[SEO Manual Chapter 2f]



In addition to the positive search ranking factors reviewed in the preceding blog post, there are also negative factors that can lower your rankings or incur a penalty from Google.

Needless to say, your SEO program must audit for these negative factors and fix any instances of them. These negative factors include the following:


  • Hidden text – hiding text from human view (but not search engines), often by making the font color the same as the background.
  • Cloaking – delivering different content to search engines versus human visitors.
  • Keyword stuffing – multiple and frequent use of keywords, so that it actually diminishes readability and content quality.
  • Doorway pages – pages specifically created to attract target keywords and offering no value to visitors (example: department store creates separate pages for all variations of keywords related to dresses, with little or no unique content on any of them).
  • Automatic redirects – this is a legitimate function, except when used with doorway pages and domains.
  • Duplicate content – technically speaking, there is NO penalty for having duplicate content. It’s just content considered duplicates receive little or no rankings from Google.
  • Purchasing links – although they can assess a penalty, Google tends to just negate the value of those purchased backlinks.
  • Over-optimization – having a site that is too optimized can actually get a site penalized.


Feeling paranoid? Relax. According to Google, their anti-webspam team looks to penalize only websites who unfairly try to manipulate their SERP rankings. An argument could be made that using the positive factors described earlier also manipulates rankings. But the key to white hat SEO is ensuring that your website deserves the higher ranking – by providing quality content.

Again, this SEO manual will spend the next several dozen posts to provide detailed instructions and tips for optimizing your websites.




Next SEO Manual post:  Anatomy of the SERP


The Web1Media SEO Manual is an advanced search engine optimization (SEO) guide developed by Web1Media and serialized for public use. The SEO tactics, strategies and principles discussed in this SEO manual have been gleamed from our own experiences in the SEO, SEM and online marketing arena. If you would like to cite any portion of this SEO guide for non-profit use, we would be honored and simply request a citation link.

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