Google Ranking Signals: On-Site Web Spam Factors

By Sandy  Apr 3, 2014 in SEO  No Comments

This is the tenth post of our Google ranking signals series. Check out the previous nine posts which detail all the factors Google use to rank a webpage:

In this post, we will look into all the on-site web spam factors which influence Google ranking.

On-site web spam factors are those activities that take place ‘on’ the site and impact the site negatively. 

Let’s take a look at them.

Bad Neighborhood Links

Linking to sites dealing with payday loans or pharmacy or other harmful sites can spoil a site’s search engine visibility.

Moreover, sites running on shared servers should be extra careful because if there are ‘bad’ sites hosted on the same server, it can have a minor impact.

Google On Site Web Spam Factors

Ads as a Popup

Take down that ad if shown as a popup to visitors because it will lead to severe penalty. The Google Rater Guidelines Documents state that the site shouldn’t show advertisements as popup and neither should they display distracting advertisements.

‘Above the Fold’ Ads

A lot of websites display ads above the load because it gives high CTR. However, the Page Layout Algorithm will penalize the site if there are too many ads displayed above the fold that it overshadows the content.

It could also happen that there is no content or the text is very thin; in such cases, it calls for penalization.

Google Panda & Penguin Penalty

These two harmless animals are the cause of severe concern for webmasters, but it shouldn’t bother if a webmaster uses correct on-page and off-page SEO techniques.

Over optimization of site and pages with keyword stuffing, keyword decoration, header tag stuffing and more can cause either the Panda or the Penguin penalty.

Affiliate Sites

Affiliate marketing is a major source of income for bloggers. However, the popular opinion is that Google isn’t a big fan of affiliate sites because they usually host thin content which isn’t too valuable for the readers.

Note that Google isn’t against affiliate marketing wholly; it is against the way it reduces content quality just to produce some sales. However, if you wish to establish an affiliate marketing model, ensure that the content is of premium quality.

Hiding Affiliate Links

Cloaking the affiliate links is a big no-no. Google knows you’re earning as an affiliate so what’s the point in hiding them?

Auto-Generated Content

Sites publishing auto-generated content using any software can be either penalized or de-indexed from the search engine altogether.

PageRank Sculpting

No matter what Matt Cutts say or how many times the PR is updated every year, PR is still a valuable metric and therefore, if Google finds that a webmaster is trying to sculpt PR, it will bring heavy penalty.

PR sculpting examples include making all outbound links NoFollow or making all internal links DoFollow and the sorts. Every site should have a balanced version of dofollow and nofollow links.

PR sculpting is thought of as ways to game the system. Any webmaster doing this should stop it this instant.

Spamming Meta Tag

In the early years, webmasters used to fill the Meta tag section with selected keywords in order to rise in SERP; but over the years, Google has become cleverer and penalizes any site indulging in Meta tag spamming.

Webmasters shouldn’t spam the Meta tag or the title tag with keywords. It becomes a black hat SEO practice. Follow safe and white hat on-page SEO practices.

IP Address Authentication

It happens in shared servers. If any IP address is tagged as spam and the concerned site is hosted on the same server, the site will feel a heavy impact in terms of search engine rank loss.

Similarly, if the IP address of the concerned site is flagged as spam, other sites on the same server will be in danger. Therefore, try not to do any activities which might result in the IP address getting tagged as spam.


Follow proper SEO and other Google algorithm practices to protect your site from on-site web spam penalty.

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