SEO: Ranking and penalties

In a new series of blog articles, we take a look at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for beginners to keep you up to date with the ever changing digital world. In this blog we take on SEO rankings and SEO penalties; what should you NOT do. 

Ultimately, search engines want businesses/ individuals to perform SEO well because it improves search engine results however, to ensure this is done properly Google has to have some guidelines to ensure that its users are getting the best results possible.

There are some techniques which search engines consider ‘spam’ which could result in your pages receiving a ranking penalty or worse, being banned from the search engine completely.

Here are some areas to avoid when creating content for your website:



Making sure you don’t hide content is extremely important throughout your website. Rigging your site so that search engines are shown a completely different version from your audience is frowned upon and has been given the nickname ‘cloaking.’

This is frowned upon by search engines such as Google and should be avoided at all costs. If you get caught carrying this activity out during your SEO process then you could be banned from search engines completely.

The reason this penalty is so steep is because it is seen as a deliberate attempt to manipulate search results.


Keyword overload

This is one of the first tactics in the SEO books, yet it’s still being used and search engines hate it.

This stems from search engines expressing a need for website owners to use words which you want to be found for on your pages. Businesses then started to use these words over and over and over again which makes content boring and repetitive – the main reason search engines don’t like it.

Use your initiative to understand how often is too often. There’s no correct answer here but you should not use keywords to the extremes as this will cause a hefty penalty and lower you in the rankings of search engine results.

The main tip here is to ensure you don’t type the same words too many times in a row and you should be fine.


Avoid the ads

Although advertising on your site will have a great monetary value to you, it can be frowned upon if used in excess.

Have you ever checked out a website and found it hard to find actual content because it’s hidden behind a mass of advertisements? That’s when search engines frown upon and begin to penalise websites in rankings.

These sites are usually referred to as ‘top heavy’ and page layout algorithms are often picked up as negative and will hinder SEO ranking results as an outcome.



Links are a great way to get positive SEO feedback and allow you to move your way up the rankings. However, use this wisely and internally on your website.

The reason for this is because using it internally shows you are creating relevant content as it links back to other content you’ve written – using it externally on other websites, forums or social media sites can be seen as ‘spamming’.

SEO scanners will pick up on this as they will see your links on a variety of other sites and will pick up on what you’ve been doing. There’s no need to swamp the internet if you have a great business because your SEO rankings will speak for themselves.

Lay off the keyboard and focus on researching quality content you could be adding to your site to create a long term-benefit rather than short-term.

If you want to know more about how SEO and Google Search Console can help you and your business, get in touch here. We are also currently offering free SEO Health Checks. Click the link to get yours.

Author: Dave Williams

Dave Williams is the founder and director of onefoursix; a digital marketing agency based in Northampton. After setting up onefoursix in 2011, Dave has gone on to grow it to one of Northampton’s finest agencies. His expertise include social media, user experience and SEO.

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