Search Marketing Consultant

Web Marketing & Search Engine Consultant

Very cold on Google SERPs at minus 30

Photo describing the Google -30 penalty: a cold winter day near a small pond

A new threat to top ranking web sites on Google is now called the minus 30 penalty. What is it ?? I have been following things since October. It all started when webmasters were finding their sites ranking at a -30 positions: Many were ranking #1 on specific keywords and found themselves at #31 from one day to the next.

At first it looked like an indexing anomaly, but as the number of sites stricken by the same problem was rising, so was the suspicion it was a new penalty as people were talking about it in the forums. You'll find a lengthy thread at webmaster world.

The penalty is a major draw back for any site that was # 1 and is now #31 – this can mean several orders of magnitude less traffic and transactions.

To me it looks very much like an ancient torture narrated by the English writer George Orwell: Food was positioned just beyond reach as prisoners were left to starve and die of thirst …

Apparently this penalty can be triggered by soft spamdexing, questionable linking procedures (i.e. linking to bad neighborhoods), or duplicate content. Who knows.

At the moment the only way to establish a contact with Google is via your site map. If you don't have one now is the time to lok into setting it up.

I think it's important to see the bigger picture here and understand where we are going:

  • If you are serious about your online business you'd better forget quick and dirty solutions – penalties may suddenly become permanent and once you are out it means starting all over again from scratch.
  • History is now an integral part of your web site – everything thing you do is recorded online too – Google (and the others for that matter) are looking and listing to each and every move you make – once they catch you you're on their list of smart guys.

Of course there are still plenty of sites playing tricks and gaming the search engines but it won't last forever: low level keyword stuffing, old fashioned doorway pages with redirects, are online for everyone to see.

I ask a simple question: wouldn't it be a lot better if they concentrated on developing a visibility strategy instead of reading up on how to get positioned on the search engines in a few days ?

2 Replies

  1. liveblueprints

    Nice read, more info to add to my useless knowledge of search engine ranking lol

  2. A new threat to top ranking web sites on Google is now called the minus 30 penalty. What is it ?? can you know more just pass me out… 😀