Lots of misconceptions can be seen regarding Google penalties. Penguin or Panda updates may not be a penalty. It is an algorithm. Rules and calculations are followed with the algorithm automatically to showcase a desired outcome.
Google has demoted several websites that have not met the recommendation of Panda and Penguin update. Human reviewers are taken into consideration also by Google in order to flag the website. In spite of efforts, several websites may not able to meet the quality standards of search engine. Over time, human reviewers may not be required by Google as they make their algorithm smarter further.
If a website falls in the wrong side of the algorithm then it can surely face penalty. As a result, loss of traffic can be noticed also.
On the occasion, you have to understand difference between penalties due to Google algorithm vs. human reviewers. Recovery strategy is generally created based on this matter.
In case a website lands in Google penalty then it is expected to receive a manual action report through Google Search Console.
Resolving the issue, you may need to explain cause behind it in addition to how resolution is reached through a reconsideration request.
However, you should not use a reconsideration request to avoid a smack don from algorithm.
In this article, manual penalties and its recovery are highlighted.
Cloaking / Sneaky Redirects
Different pages are generally presented to the user instead of Google. Through sneaky redirects, users are sent to a completely different page that it is offered to the search engine. Due to these actions, guideline of the Google webmaster is violated.
Two forms are generally seen with this kind of penalties. They are partial matches and site wide matches. In case of partial matches, some part of the website may be affected. Through site wide matches, the entire site may be affected.
Navigating through Google Search Console, you can crawl and fetch affected portion of the website. Now, fetched Google content and the website content must be compared. If there is any difference between the two then it must be taken care of. On the occasion, redirect option should be removed. Reconsideration request should be submitted after resolving the issue.
Sometime, mobile users may be redirected to a site that cannot be visible by the Google crawler. It is generally considered as a violation by Google. Following to the detection, URLs may be removed from the search index.
If the content of original site and redirected one is same then it is considered to be legitimate. However, sneaky redirect with different content earns penalty as it offers bad experience to the users.
If there is unintentional redirection then it is necessary to see whether the site has been hacked or not. Third party elements and scripts must be reviewed thoroughly.
On the occasion, you must eliminate all the third party elements. Now, mobile device should be checked to see whether the problem has been solved or not. If there is an issue due to a particular script or element then it must be removed properly.