Once you find a negative feedback for the web site rank due to the changes in the search engine algorithm of search engines like Google, you can term it as a Google penalty. The owner of the site will observe that the web site has low traffic suddenly. There have been so many cases of Google penalties in the recent years. In the year 2009, certain web sites faced a bad situation of losing the web site rank by 50 places.
Many sites were penalized for using wrong or improper search engine optimization strategies. In 2012, the number of web sites affected by Google penalty has increased further due to the advent of Google penguin update. If you are a victim of Google penalty, you will not be informed about it. This seems to be the main concern of the web site owners. Sometimes you might receive a message from the Webmaster tools, stating that your web site has violated the rules and regulations that are prescribed for the site owners. If you receive such information, then you need to consider yourself quite lucky. You can rectify the errors in the web site using this information and create a new web site and improve the ranking of the web site.
There might be certain SEO strategies that you might have followed for a very long time. But this might have resulted in the downfall of the traffic for the web site in the recent years. This shows that the expectations of the people who search the web sites and the rules of the Google algorithm are changing at a very fast pace. The SEO companies are unable to keep up with the pace of these changes and hence it leads to poor construction of web site design and web page content.
The basic reason why you might provide the web site content to an SEO company is to utilize their capabilities to improve the site ranking. If this cannot be achieved by these companies, it is better to redesign this strategy. You might know that Google is using many spam detection tools or software. If you own a simple web site with moderate traffic, it is not wise to think that you will escape from these penalty issues. There are various web sites which can show you the methods to trouble shoot this problem.