Google Answers a question about the causes of ranking drops after the core algorithm update. Google’s Office Hours Hangout shows a question about algorithmic updates and whether the ranking of a negatively affected website has been suppressed with a soft penalty. suppressed
The person who asked the question mentioned a soft penalty. It is a phrase that has been around for a while but is not a thing. They also remark having a “flag” assigned to their website. It implies that Google has marked the website as flagged in some way.
Here is the question:
“Both of my websites have been hit by different updates, around 90% drops and are suffering from some type of flag that is suppressing our sites until the soft penalty is lifted.
Or… is there even a soft penalty? “
Here is the answer:
“No, the named updates that we publish on the rankings updates page on Search Central are not penalties in any shape or form.”
It confirms that any ranking drops associated with a specific Google update are not a penalty and should never interpret because that is not what is happening. The Googler clarified why it is not a penalty:
“They are adjustments to our ranking algorithms, so they surface even higher quality and more relevant results to search users.
If your site has dropped in rankings after an update, follow our general guidelines for content.
Take a look at how you could improve your site as a whole, both from content and user experience perspective, and you may be able to increase your rankings again.”
Watch this “English Google SEO office-hours from September 2022” Youtube video for more details.