Violations & search engine spam penalties

Violations & search engine spam penalties

What is a Search Engine Spam Penalty?

A search engine penalty is a punitive action being taken against a website involving in deceptive or black hat SEO practices.

Google’s explanation of a "penalty" is some manual action taken against a website, opposed to the automated repercussion of an algorithm or quality strainer. Penalties can vary from as little as lowered rankings to as severe as fully blacklisting from the search engine's index.

Over the past many years, a number of delusions have come forth about how the search engines function. For a SEO fresher, this crops up ambiguity about what's needed to operate effectively.

So as a part of "search engine penalty", we will explain the real story behind the misconceptions and reality.

Search Engine Submission

During the traditional SEO times (1990s), search engines consisted of submission forms that were a part of the optimization process. Site owners Web perfectionists would tag their pages and sites with keyword details, and submit them to the engines. Just after submission, a bot would crawl and add those resources in their index. Simple SEO!

Unluckily, this entire process didn't work very well; the submissions were mostly spamming, so the practice ultimately paved way to entirely crawl-based engines. Since 2001, not only has search engine submission not been needed, but has become practically irrelevant. The engines all openly note the best practice is to gain links from other sites. This will naturally reveal your content to other sites.

You can still sometimes see submission pages, but these are residues of the past, and are useless for modern SEO practices.

Meta Tags

Long ago, Meta tags (in specific, the Meta keywords tag) were an essence of the SEO process. The practice involves including the keywords you wanted your site to rank for, and when surfers typed in those particular terms, your page could show up in a query. This process was rapidly spammed to die out, and was ultimately discarded by all the major search engines as an important ranking indicator. So, still be using them can get you punished from Google, may be in form of lower ranking.

Other tags, in particular the Meta description tag, title tag are an integral part for quality SEO. Furthermore, the Meta robots tag is also a crucial tool for managing crawler access. So, while knowing the functions of Meta tags is significant, they are no longer the prime focus of SEO.

Keyword Stuffing

It is by far one of the most evident and laments spamming techniques that involves cluttering up of keyword phrases or terms repetitively on a page in order to make it look more optimized to the search engines. Unfortunately, this technique is almost certainly futile.

Scanning a page for stuffed keywords is not awfully grueling for search engines, and the engines' algorithms are all well aligned take up the task.

Ever saw a page that looks spammy? May be something like:

"Tom’s Chinese corner is the best Chicago’s TAKE AWAY restaurant, and is the cheapest Chicago’s restaurant for all your Chinese food cravings. Contact a cheap Chicago’s TAKE AWAY restaurant to feed yourself with tasty food at home from the best and cheapest Chicago’s TAKE AWAY restaurant."

Not peculiarly, a constant myth in SEO revolves around the theory that keyword density—the number of words on a page categorized by the number of instances of a given keyword—is utilized by the search engines for calculating ranks and relevancy.

Despite being refuted many times over, this myth is yet springing. Many SEO tools still fuel on the idea that keyword density is an essential parameter. It is NOT. The best metric is to use keywords smartly and not largely with usability in mind. The merit from an additional 10 instances of your keyword on the page is way lower than achieving one good editorial link from a source that doesn't perceive you as a search spammer.


A standard principle of search engine guidelines is to display the same content to the engine's crawlers that you would show to a human visitor. This literally means, among other elements, not to conceal text in the HTML code of your site that an ordinary visitor cannot see.

When this guideline is disturbed, the engines call it "cloaking" and take its own action to prohibit these pages from ranking in their results. Cloaking can be accomplished for a number of reasons and in variety of ways, both negative and positive. In some instances, the engines may allow to pass practices that are technically cloaking because they subscribe to a favorable user experience.

Content Value

As we have observed, a site page's value is measured in part based on its creation, uniqueness, freshness and the visitor's experience; similarly is the complete domain's value evaluated. Sites that chiefly deliver meaningless, incoherent, duplicate or outdated content may discover themselves unable to rank at all over search engine as a part of penalty laid on to them for continually being submitting disapproved content type. The site can even be penalized with no or lower rank also if classic on- and off-page SEO is well-optimized. The major engines plainly do not need hundreds of copies of Wikipedia spacing up their indexes, so they utilize algorithmic and manual review technique to prevent this.

Search engines persistently assess the fruitfulness of their own results. They compute when users click on a result, speedily press the back button on their browser, and try another result. This suggests that the result they submitted didn't fulfill the user's desires.

It is not sufficient just to rank for a query. Once you have achieved your ranking, you have to prove it time and again.

Google’s domain-level penalty aims sites with a superior volume of so-so content and virtually treats it the same way it treats overt spam techniques.

Paid Links

Many enterprises including fortune500 companies have encountered massive penalties from search engines and lost huge revenue as an outcome of purchasing and selling links in a manner that they transfer search engine search credit, and it is not in anyone’s best interest whatever the viewpoint.

Individuals wanting to receive higher rankings buy links from pages and sites seeking to put a link in lieu for money. These at times develop into widespread networks of link sellers and buyers, and though the engines work hard to halt them (Google in specific has taken terrible actions), they carry on in offering value to many buyers and sellers.

Manipulative Linking

One of the predominant kinds of web spam is manipulative link procurement, trials to manipulate the search engines' use of link demand in their ranking algorithms to unnaturally enhance online appearance. Few ways manipulative links can appear include: Low quality directory links, Reciprocal link exchange programs and Link schemes.

Hidden text

After you decided to stuff keyword, your next plan of action would probably be "Why not to also hide all this text that no human wants to look at?" You may make the text white, so it integrates with a page’s background. Unfortunately, doing so, you would have spammed a search engine.

Make a note- Search engines do not like or entertain anything hidden. They typically seek to see everything that a user sees. To protect yourself from being penalized, make sure you do not hide text, whether by using display, fonts, styles, and any other means that so a user can’t see it.

Piracy/DMCA takedowns

The "Pirate" update attacked sites violating on copyright law. Subjected to immense pressure from the Hollywood powerhouses, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and ministry council, Google start to penalize sites that received a huge sum of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) "takedown" notifications.

It is improbable that many sites will have to tackle with these problems, but you should deal with any DMCA takedown requests that display in your Google Search Console account.

Ads/Top Heavy layout

Have you ever visited a site and found it difficult to find the actual content in between the ocean of ads? This is thing that the page layout algorithm was meant to counter. Also commonly known as Top Heavy, this penalty is released for sites that annoy the user experience by putting up of overtly plethora of ads before content. So do not allow your users search for the content.

Domain Level Spam Analysis

Along with scanning separately single pages for spam, engines can also determine characteristics and properties through whole of root domains or subdomains that could label them as spam.

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