The Changing Rules of Google SEO

Penalty Type When Detail Actions You Can Take

Google Vince Update March 09 A Googler named Vince created this change and hence the name. This is not a penalty, rather an update in Google’s algorithm.  Vince update seems to favor bigger brands and has pushed some of these big name sites further up the rankings.

Google’s explanation is that, It is more about factoring trust more into the algorithm for more generic queries. From what Matt has said this update is probably looking at the overall weight and trust of a site (and the big brands have spent enough marketing pounds to win here) and the theme of the site.

Do site awareness, and brand promotion, in addition to traditional SEO work.
Google -6 Penalty Late 2006 Google didn’t admit doing this to sites, per Matt Cutt. One possible trigger is that many of these sites have highly optimized pages tightly focused around a single core phrase or keyword.

Google now argues that the effect was caused by a glitch in the system and that an attempt to filter out bad sites had caught good sites in the process. Most sites should get their original rankings back soon.

Do not overly stress on a single keyword.
Google -30 Penalty Introduced in late 2006, but Google starts to aggressively enforce it in mid 2009. A penalty widely-speculated given to thin affiliate, refer or doorway sites which do not add much value for the site visitors. However, many non-affiliate sites also have reported this penalty. Sites with excessive low quality inbound or outbound links and lots of non-unique content may have a minus 30 ranking penalty applied.

Syndrome: your well-ranked keywords (1st page) suddenly drop 30 positions.

Some of the practice below may help trigger -30 filter:

Guestbook spamming: If you try to get inbound links by spamming guest books and blogs then Google might apply the filter to your web site.

JavaScript redirects: JavaScript redirections might be misinterpreted as a spamming attempt. Better use 301 htaccess redirect if you must redirect URLs on your pages.

Doorway pages: Google doesn’t like doorway pages. If you must use special landing pages for PPC ads and other ads, make sure that these pages cannot be spidered by Google and other search engines. You can use robots.txt to do that

The only solution to avoid this penalty is to have unique content on your site, get links from well trusted sites and link to high quality sites.

For detailed information, please refer to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Clean up the site first and submit a reconsideration request to Google.

Google -50 Penalty Sept 2009 Over-optimized key anchor text on link building. This is the most recent one that generates some discussions amongst webmaster and SEO sites.

Syndrome: your well-ranked keywords (1st page) suddenly drop 50+ positions.

Good article on this topic:

De-optimize anchor text of back linking. Use natural languages, not keywords screaming SEO.

If you’re link building, make sure your anchor text varies on each site that links to you. You do not need to have keywords stuffed on every single link.

Use “nofollow” at times.

Clean up the bad practice first and submit a reconsideration request to Google.

Google -60 Penalty Mid 2008 Bad back linking practice: spam back linking or potential link farming.

It looks that Google applies this penalty to websites that buy links. Many of the websites that seem to have been penalized had many inbound links from websites that linked to them from every single page of their website (so-called site-wide links). Site-wide links are an indicator of paid links, which Google sees as an unwanted way to artificially inflate search engine rankings.

The head of Google’s anti-spam team Matt Cutts has often said that websites that buy paid links will be penalized and it looks as if Google tries to do the job properly. If this penalty for paid links really exists then even websites that follow Google’s rules can get in trouble. Your competitors could harm your website simply by buying links or by creating mini-net websites with sitewide links to your website.

Syndrome: keyword rank drops 60 positions.

Avoid site-wide linking.

Sever links from bad neighborhood.

Sever links from low quality directory sites

Sever links from link farms

Avoid paid links

Build quality links from relevant and well-trusted sites

Use varied and descriptive anchor text on links that link back to your site.

Google -950 Penalty Jan  07 Spam Penalty, or Over Optimization Penalty. A much dreaded site or keyword drops 950 positions in ranking. Spam liking, spam documentation, content duplication, sloppy HTML that generates many validation errors.

Overall, Google 950 penalty is Google’s means to discourage webmasters from engaging in any kind of spam activity and subtly directing them to follow the ideal SEO.

Speculation:  it’s possibly related to the Spam Detection Patent invented by Googler Anna Lynn Patterson.

Stop link farming

Stop SEO spamming (over linking, keyword stuffing, bad back linking, hidden text and links, cloaking, excessive redirect JavaScript, doorway…etc)

Provide unique and value adding content

Clean up first,  and submit a reconsideration request to Google

Delisted by Google A hacked or a pure spam site will be delisted by Google, meaning your site will be excluded from search results. Some of the proven reasons why a site gets delisted are:

1) Repeated spelling and syntactical errors.  If your website repeatedly contains a particular misspelled word, or it’s primarily made up of junk content (such as those computer generated content), you are at a high risk of being delisted from Google search.

2) Adding a large number of external links in a short time. One possible scenario is where your server is hacked and spammers add lots of links to your website without you knowing. Most of these links are hidden. You won’t see them unless you study the source code. Another possible scenario is when you are too active in link exchange. Let’s take link directories for example, most link directories will have an option for you to link back to them. If you spend one whole day exchanging links with 200 link directories, your website is at risk.

3) Sitemap error.

4) Hidden links and hidden text. Excessive use of both can get your website delisted from Google.  It’s cloaking.

5) Doorway pages that redirect visitors without their knowledge use some form of cloaking. This is against Google’s principle, which is “Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users.”

Well, you just violated all possible Google webmaster guidelines. Start from scratch and rebuild your site.

Clean up first,  and submit a re-inclusion request to Google

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