Msg#: 4528151 posted 9:48 pm on Dec 14, 2012 (gmt 0)
I'd say one minor spam signal could be pages that have very similar content overall, but that target slightly different query phrases. This is actually something like the old "blue line" pages that some SEO software from the 90s created to be used as doorway pages.
Depending on how many pages are involved, this could even be promoted to a "major" spam signal and get a severe penalty. When it's just a couple, it's minor and all but one page gets thrown out of the index.
Msg#: 4528151 posted 3:36 am on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)
Well, since each page is designed for a slightly different query phrase, I don't see how that could happen. From what I've seen, this kind of thing is usually aimed at 3-word and even 4-word phrases... all building off a 2-word phrase.
In this case, at best, a single 3-word phrase page continues to rank for that phrase. The 2-word phrase is a goner, and the rest of the 3-word pages, too. If there are a lot of these pages (in other words, it's a widespread tactic building off several 2-word phrases) then all pages on the site may stop ranking. But then it's beyond a "minor" spam signal.
A related spam tactic is throwing a lot of any "related search" phrases into the same page. I've seen that page vanish from the SERPs, but bounce back quickly after the related phrases are removed.