7 SEO Deadly Sins (Mistakes) – Says Google Webspam Team

SPAM, a word that I’m almost sure that everyone has already heard about. For the online web and “SEOers”, it is most commonly associated with “actions” that are frowned upon by users and search engines. With the advent of Google’s constant quest to improve search results, many websites have seen negative effects on their rankings, and consequently traffic to their websites. One of the first questions that webmasters or site owners ask themselves when such “effect” impacts a sites traffic is, why?

Obvious and straightforward question. Now, the answer to that question may not be as obvious or straightforward. A site that has been ranking well may be affected due to an algorithm update or due to manual actions taken by Google’s web spam team.

Last week, Google launched a new feature on its webmaster tools called “manual actions viewer“. This feature allows a webmaster to see if a particular site currently has a “manual spam action”.

manual action viewer

Along with the new feature, and to help those that received manual actions, Google created a seven video series explaining the reasons of the most common manual action notifications. Essentially, Matt Cutts and some of his colleagues runs through the following:

  • Pure spam
  • User-generated spam
  • Unnatural Links to site
  • Unnatural links from your site
  • Unnatural Links to site – that impacts links.
  • Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing
  • Thin content (content with little or no value)

So, if you have been affected by recent updates from Google, received a manual action message, unnatural links messages or simply just curious as to what actions “they” consider to be harmful to your site (so you can avoid doing it), then these videos will be of great interest to you. Matt and company provides some very helpful insights and examples, and addresses the all important issue of how to recover from penalties.

Pure Spam

Deadliest one (traditional back hat tactics – autogenerated gibberish, cloaking, scraping, throw away domains, etc..), specially if you are thinking of buying an expired domain, or a website with bad track record. Matt goes to the extent of saying “I wish you luck” on recovering..

User-Generated SPAM

Are you running a forum? Are you giving attention to it? How about your blogs? Look at your comments…

Unnatural Links To Site

Paid links and other bad stuff. What to do when requesting a link removal from offending sites? Also talks about the disavow tool…

Unnatural links from your site

Sites you are linking to. The easiest to deal with as you have total control. Matt mentions that “outbound links” are usually “link selling” (or any other form of compensation one may receive). Again, its all good to sell links or get compensated, but, and here’s the big BUT.. Make sure it DOES NOT pass PageRank. Use the rel=nofollow attribute or…

Unnatural Links to site – that impacts links.

Matt mentions their primary purpose (guess what?). Talks about taking “targeted actions against your site” due to bad links coming from – SPAM guest books, excessive link exchanges, forum links, and more. Hmmm, I don’t know about you, but there is a slight possibility that “Negative SEO” is somewhat included in here, and it could work. What do you think? Also, if you are using or thinking of using a “reputation management” firm, listen to what Matt says first.

Hidden text and/or keyword stuffing

Pretty much straightforward, but you may have some “hidden texts” and don’t know about it. One way to avoid “hidden texts” for example (unless you are deliberately doing it) is to ensure your site is secured to protect yourself from hacks.

Thin content (content with little or no value)

Examples include, using doorways, thin affiliate links (using an affiliate feed – beware Amazon auto whatever users), syndication, scraping, mashups, article banks, etc.

And an added bonus. This is yet another of Matt’s most recent video. Answers a question (or not) about making use of rel=nofollow on widgets, infographics, etc. After watching it, do let me know what you conclusions you arrived.

That’s it! I hope this helps.

image credit: potenture.com


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone.com. iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

21 thoughts on “7 SEO Deadly Sins (Mistakes) – Says Google Webspam Team

  • I do not see anything new from what they have been saying about spam – just twisting of words – they always encourage creating quality websites and they abive points define the same

  • Love the title, checking my site now and see if I can find any deadly sins..

  • Deadly Sin!
    Very informative post. Guest blogging is a wonderful Idea as you get to market yourself on other blogs and this can do a lot to increase traffic to your site. Glad I came across your post.

  • This post clarifies, why Google would take “manual spam action” against your website. It also clarifies which action one should avoid to remain safe.

  • I think still spamming link building working! because one of a site copy my full website contents and as a result I got penalized & he got higher ranking!! whats going on???

    • Matt mentioned some time ago that it is possible that a site who “copies” your content rank higher than the original author. For this, you can do the following: claim your Google authorship, file a DMCA or submit a SPAM report to Google

      • hi DiTesco
        nice article nice expiation about spam and types of spam very helpful video tutorial about spam thanks for sharing.

    • I think you should ping your new contents immediately after publishing so that search engines index those faster before anyone copies you. Also, @DiTesco gave a good idea. If someone have already copied and get away with it, I think you cannot do much about it. You should be aware in future.

  • thank you for explain spam,every webmaster need to be careful with seo

  • I use combination of tools – MajesticSEO together with Link Detox plus GWT. If you have a lot of links to go through I would check first for some spammy, not relevant or keyword-rich anchor text.

    But if you want a healthy link profile you need to definitely invest some time into it and go link by link.

    In the end, hard work pays off.

  • I have watched few of them earlier, especially the last one on how to use links in widgets and footer.
    With the scrutiny on link going out, commentluv become an important plugin. It can be used by spammers to create links from our blog. It needs a close watch now…

  • Hello,
    Manual actions must be taken against spammer as now Google is doing so. I have also got bunch of information regarding to the Pure Spam. Google keep updating its algorithm to remove bad-links and spamming but somewhere it was not so worthy as most of the webmasters do not care about the updates. But the new update is great because it mark webpages as Pure Spam manually and taking action against them by manual de-indexing of those pages which definitely will work.

  • Thank you for helping me know how to tell the difference between pure spam and more sincere kinds of marketing efforts. I fully agree with your other commenters that we need people (not just machines) protecting us from spam. Webmasters must be prepared to fight spam with their bare (that is, virtual) hands.

  • Nice explanation and videos as well, although i expected to be more detailed on some facts.

  • Thanks for sharing these useful information. It will help me a lot to know which are spam thing and what to avoid.

  • Thanks for sharing. I like the way you summed up what Matt Cutts said about spam.

  • Thanks, now i know all the various kind of spam and also how to avoid them, i have gone through many articles on this regards and now i am very satisfied with yours, thanks again.

  • hi
    different article
    everybody write about their SEO techniques but you write about the don’t of SEO that is different, unique as well as the important for any blogger and this can be learn only by the experience so thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Hi,
    i see many does this mistake, and they keep on spamming everywhere with their Blog/Website links. i feel pity and annoyed some times.
    i Guess those users, must surely have a look at this post and learn to correct their mistake.

    Thanks for putting up the right mistakes, hope it helps many.

  • Hi DiTesco,

    What Mr.Mat has said in all his video they are actually anti SEO.You might be aware of that.Quality is very important no doubt but some parts also are there to be mentioned which he is actually bundling.Its obvious that if you are using links then it should be used in a proper way and it should not be unnatural which can show post or comment as spam.

    I appreciate your post as you have clubbed video in a logical manner to make it understandable.I do not have my pic currently on my profile which will be on very soon buddy but i keep reading blog and comment there which help me to learn lot of things like a beginner which i am.Profile photo is also a important part of authentication and naturalism of a blogger.

    Hope i have replied in a logical manner on your good post.


  • Profile photo is also a important part of authentication and naturalism of a blogger. good post thanks for sharing

Comments are closed.