, it’s important to avoid spam practices and manipulation by abusing certain anchor texts.
- Avoid using prohibitive black-hat SEO practices, such as cloaking, keyword stuffing, or link-farming, to improve your website’s ranking.
- Because the loading speed of a website is an important search engine ranking factor that also affects the user experience directly, make sure your website loads quickly.
- Use Google’s Search Console to monitor and maintain your website’s presence in search results.
- Follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and avoid any practices that might be seen as spammy or manipulative.