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Google Penalties and Filters

Written by David Harry   
Sunday, 11 February 2007 19:54

Let's get this straight

I feel a RANT coming on here people – be ready to duck. I was making the rounds and ended up on Danny’s Daily SearchCast and a reference to a list of ‘possible’ Google penalties and filters on Joe Whyte’s site. This is where the blood began to boil.

rant.jpgWTF is with SEO folks and their incessant need to pigeon-hole every little theory no matter how silly or even illogical it is. While I am a fan of search technologies, I think it’s been agreed it isn’t ‘rocket science’. It certainly doesn’t need to be filled up with unnecessary mythologies and misdirection.

I have re-organized the list from it’s original form and added MY interpretations of these so-called ‘Penalties and Filters’.


Actual Filters –

Duplicate content – Most certainly a filter that affects a document during the indexing AND retrieval stages. More on Duplicate Content issues

Supplemental results – I can live with this one being grouped in with the filters. It most certainly qualifies as such.

Omitted results – while I wouldn’t call it a filter, I don’t know where else to put it. This, to me, is still more of an ‘authority’ issue than a filtering process… I shall leave it though.


Identity Crisis

Domain age – this falls more into the weighting (ranking) process than it does a filter nor a penalty. There is a difference between filters and ranking mechanisms.

Trust Rank? – Last I checked TR was a Yahoo technology and Google was more into ‘authority’ (same thing) scoring. Either way, it is a weighting mechanism not a filter or a penalty of any kind. He even says, “if your Trust Rank is low so will your rankings in the serps.” – which certainly implies a RANKING mechanism, not a filter nor a penalty.

Reciprocal link – this is a weighting aspect given to a site/pages link profile. The links in question are merely devalued accordingly. This is NOT a filter.

Link Farming – see above ‘Reciprocal link’ or below ‘links.htm’ for more details on this bit of misdirection.

Broken Link – this is really an indexation issue NOT a penalty nor a filter. Obviously if a site isn’t indexed properly it will not rank well…. What’s this even on the list for?

Page Load time – Ditto on this one, same as above.

Over Optimization – this is apparently a euphemism for KW stuffing and spamming. While that is certainly a penalty, a OOP penalty is just a silly phrase to explain Spam penalties we already know.


Side Effects

GoogleBomb – Not a filter but a side effect of a link reliant IR system. Or didn’t U know?


Conspiracy theories

GoogleBowling – an unproven entity that is less likely a threat by the day.

Google Sandbox - I won’t get into this one too much, it has it’s own volatile following. I dar not risk the ire of the worshippers therein. Needless to say I am more likely to talk in terms of ‘domain aging’ or ‘link maturity’ than I am with terms that are a moving target.  I leave it in the bin with Bad SEO

Google -30 penalty – which like the SB, has grown into mythical proportions and was last seen going by the name -950 penalty. Another one to be left out of ones SEO toolbox.

Links.htm penalty – OMG I won’t even go here other than to say that they do not need to filter actual page names when the documents link and phrasing profiles would devalue it. NOT THE NAME of the page in question.

Co-citation – this is also hearsay and if true opens the door to GoogleBowling.

Too many Pages – there are many legitimate instances of this. It MAY be one aspect in being identified as spam, but it is not a penalty on its own. This means it is NOT a concern for the legitimate webmaster and should be considered a conspiracy theory as a stand alone penalty.


So there you have it… doesn’t leave us with much in the end does it? I cannot fathom how Danny ended up referring this piece. Did he even read it? Does he endorse it? I sure as hell hope not.. Or I have just lost some more faith in the ‘old boys club’ of search.

L8TR Peeps - I'm out



0 # oral seymour 2007-02-11 21:32
I've never seen this side of you...keep it up..
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0 # theGypsy 2007-02-12 00:44
Well Oral, my fellow ranter... I had to think either Danny is coming up short on editorial excellence, or dropped the ball on this one.

I don't mind debatable information, but that list was way off the mark IMO.

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0 # waveshoppe 2007-02-12 09:08
Nice rant Dave, maybe there becoming like so many others, content bankrupt. Its not uncommon for people to stay within their comfort zone, end result being that you end up micro analyzing or dissecting every little thing in your playground.

I think in a way all the misinformation and chatter about so called filter and penalties degrades true SEO. It does not foster creative thinking for new SEO/webmasters.

The newest addition to our family should be operational by the end of the year, I am going to do my best to debunk many of those SEO urban legends.

If you have time then maybe you can get in on some of the monitoring and and benchmarking, maybe we can gather some usable data.

Charles :-?
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0 # Kay 2007-02-18 15:14
i think that one made it to the list cos broken links are/were one of the most overlooked reasons for significant drops in ranks.

When a website has links that remain unfixed for long periods of time it could be seen as not maintained popular enough for them to be noticed and corrected and therefore no longer relevant.

I assumed that this would trigger a 'redundant website' type of filter (but had no evidence - twas my own mind) so initially i was with danny. But now i think of it, just as improving ranks includes the building/fixing/growing of the link profile, it stands to reason that a damaged link profile will degenerate ranks with no intervention by filters or manually inflicted penalties necessary.

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