Yes, it is possible and it happened to me several times. Google does not send a message about every single penalty. For instance, once without knowing it one of my website provided a different content to googleBot and to the user, the incoming traffic sharply decreased in google search console. There were no messages in “manual actions”. I didn’t receive any emails from Google. Once I fixed the problem the traffic started to increase again.
Another time, I had many duplicate titles on a website. I could see that Google search console displayed “errors” in the HTML improvements section. However, I didn’t receive a message or I didn’t see a notification in Google search console.
That’s why it makes it difficult to investigate the root cause of a google penalty. Furthermore, webmasters should really carefully look into everything that could cause a drop of traffic coming from Google.
First of all, we bought Avalanche a phpBB 3 premium theme.
The theme looked good until we discovered that all the buttons to modify a post, delete a post, report a post or quote a post disappeared and it was not possible to modify, delete or report a post.
With bulletin, we had an issue when we wanted to modify the color of different items that were originally apple green. There were a customizer to change the color and it downloaded a small CSS file to our computer. In the code of the theme, it was mentioned that we could upload a custom.css. So we pasted the code in the custom.css where it was mentioned in the code. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Then, we added important to every CSS directives and it was a mess because we could not read the fonts anymore.
I have ended buying the Milk phpBB3 theme from themeforest which works well and give the opportunity to modify the theme without CSS.
Interestingly enough I have spent a total of $111 US dollars buying themes for phpBB which could have been equal to a Xenforo license in 2017.
First of all, I felt very enthousiast when I discovered those services. I extensively used lastpass on every browsers on my mac and PC. Then, once I had a red banner from lastpass as it didn’t successfully connected to its server.
Then, at some point, I understood there could be a big danger, because I understood that a hacker could steal all my passwords in one-go if he had access to my Lastpass account. So, I started to trust it less. Do you imagine just for one moment, what would happen if a lastpass server was hacked? It would be a proper disaster because we don’t talk about alleged sweet hacking from twitter accounts but access to all your websites where you have an account. It is huge.
A page load problem:
Then, I discovered that the extension slowed down the page load in chrome. So, at that point, I told myself. Ok, now it is over.
If lastpass slows down the page load just by 1 second, it is not interesting to install a plugin that will slow down your page load. Don’t get me wrong, the lastpass issue generated a downtime that exceeded 1 second. It went up to total freezing. So, I thought that it was not acceptable to use such a plugin because I am a webmaster and when I test my websites, I don’t want to believe that they load slowly when it is in fact the lastpass extension of chrome that slows them down.
Subdirectories not supported:
I discovered that LastPass didn’t support multiple websites in directories. In fact, LastPass suggests the password from the parent website when someone tries to login to a subdomain.
I have uninstalled the extensions.
Since the risk related to hacking is too big, I have decided I would not take another service like this one.
In other words, WordPress plugins are almighty. Consequently, any WordPress plugins can get your website penalized. They can hide content from Googlebot without you being aware of it. For instance, GoogleBot may not be able to see images and text because of a plugin.
They can add hidden links on your web pages. The links can be in a form, at the bottom of your web pages.
They can block access to some of your webpages thanks to googlebot or by adding a robot meta tag to your webpages, a directive to your robots.txt or even a X-Robots-Tag to http headers. Check this page from google about it.
Also, they may slow down the page load of some pages without you being aware of it.