Google's -60 penalty and how to avid it
During the last weeks, people in online forums observed
some strange Google result changes. Rumor has it that there
is a new -60 penalty that Google applies to websites in which
it has lost trust.
What has happened?
Some webmasters found websites that were listed on position
61 in Google's search results that had Google Sitelinks
below their listing.
Normally, Google only displays Google Sitelinks for the
first search result.
Many webmasters believe that the website that was listed
on position 61 with the Sitelinks was the number 1 result
for that keyword but had been penalized by Google.
What does Google say about the -60 penalty?
In a Google Groups discussion about
showing Sitelinks for #61 results Google employee John
Mu referred to a -60 penalty discussion.
Google hasn't officially confirmed that a -60 penalty
exists. However, Google employee John Mu indicated in a discussion about
the -60 penalty in the official Google groups that Google
penalizes websites if they contain certain spam elements.
Which spam elements trigger the -60 penalty?
It looks that Google applies this penalty to websites
that buy links.
Many of the websites that seem to have been penalized
had many inbound links from websites that linked to them
from every single page of their website (so-called site-wide
links). Sitewide links are an indicator of paid links,
which Google sees as an unwanted way to artificially inflate
search engine rankings.
The head of Google's anti-spam team Matt Cutts has often
said that websites that buy paid links will be penalized
and it looks as if Google tries to do the job properly.
If this penalty for paid links really exists then even websites
that follow Google's rules can get in trouble. Your competitors
could harm your website simply by buying links or by creating
mini-net websites with sitewide links to your website.
of penalizing seemingly "bad" links, Google should simply
ignore them. That way, people could not harm competitor websites.
If you don't want to get in trouble with Google, you should
only use ethical
search engine optimization methods.