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Top Factors That Google Doesn't Like

 12:43 pm on Nov 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Firstly, a quick background: I am often approached by client who have been contacted by someone offering to get them better rankings doing this or that. Often these practices are (what I consider to be) of dubious or detrimental benefit and I prefer to back up my opinion with those of others in the wider community. As such I often refer to threads in this forum and others.

There have been thousands of threads on this site and many other regarding the 'good practice' factors which Google likes. The are many of them bring together those threads into comprehensive advice.

However, what I am looking for a top list of definately what NOT TO DO in Google. Those activities that will have detrimental effect on your website should you try them. I don't know if such a thread already exists or whether this could become one.

I understand Google's guidelines touch on several techniques to be avoided - but maybe we could create something more comprehensive. I believe what to avoid can be as useful as a best practice guide.

Any thoughts?

PS- wasn't really sure where to post as this isn't really Google News as such - so apologies if this gets moved.



 7:41 pm on Nov 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Off-page: Backlink manipulation of any kind - link buying and selling for PR purposes, link farms

On-page: Hidden content that cannot be made visible by an obvious user action.


 9:44 pm on Nov 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Keyword stuffing (body and title)

3 way linking


 5:01 am on Nov 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Creation of thousands + of stub pages for the purpose of gaining traffic and selling ads (no content, only optimized titles and ads

Thin affiliates (websites without unique content or purpose)

"3 way linking"

This might not be accurate enough. I would suggest that "3 way linking for the purposes of developing one way inbound links" is a better way to frame this one.

There are many times I have given a link from one website which benefited the user, in exchange for a link back for another website which was much more useful for both my consumers and the user.

It is the intention behind the link that often draws the curtains of the overall 3 way game plan.


 6:44 pm on Nov 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

"It is the intention behind the link ..."

That's very important to remember. Google does not ask you your intent. They just drop you. Whatever COULD be a spammy thing can get you dropped even if it is legit and/or even if you did not do it.


 10:27 pm on Nov 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Definitely clocking can get you into troubles.

I would also add duplicate content as a significant threat, either in the form of scrapes or with your CMS, although I wouldn't classify this as something that Google employees "don't like".

Also too much fiddling with 301s, 302s and the like, as well as too much fiddling with nofollows I'd say are things not too friendly with Google.


 3:18 am on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Excessive usage of onpage anchor text for links such as blue widget, green widget, black widget.


 8:27 am on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

- Cloaking.

- Link buying, 3-way linkbuilding, 'link wheels' or any other manipulative linking tactic.

- Keyword spam / stuffing.

- Slow page load times due to excessive media (ab)use.


 11:04 am on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

- Anything that annoys the user for example pop ups/unders.


 11:22 am on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

- Hidden text and/or links.


 12:12 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)


Some great reponses - what is meant by clocking? Do you mean cloaking?

Also, a guy here at work has a theory that two of the same words together has a negative affect. E.g. "expert widget" "widget expert services". Usually happens when "expert widget" is a title and the "widget expert services ..." opens the following paragraph.

Not sure I have seen this myself.


 12:21 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Also, a guy here at work has a theory that two of the same words together has a negative affect. E.g. "expert widget" "widget expert services". Usually happens when "expert widget" is a title and the "widget expert services ..." opens the following paragraph.

Not negative exactly, but if you are targeting "widget expert services" on other page then should avoid it use at the very beginning of page targeting "expert widget".

IMO, if primary keyword comes at the beginning of page content it would give more benefit.


 1:12 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

tenerifejim it was from speed of typing... meant cloacking...


 3:10 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Over optimisation...there should be a big thread somewhere.

Repeated/identical titlebars!


 9:44 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

How about repetitive downtime?


 8:43 am on Nov 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

In my niche every one of the things folks say not to do (except cloaking) is being used and not penalised. What I think is obvious link buying/manipulation done by ham fisted low wage so called SEOs with links from off topic sites with the wrong geo targeting does not result in a penalty even when reported.

I suspect that there is a threshold and you can do some of these spam tactics provided you stay below that threshold. There may also be a cumulative threshold so a little bit of a few bad things can get you penalised. I also think that the scale of the threshold is fairly crudely set to US standards. For example I guess that the web is at least 10 times bigger in the US than in the UK, perhaps much more. The threshold is therefore set ten times to high to catch UK transgressors. In the UK some of my competitors have clearly bought a few hundred links but if Google only reacts when a few thousand have been bought they will never be caught, they are quite literally operating under Google's radar.

It would be nice to think that someone in Matt Cutts' team would get their head out of their US a*** and sort this one out.



[edited by: tedster at 9:20 am (utc) on Nov. 24, 2009]


 12:18 pm on Nov 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

On-page: Hidden content that cannot be made visible by an obvious user action.

Tedster - How does this work? I've content in multiple tabs that are accessible with JavaScript. Would Google know any different if I disabled the JavaScript so a user couldn't see it.

Also, I think this content should be devalued as it's not there upon first load. It might be a factor for the 200 Factors in Algorithm Thread [webmasterworld.com].


 6:02 pm on Nov 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've had pages doing this for years, and I've noticed no problems. If you disable the JavaScript, it probably would not get caught by an algorithm. But if the page is ranking for a significant search term, then the human editorial army would be reviewing it, and that's how it would be caught.

According to the leaked human reviewer training documents, one of the major focuses is hidden content. There are so many ways to hide things on a web page with today's technology that a 100% algorithmic approach would be a nasty undertaking. It would probably generate too many false positives, even as it missed major infractions. Google really doesn't need to worry about missing hidden content if it doesn't generate lots of traffic for the page.


 1:19 am on Nov 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would like to throw adsense out there as part of this. If it's MFA then Google will cut you from the herd pretty quickly.


 12:44 pm on Nov 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Article sites = link farms

It's only a matter of time IMO

...or at least they'll be devalued

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