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What does Google penalize a website for?
Webmeister




msg:150718
 2:42 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have read on here a lot of what we are supposed to do to optimize our ranking on Google, but how about a thread on what we are not supposed to do? I've read of a few things here and there that can decrease your positioning on Google, but I've never seen a thread devoted to this subject (if there was one I missed it). So, could you webmasters be so kind as to list the things here that Google will penalize a website for? It would be much appreciated. Thanks!

 

Dolemite




msg:150719
 3:15 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

The obvious things:

1. Hidden Text
2. Cloaking
3. Fast refreshes / redirects

Beyond that, I'll leave it to the experts...

Webmeister




msg:150720
 4:08 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Could you define "cloaking" for those less knowledgeable?

Krapulator




msg:150721
 4:19 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Showing one thing to the search engines and something else to your users

Webmeister




msg:150722
 4:40 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

What about the metatags, does Google deduct because of adding too many keywords, or having too long or too short of a title or description? Does excess alt text on images get penalized?

What are some specific mistakes or omissions that can reduce a webpage's PageRank?

coconutz




msg:150723
 4:47 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>What are some specific mistakes or omissions that can reduce a webpage's PageRank?

PageRank is dependent upon links pointing to your page, not any of the on page factors.

Have you checked Google Information for Webmasters [google.com]?

Quality Guidelines - Specific recommendations: [google.com]

  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Don't send automated queries to Google.
  • Don't load pages with irrelevant words.
  • Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

    [edited by: coconutz at 4:52 am (utc) on July 7, 2003]

  • Webmeister




    msg:150724
     4:52 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Great stuff! I wish I would have started this thread a while back.

    Can links to your site from pages with low PageRank detract from your PageRank?

    Webmeister




    msg:150725
     5:10 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Have you checked Google Information for Webmasters?

    Yes, and I realize that some of these questions and answers may be redundant - but it would be nice to see a compilation of them all on one thread for quick reference. Thanks!

    chiyo




    msg:150726
     5:21 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    >>Can links to your site from pages with low PageRank detract from your PageRank?<<

    No

    jayq




    msg:150727
     7:09 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    >>Can links to your site from pages with low PageRank detract from your PageRank?<<

    No is correct - don't link sites that are knownn to be in penelty though. That is the only way it can hurt you.

    Namaste




    msg:150728
     8:34 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    let me tell you what Google [u]used[/u] to penalise for. I say used to because for the last 2 weeks their results have gone haywaire ard and now throwing up junk results...so I don't know what is happening. But lets say they fix this and go back to normalcy:

    1st, there are 2 types of penalties:
    1. Capital Punsihment: where your site is knocked off
    2. Civil punsihment: where you are given lower points, or no points for what you have done

    Capital is:
    1. Hidden Text/Images
    2. Cloaking
    3. Fast refreshes / redirects

    Civil:
    1. Keyword stuffing
    2. Reciprocal links
    3. Duplicate content
    4. More than 100 outgoing links per page
    5. Outgoing links to sites deemed "bad" by Google

    There is also a new theory that Google has started penalising for abusing the number of times in which you use your keyword phrase in your anchor, especially on external sites. This is part of their "SEO Neutralisation" efforts that we are seeing more of lately.

    Mozart




    msg:150729
     11:10 am on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Two comments on Namaste's compilation for "civil punishments":

    2. Reciprocal links
    5. Outgoing links to sites deemed "bad" by Google

    I'd say neither is correct in itself, but only the combination: reciprocal links to bad neighbourhoods.

    A reciprocal link can very well be good for your site visitors and so also Google thinks of them as good and processes them normally. But if you only have reciprocal links (or a large percentage are reciprocal) then perhaps you did these links for PR and not for the good of your visitors -> penalty!

    bolitto




    msg:150730
     1:04 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Nothing fresher than the smell of red herring.

    mipapage




    msg:150731
     2:31 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    SEO Neutralisation

    Okay, I've seen it mentioned but put it up to paranoia - are they really doing this?



    More on topic

    This keyword stuffing theory, it's being batted around in another thread as well.. Can anyone summarize the fact and the fiction?

    too much information




    msg:150732
     2:48 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I've been reading about how hidden text can get you in trouble with Google, but in the terms I am fighting for I have three competators that all use hidden text and all appear in the first 10 listings on Google.

    One is using a font tag to force the text (repeated several times from keywords meta tag) to the same color as the background. One is loading keywords in a dark color over a black background, and one even has -bgcolor="#F3F8FB" text="#F3F8FB"- in the Body tag!

    Is this something Google checks automatically or is it something that only gets penalized if it is reported?

    Also, I do want to point out that the hidden text IS relavant to the content of the sites, could this be why they have not been penalized?

    jaffstar




    msg:150733
     2:53 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I have a site that used to be right at the top, all the tests such as allinanchor/url/text/site give me number #1/2 positions. Yet I have been wiped out of the serps for the main keyword.

    My downfall is reciprocal links, that's the only thing I could have done wrong.

    Most people here are skeptics, that's because its not happening to them. Its happening to me for my main keyword, the only logical conclusion I can come up with is a semi-penalty.

    The links were not done to bad neighborhoods, I think the problem is quantity and repetition of certain keywords in my description.

    The questions is how can we reverse the situation?

    Remove links page?

    Webmeister




    msg:150734
     2:54 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I have noticed that one of my competitors consistently ranks higher than I do. However, he has changed the brand of product that he sells three or four times now to different affiliate programs. In the process, he has completely redone his website each time to accommodate the new content - but his placement on Google doesn't seem to be affected.

    This leads me to the question - does content even matter with Google? Why hasn't he been penalized for completely changing the content of his website?

    Chris_D




    msg:150735
     2:56 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Right now, Google isn't penalising very much for anything. I can show you examples of cloaking, javascript spammers, Hidden text, hidden links, etc etc. All on competitive search terms. Some new, some old.

    I suspect that the 'new improved' spam filters are waiting in the wings.

    Speculation on anything right now is too soon.

    Try these:

    [google.com...]
    [google.com...]
    [google.com...]

    Webmeister




    msg:150736
     3:01 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Jaffstar said:

    Yet I have been wiped out of the serps for the main keyword.

    Don't give up yet Jaffstar. Google just updated again this morning (I moved up four positions!). You may have just gotten shuffled out of the deck last week with that weird update. It looks as though Google really is using the continuous rolling update that people here have been talking about.

    Let us know how you fared in the latest update. I have a reciprocal link program and I have not been penalized for it. However, I make sure that I have no more than 25 links per page and I use an index as opposed to just stuffing them all on one page at random.

    Has anyone else here been penalized for a reciprocal links program?

    Kirby




    msg:150737
     3:12 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    There is also a new theory that Google has started penalising for abusing the number of times in which you use your keyword phrase in your anchor, especially on external sites. This is part of their "SEO Neutralisation" efforts that we are seeing more of lately.

    It makes no sense that anchor text would be a penalty since you cant control what the anchor text is on external sites.

    I dont buy the SEO penalties theory either. Many sites that are lean and clean are doing well, while similar sites have disappeared. The same can be seen with spammy sites. There is no way at this point to come to logical, absolute conclusions about Google results.

    John_Caius




    msg:150738
     3:26 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    If there's a penalty for having the same anchor text, then most sites will just start ranking less well for the name of the site, since that's by far the most common anchor text for most sites.

    My ranking dropped for my site name, part of the "index page ranking lower than subpages in a search for the site name" set of problems - but I think it's wholly appropriate that most of my incoming links have my site name as the anchor text.

    icebane




    msg:150739
     3:50 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I believe Google is putting less emphasis on the anchor text of internal links.

    Picture two sites each trying to get a good ranking on "yellow widget(s)"

    TWC (The Widget Company)
    YWC (Yellow Widget Company)

    TWC sells all colors of widgets.
    YWC company only sells Yellow Widgets.

    All the external links pointing to the TWC are general, not specific to a color. So in TWC's navigation it uses anchor text to represent each color of widgets it sells to try and boost each sub-category (yellow, green, blue, orange). These internal pages for each widget color are getting very low priority because the links pointing are all internal...and all the external links are very general not relating to a single color (anchor text being only The Widget Company).

    However, the Yellow Widget Company is #1 because all the external incoming links use the words 'yellow widget' in the anchor text.

    Just some thoughts...

    bolitto




    msg:150740
     4:08 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    >SEO Neutralisation

    The best single term I've read here.

    YES - the past "updates"(I refuse to give them names) are ALL about SEO Neutralisation

    It's obviously working....

    Keep giving GoogleGuy more of the usual *quality feedback* so he can tweak his "Kalman" knobs until your job as SEO's is impossible and you go back to McDonalds.

    rogerd




    msg:150741
     4:16 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    most sites will just start ranking less well for the name of the site

    If this were a matter of degree, though, perhaps we wouldn't notice. Even if identical anchor text counted a little less, microsoft.com would probably still be #1 for "microsoft". But maybe my widgets.com site would have more competition for "cheap widgets", my favorite anchor text. All speculation, of course.

    tommyleef




    msg:150742
     4:20 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Earlier duplicate content was mentioned. As far as the category my site contends in the filters do not do anything to sites.

    A top site that has been a top site for years now uses 448 identical words in the same written paragragh form on every page within their website. There is no page with more than 30 words of content other than the 448 copied and pasted content from page to page.

    Yet, number 2 in Google for years now and the inner pages are always top results as well.

    Old filters or new filters this has not been penalized whatsoever.

    So, as far as what you will get slapped for--not really sure. Still seeing very spammy top positions where I compete.

    Webmeister




    msg:150743
     4:42 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Still seeing very spammy top positions where I compete.

    Me too. It's as if Google has thrown out all the rules on these latest rolling updates. I'm seeing sites with low PR coming out of nowhere and ranking in #1 and #2 spots. There does seem to be some credit given to sites with higher PR and more incoming links, but these are obviously not the exclusive requirements for the latest round of updates.

    This thread probably would have been much more relative back in January, but for now Google seems to be very forgiving as far as penalties are concerned.

    coolasafanman




    msg:150744
     7:27 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Keep giving GoogleGuy more of the usual *quality feedback* so he can tweak his "Kalman" knobs until your job as SEO's is impossible and you go back to McDonalds.

    you make it seem as if google depends on this forum to tweak their algorithm. of course feedback here would help them, but it's all part of the game. they're smart guys over there and in addition to being smart, they know exactly how their algorithm works, and they know the holes in it without us telling them. I'm sure they know about 20 other things that haven't been mentioned here that they'll iron out eventually.

    I can't speak for across the board, but i have absolutely no complaints about the update - the results in my niche are exactly on target, with me and my competitors on page 1 rather than a bunch of unrelated sites that don't belong there.

    My feeling is that Google does not penalize you for being smart. Think about it - it was a couple guys that got rejected by yaya to buy their brilliant model, so they marketed it themselves and have surpassed everyone. i think they still have this entrepreneurial spirit and with them, if you're smart, you stand a fighting chance against the big boys that buy their way to the top. Once you get to the top, I would imagine that it would be a common courtesy to begin buying some of your positioning to give others of your mental ability a chance to come to your level.

    smart people like smart people. play the game and bend yourself according to the new rules.

    jaffstar




    msg:150745
     8:59 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    smart people like smart people. play the game and bend yourself according to the new rules

    I think that we are all smart, and we are trying to play to the rules, the problem is that the rules are extremely vague and are changing constantly.

    The more competitive the industry you are in, the harder it is to get the top, which means that sometimes you take chances within the "guidelines".

    How could anyone predict that you could get a semi-penalty?

    Google's guidelines are so vague, its like a nostradamus prediction.

    coolasafanman




    msg:150746
     9:15 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    you're right, but think of it this way...

    99% of the 'web designers' out there are clueless about seo.

    those that take the time to do a little research end up here and learn about <H1> <TITLE> yada yada.

    those that take the time to do a lot of research figure out a few more things that work.

    those that think logically and use the tools that Google themselves suggest using, in plain sight, figure things out based on common sense rather than a set of regurgitated rules found on forums.

    those that break the rules of common sense get punished.

    So basically there are several tiers, and the following suggests an arbitrary hierarchy:

    99% of everything is buried in the serps, except for the occasional lucky web site that hits on some things without realizing it (using common sense and logic in their design)

    those that come here get page 1/2/3 results for targeted key phrases

    those that think for themselves get page 1 results

    those that do everything that it takes to succeed get #1 positioning, and can do so without spending a dime.

    High rankings are a gift, not a right. Google is a business and like any other business they're in it to make money. In a minute they could switch entirely to a total pay per click structure and the average user wouldn't realize it for the longest time. But they haven't.

    Take what they give you and explore it to your full potential. Of course everyone here is smart. But use some of that smarts to figure a few things out rather than having someone tell it all to you. It's more fun that way.

    pmac




    msg:150747
     9:21 pm on Jul 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

    >you make it seem as if google depends on this forum to tweak their algorithm<

    No, but Google certainly uses the forums to make good use of the spam report [google.com].

    This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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