What is a -30 Penalty?

A minus-30 or negative-30 penalty is an informal designation used by search engine optimization (SEO) specialists and theorists to describe a common type of search ranking penalty assessed by Google in the past. It has never been officially acknowledged by Google’s webspam team, but many SEOs have observed its application enough times to start using the label to describe certain types of penalties.

Websites assessed with a -30 penalty would not appear on the first 30 organic entries on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). In other words, the website would not appear on the first three (3) pages of Google search results for their specific target keywords.

This was a manual penalty, rather an algorithmic penalty. The penalty was assessed manually by the Google web spam team after Google determined that the website has violated Google’s rules against unallowed SEO activities. These violations often involved buying links, prohibited linkbuilding tactics or unallowed onsite optimization.

Today, SEOs don’t use the -30 penalty designation as Google has made significant changes to the way it penalizes web sites… and why.


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