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Google penalty is a general term that refers to a negative impact on a website's search ranking based on updates to Google's search algorithms. The penalty can be an unfortunate by-product, or an intentional penalization of various black-hat SEO techniques.
Notable cases of Google penalties occurred in 2009, when many websites reported a drop of more than 50 places in search rankings based on the same search term; in 2011, when Overstock.com was specifically penalized for poor SEO techniques; and in 2012 with the release of Google's Penguin algorithm.
Since the Penguin 2.0 update rolled out on May 22, 2013  many have claimed they have been affected by the Google update, based on a poll conducted by a respected internet marketing source. To find out if a website has been positively or negatively affected by a Google update, website owners can use various third-party penalty checker tools, which use analytics to determine the effect of the update.
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