A website’s loss or decline in rankings within Google’s Search Engine Results Pages for select terms and keywords. These losses in rankings occur when a website breaches Google’s terms of service. Some of Google’s general guidelines for proper Search Engine Optimization, that adheres their Terms of Service, can be found here.
Reasons You May Be Penalized
Once Google has detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, the company will encourage you to make changes to your site to meet these standards.
A few possible reasons for the Google Penalty are:
- Artificial or unnatural links: Links pointing to your site intended to manipulate PageRank.
- Unnatural linking: Buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
- Keyword stuffing: Loading pages with irrelevant keywords.
- Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
- Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
- Don’t send automated queries to Google.
- Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.