Understanding the difference between the two and how they correlate to each other can make or break your website. Both determine how websites rank but how you influence them are entirely different.
In the SEO world, when a website fails to live up to expectations in search engines, especially Google, is often referred to as “Google algorithmic penalties”. Although the term does not really exist, it is not entirely false. Google penalties do exist, and Google officially calls it Manual Spam Actions. And at the same time, there are Google algorithm and updates. Both of them influence the rankings of your websites, which is why it is important to grasp the differences between the two.
Algorithms basically set the stage for computers to perform specific tasks, which in this case, read websites and understand them. Google algorithms are very complex especially for serving search results and updates frequently. And to make matters more complex, very few of these algorithms are officially confirmed by the company. While there are a couple named algorithms and updates, the most commonly cited ones are Google Panda, which is focused on on-page content quality, and Google Penguin, which is designed to focus on off-page signals. What makes algorithm so fearsome is how they are constantly being updated and the effects can either be minor or major. Experts, let alone the general users, would rarely notice these changes until you see the effects. All websites are affected by algorithms and no one knows how much, as Google does not disclose this information.
Google Penalties aka Manual Spam Actions is a way for the search engine to combat spam and websites who are trying to get around the rules basically to get better rankings than their competitors – most of the time caused by Black Hat SEO efforts. These manual interventions by Google trigger warnings in Google Search Console, a great indicator that you have been penalized. An awesome thing about Google Search Console is how transparent it is and often times would also provide tips on how to fix the issue. A more detailed explanation of the different reasons why sites get penalized can be found here.
Google Algorithms AND Penalties
It may sound complicated but there is no need to panic! Although both algorithms and penalties can simultaneously affect a website, understanding on how you can channel your SEO efforts in influencing them can make a big difference!