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The Complete Guide to Google’s 200+ Ranking Factors

by | Dec 18, 2018

Businesses pay a lot of attention to Google rankings and put aside a substantial amount of resources devoted to making sure they are ranked higher on search results; this includes hiring SEO experts to help give their businesses a distinct advantage.

This makes understanding how the Google algorithm works very important, so businesses are trying to utilise the available information to their favour. Here is a list of Google ranking factors:

 

  1. Domain Age: Matt Cutts (a Google engineer) stated that the age of a domain has very little significance to how it’s ranked, with the content being more important.
  2. Keywords Appear in the Top Level Domain: though not as effective as it was previously, using certain keywords in the domain will still influence search results.
  3. Keyword as First Word in Domain: having the target keyword as the first word in a domain is a way of wielding significant influence over other domains that have the keyword in the middle or at the end.
  4. Domain Registration Length: the expiry date of a domain is used to determine the legitimacy of the domain.
  5. Keyword in Subdomain: it was revealed by Moz’s 2011 panel that the keyword appearing in a subdomain boosts Google ranking.
  6. Domain History: Google uses its algorithm to reset a website’s history if it’s under volatile ownership or has been penalised.
  7. Exact Match Domain: the Google algorithm reduces the ranking of low quality EMD’s in search results, which affects the edge a website has over others.
  8. Public vs. Private WHOis: certain details can sometimes be concealed by private WHOis information, which might be considered as trying to hide something and will subsequently impact ranking negatively.
  9. Penalised WHOis Owner: once Google identifies an owner as a spammer, every site owned by that person comes under scrutiny.
  10. Country TLD Extension: a website’s chances of ranking globally are affected if it has a Country Top Level Domain (ccTLD). However, this can help the site rank higher in its country of origin.
  11. Keyword in Title Tag: doing this is a smart move towards increasing the SEO ranking. It can also serve as a strong signal to boost ranking.
  12. Title Tag Starting With Keyword: a title tag that starts with a keyword performs better than one with a keyword at the end.
  13. Keyword in Description Tag: though not as important, using a keyword in the descriptions is still enough to make a difference.
  14. Keyword in H1 Tag: H1 tags are the ‘second title tag’ of Google. Subsequently, Google ranking is boosted by including a keyword in H1 tag.
  15. TF – IDF: this is a way of asking: “How many times does a certain word appear in a document?” A word that appears several times will serve as a signal to the relevance of such.
  16. Content Length: Google prefers content with a higher word count, which is believed to cover more and has been found to influence SERP rankings.
  17. Table of Contents: using a table of contents can result in site links and will also help Google to better understand the content on the page.
  18. Keyword Density: this is a factor used by Google to determine the topic of a web page; however, it isn’t as relevant as it once was and overdoing it will negatively impact ranking.
  19. Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords in Content (LSI): these help search engines extract relevance from words that have more than one meaning and also act as a content quality signal.
  20. LSI Keywords in Title and Description Tags: using keywords in meta descriptions and title helps Google discern between synonyms; this in turn increases SEO ranking.
  21. Page Covers Topic In-Depth: a page that covers every angle of any given topic is likely to rank higher than one that only covers a topic partially.
  22. Page Loading Speed via HTML: page loading speed is a ranking factor with Google. The speed of a site can be estimated fairly accurately, based on the page’s HTML code.
  23. Page Loading Speed via Chrome: Google may sometimes use Chrome user data to better manage the page loading time. This way, they can tell how quickly a page loads for users.
  24. Use of AMP: this is not a direct Google ranking factor, but might be a requirement to rank in the mobile version of Google’s News Carousel.
  25. Entity Match: if the content of a page matches the entity a user is searching for, the page could receive a ranking boost for the keyword.
  26. Google Hummingbird: Google can now better understand the topic of a page, thanks to this ‘algorithm change’.
  27. Duplicate Content: a site’s visibility can be adversely affected if there is identical content - even if it is slightly modified.
  28. Rel = Canonical: using this tag properly can prevent Google from penalising a site for duplicate content.
  29. Image Optimisation: the title, caption, file name and description of an image are crucial to its ranking position.
  30. Recent Updated Content: updated content is crucial for time sensitive searches, as Google shows the date a page was last updated.
  31. Magnitude of Content Updates: adding new updates and eliminating insignificant sections is very important and serves as a freshness factor.
  32. Historical Page Updates: the frequency of a page update – whether daily, weekly or monthly - is important to freshness and relevant to ranking.
  33. Keyword Prominence: if the keyword appears in the first 100 words on the page, this will send a relevance signal.
  34. Keyword in H2 and H3 Tags: another factor that affects ranking is making the keyword appear in the H2 and H3 subheadings.
  35. Outbound Link Quality: Many SEOs think that linking to authority sites helps send trust signals to Google; this is backed up by a recent industry study.
  36. Outbound Link Theme: Google often uses the content of the page you link to as a relevancy signal. Therefore, the content of your page and the outbound link have to be similar.
  37. Grammar and Spelling: Although it’s never been stated whether this influences ranking, correct grammar and spelling are nevertheless important qualities of a good content.
  38. Syndicated Content: a page with original content will rank higher than one with content copied from an indexed page; consequently such a page could be penalised.
  39. Mobile Friendly Update: usually referred to as ‘Mobilegeddon’, this is an update which rewards pages that are appropriately optimised for mobile devices.
  40. Mobile Usability: a website that’s user friendly will have an edge in Google’s ‘Mobile-first Index’ with little difficulty.
  41. ‘Hidden’ Content on Mobile: except for critical content, the ‘hidden’ content on mobile devices might not be indexed or weigh as heavy as fully visible content.
  42. Helpful ‘Supplementary Content’: according to a Google rating guideline document, helpful supplementary content shows the quality of a page; these include currency converters, loan interest calculators and so on.
  43. Content Hidden behind Tabs: content that requires clicking a tab to be revealed might not be indexed.
  44. Number of Outbound Links: surplus outbound links leak page ranks and affect ranking.
  45. Multimedia: an industry study found a connection between multimedia elements such as images and videos and the quality of a page.
  46. Number of Internal Links Pointing to a Page: the relevance of a page to other sites is determined by the number of links pointing to that page; this subsequently benefits the page’s ranking.
  47. Quality of Internal Links Pointing Page: more preference is given to internal links from authoritative pages.
  48. Broken Links: A website that features too many broken links that point nowhere or return 404 errors is considered neglected and will not rank well on Google search.
  49. Reading Level: The simpler the grammar used in creating content, the more appealing said content will be to the average article reader; thus, the higher the site is ranked on Google.
  50. Affiliate Links: While affiliate links do not affect site ranking directly, having too many of them can lead to it being classified as a ‘thin affiliated site’.
  51. HTML errors/W3C validation: Sites with lots of HTML errors or sloppy coding will be considered low quality and subsequently ranked lower.
  52. Domain Authority: Pages on higher authority domains are usually ranked higher than those on domains with less authority, assuming all other factors are constant in both regards.
  53. Page’s PageRank: Pages with higher PageRank will fare better on Google than their lower ranked counterparts, although this correlation has not been perfect.
  54. URL Length: The shorter the URL, the better a page ranks on Google search.
  55. URL Path: Pages closer to the homepage have a slight edge on Google than those buried deeper in the site’s layout.
  56. Human Editors: There is an unconfirmed Google patent that gives human editors the ability to influence search engine rankings.
  57. Page Category: Pages that are more closely related to the searched category enjoy a significant relevance boost on Google.
  58. WordPress Tags: WordPress specific tags boost your site’s rankings by helping to relate one piece of content to another.
  59. Keyword in URL: Using keywords in the url is another relevance signal that has an effect on ranking.
  60. URL String: Google reads the categories in the URL string and sometimes uses them to provide a thematic signal, indicating what the site is about.
  61. References and Sources: Articles that cite references and sources are regarded as high quality content, according to Google Quality Guidelines. Google has however stated that external links are not used in determining a site’s search ranking.
  62. Bullets and Numbered Lists: Using these when displaying your content helps make it more attractive and easily consumable for your readers. Google rewards this type of content with a higher search ranking.
  63. Priority of Page in Sitemap: A page’s priority with a sitemap.xml file can influence ranking.
  64. Too Many Outbound Links: The Google Quality Guidelines document notes that too many links on a site obscures the page and distracts from the main content.
  65. Quantity of Other Keywords Pages are Ranked for: Pages that rank high for other keywords are generally considered by Google to have internal quality.
  66. Page Age: Google generally prefers newer pages, but an older one that is constantly updated may still rank higher than those that are newer.
  67. User Friendly Page Layout: According to Google Quality Guidelines, high quality sites have a layout that enables the main content to be immediately visible and easily accessible.
  68. Parked Domains: In December 2011, Google rolled out an update that decreased the visibility of parked domains.
  69. Useful Content: Google is able to distinguish between content which is and isn’t useful, subsequently basing search engine results on this.
  70. Site Features Content with Value: Sites with stale or original content will be penalised by Google in the search rankings.
  71. Contact Us Page: A ‘Contact us’ page is on Google’s list of characteristics for quality sites. You’ll also score bonus points if the information on your ‘Contact us’ page matches that of your contact information.
  72. Domain Trust/Trust Rank: Sites with a higher trustrank may get higher search engine priority.
  73. Site Architecture: A well structured site helps Google organise your content and index your pages.
  74. Site Updates: Keeping your site updated with new content will contribute to the freshness factor and help it maintain a strong Google search ranking.
  75. Sitemap Inclusion: Having a sitemap on your website is another way to help Google index your pages.
  76. Site Uptime: lots of downtime from site maintenance (as well as the site taking too long to load) can affect the ranking of a site.
  77. Server Location: the location of the server influences the ranking of the site in various locations. This is especially important for geo-specific searches.
  78. SSL Certificate: Google use SSL certificates to rank sites, while the use of HTTPS helps a site rank higher.
  79. Terms of Service and Privacy Pages: having these two pages allows Google to know how trustworthy a site is.
  80. Duplicate Meta Information on Site: duplicate Meta information on a website lessens its visibility; websites are often warned about this.
  81. Breadcrumb Navigation: this is a user-friendly style of site architecture that helps users and search engines know where they are on a website. It also helps the site rank better.
  82. Mobile Optimised: Google penalises sites that aren’t mobile friendly, whilst being specific about websites being optimised for mobile users.
  83. YouTube: YouTube videos are preferred by Google and have been observed to increase a website’s traffic.
  84. Site Usability: a website that’s difficult to navigate or use will rank very poorly; this is because there will be a reduction in time spent on the site, pages viewed and bounce rate.
  85. Use of Google Analytics and Google Search Console: using these tools can directly influence Google by providing more information and influencing a site’s ranking.
  86. User Reviews: a review on sites like yelp.com is considered when ranking a website, as a positive review will help the site rank better.
  87. Backlinks from Aged Domains: using backlinks from aged domains have been proven to be more powerful than new domains.
  88. Number of Linking Root Domains: the number of linking domains is a decisive factor in the Google algorithm.
  89. Links from Separate C-Class IPS: the number of links from a separate c-class IPS indicates a wider breadth of sites linking to you, which definitely affects ranking.
  90. Number of Linking Pages: the number of linking pages - even from the same domain - will boost a site’s ranking.
  91. Backlink Anchor Text: although not as important as it used to be, an anchor text that’s keyword rich still shows strong relevance.
  92. Image Links: using Alt text serves as an anchor text for images.
  93. Using Links from .edu or .gov Domains: although considered not to be overly important, a site receiving links from .edu or .gov domains improves the authenticity of the site and will subsequently boost its ranking.
  94. Authority of Linking Page: the authority of the referring page plays an important part in the ranking of a site.
  95. Authority of Linking Domain: the authority of the linking domain is an important ranking factor for a site.
  96. Links from Competitors: links from pages ranking in the same SERP are valuable for ranking a site with the same keyword.
  97. Links from ‘Expected’ Website: Google may not fully trust a site until it receives links from an ‘expected’ site within the industry, although this is mere speculation.
  98. Links from ‘Bad Neighbourhoods’: links from bad neighbourhoods will hurt the ranking of a website.
  99. Guest Posts: guest posts send a positive message to Google and will likely boost page ranking, but they are not as powerful as true editorial links.
  100. Links from Ads: According to Google, links from ads shouldn’t be ‘nofollowed’.
  101. Homepage Authority: Links to a referring page’s homepage play an important role in evaluating the site’s ranking in SERP’s.
  102. ‘Nofollow’ Links: a certain percentage of ‘nofollow’ links may show a natural vs. unnatural link profile. This is a very controversial topic that Google sometimes follows, despite claiming they do not.
  103. Diversity of Link Types: a large portion of links coming from a single source is considered to be web spam; links from diverse sources are signs of a natural link profile.
  104. Sponsored Links: terms like ‘sponsors’ and ‘sponsored link’ might significantly decrease the value of a link.
  105. Contextual Links: Links embedded inside the content of a page are seen as more powerful than those found anywhere else.
  106. Excessive 301 Redirects: the ranking of a page can be affected negatively by backlinks coming from 301 redirects.
  107. Internal Link Anchor Text: this is another measure of relevance, but doesn’t carry as much weight as backlinks and anchor texts from external sites.
  108. Link Title Attribution: the link title (text that appears when you hover over a link) conveys a weak relevancy signal to Google.
  109. Country TLD of Referring Domain: a website will rank better in its country of origin if it receives links from country specific top level domains.
  110. Link Location in Content: links placed at the beginning of content will be more influential than those placed at the end.
  111. Link Location on Page: the position of a link on any page is important. Links embedded in content are more powerful than those found anywhere else on the page.
  112. Linking Domain Relevancy: linking from resources in the same niche is more relevant to ranking than links from unrelated sites.
  113. Page Level Relevancy: links from a page with content closely related to that of the site are more relevant than those from an unrelated page.
  114. Keyword in Title: Google prefers links from sites that use the keyword in the title of their articles.
  115. Positive Link Velocity: a positive link velocity shows a site is gaining popularity, which in turn boosts SERP.
  116. Negative Link Velocity: a negative link velocity shows a decline in popularity and significantly reduces a site’s ranking.
  117. ‘Hub’ Pages Links: links acquired from resources considered ‘top resources’ on a particular topic are preferred.
  118. Link from Authority Sites: links from sites considered an authority on a certain topic will rank higher than those from relatively unknown sources.
  119. Linked to as Wikipedia Source: many believe that sourcing a link from Wikipedia provides more of an advantage and will improve a site’s ranking, although the links are ‘nofollow’.
  120. Co-Occurrences: the words that tend to appear around a site’s backlink helps Google know what the site is about and will further improve ranking.
  121. Backlink Age: Older backlinks are more powerful than newer ones and will rank better.
  122. Links from Real Sites vs. Splogs: Google ranks links from real sites higher than those from fake blogs. It also uses brand and user interaction signals to distinguish between a real site and a fake one.
  123. Natural Link Profile: a site with natural link profile will rank better and be more receptive to updates.
  124. Reciprocal Links: excessive link exchange should be avoided, according to Google Link Scheme.
  125. User Generated Content Links: Google can identify a UGC link against content from the actual site owner; this subsequently counts towards the site’s ranking.
  126. Links from 301: when compared to a direct link, those from 301 negatively affect credibility. However, Matt Cutts states that 301 links are actually similar to direct links.
  127. Schema.org Usage: The pages that support micro formats rank above those that don’t. This is a direct boost and pages with micro formatting have a higher SERP CTR.
  128. TrustRank of Linking Site: the trustworthiness of the websites linking to you determines how much TrustRank is passed on to you.
  129. Number of Outbound Links on Page: The number of external links on a page determines how much Page Rank it receives; for instance, a page with a handful of links will rank better than one with hundreds of external links.
  130. Forum Links: Google is highly likely to devalue links from forums, because of industrial level spamming.
  131. The Linking Content’s Word Count: The higher the word count of the linking content, the more valuable the link.
  132. The Quality of the Linking Content: Similar to what’s noted above, better quality content will create more valuable links than poorly-written content.
  133. Sitewide Links: Sitewide links are compressed to form a single link.
  134. RankBrain: RankBrain is an algorithm learning artificial intelligence used by Google to determine the most relevant results for search engine queries. Google recently announced that RankBrain is its third most important ranking signal.
  135. Organic Click Through Rate for a Keyword: Google has stated that pages clicked more via CTR could benefit from a search engine rankings boost for that particular keyword.
  136. Organic Click Through Rate for all Keywords: A website’s/page’s organic click through rate for all keywords it ranks can be a human-based, user interaction signal. This contributes towards a quality score for the organic results.
  137. Bounce Rate: Pages with a high bounce rate are assumed not to be a great result for that particular keyword, which leads to the conclusion that there is a correlation between bounce rate and Google SERP.
  138. Direct Traffic: Google uses data gathered from the Google Chrome browser to determine the amount of traffic a site receives. Higher quality sites are expected to receive more direct traffic than badly poorly constructed sites.
  139. Repeat Traffic: Repeat visitors can earn websites a Google ranking boost.
  140. Pogosticking: Pogosticking is when an initial Google search (using certain keywords) does not yield the desired results and the user clicks on other search results to find what they’re looking for. The results from the initial search will drop in SERP for that/those keyword(s).
  141. Blocked Sites: While Google no longer uses the blocked sites feature, Panda still does (as a quality signal).
  142. Chrome Bookmarks: Pages that are bookmarked on the Google Chrome browser may receive a search engine boost.
  143. Number of Comments: Comments on a page are usually a sign of quality and user interaction; the more comments a page has, the higher the Google search ranking.
  144. Dwell Time: Dwell time refers to how much time users spend on a page that they clicked through from Google search results. Google uses this statistic to determine quality, so that the longer users spend on a page, the better it is for the site.
  145. Query Deserves Freshness (QDF): For certain Google searches, the more recent a post or content was made, the more of a boost they will receive.
  146. Query Deserves Diversity (QDD): Google often adds diversity to the search engine results page for ambiguous terms like ‘WWF’ or ‘ruby’.
  147. User Browsing History: Websites often visited by Google search engine users are given a boost on SERP.
  148. User Search History: Google uses the search chain to try and predict what a search user is looking for. For example, if a user searches reviews in general - and then conducts another search for computer hardware - the Google SERP will probably feature computer hardware reviews high on the list.
  149. Featured Snippets: Google chooses the ‘Featured Snippets’ content based on a combination of length, formatting, page authority and HTTPs usage.
  150. Geo Targeting: Special preference is given to sites with local server IPs and country-specific domain name extensions.
  151. Safe Search: Pages with strong language and adult content will not appear on the SERP when a user has the ‘safe search’ facility turned on.
  152. Google+ Circles: Authors and sites that have been added to a Google Plus user’s Circles show higher results on a Google search.
  153. YMYL Keywords: Google has added higher standards for ‘Your Money or Your Life’ websites.
  154. DMCA Complaints: Sites with legitimate DMCA complaints against them are downranked on Google SERPs.
  155. Domain Diversity: Google’s ‘Bigfoot Update’ has added more domains to each search results page.
  156. Transactional Searches: If a Google search includes shopping related keywords, the displayed search results will be skewed towards transactional sites.
  157. Local Searches: For local searches, local results are given priority over those that are regular and organic.
  158. Top Stories Box: Certain keywords can trigger a Top Stories Box.
  159. Big Brand Preference: Google has rolled the ‘Vince update’, which often boosts search engine results for more famous brands when certain keywords are used in that search.
  160. Shopping Results: Sometimes, Google Shopping results are displayed in organic SERPs.
  161. Image Results: Google Image Search uses organic listing for image results.
  162. Easter Egg Results: Certain keywords used in a Google search can return one of Google’s numerous Easter eggs.
  163. Single Site Results for Brands: If the Google search includes a specific brand or domain, the top results will likely be several from the same site.
  164. Payday Loans Update: The ‘payday loans update’ was created to weed out ‘spammy’ queries.
  165. Brand Name in Anchor Text: Branded anchor text may look simple, but it’s actually a strong brand signal.
  166. Branded Search: The more Google search engine users search for a particular brand, the more it signifies to Google that your brand is genuine and legitimate.
  167. Brand and Keyword Search: If a brand is often Google searched along with specific keywords, searches that comprise those keywords alone may include results with the brand.
  168. Social Media ‘Follows’ and ‘Likes’: Legitimate brands tend to have lots of social media ‘follows’ and ‘likes’. Google uses this to determine SERP rankings.
  169. Official LinkedIn Page: Most legitimate businesses have LinkedIn pages, so if your business has one, you will rank higher in Google’s search engine regard.
  170. Known Authorship: According to Google’s CEO: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which in turn will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.”
  171. Top Stories: The biggest brands in the world usually feature on Top Stories websites very often. Some of these brands even generate their own newsfeeds.
  172. Unlinked Brand Mentions: Sometimes, brands are mentioned without being linked to. In all likelihood, Google notes these unlinked brand mentions and uses them as a brand signal.
  173. Office Location Data: Google may be thorough enough to examine a brand’s location data and use that to determine whether the brand is famous or not.
  174. Panda Penalty: Google uses the ‘Panda penalty’ to penalise sites with low quality content (especially site farms) by reducing their search engine rankings.
  175. Bad Neighbourhood Links: Sites which link to other sites that have spammy features are penalised with a reduced Google search ranking.
  176. Redirecting: If a site is caught using sneaky redirects, it can be penalised severely or even de-indexed.
  177. Distracting Ads and Popups: According to the Google Rater Guidelines Document, distracting ads and popups are signs of a low quality website.
  178. Interstitial Popups: Sites that use interstitial popups that engulf the entire page could be punished by Google.
  179. Over-optimised Sites: As unlikely as it sounds, Google sometimes penalises sites for over-optimisation.
  180. Gibberish and Auto Generated Content: Google usually weeds out sites that feature content that can be categorised as gibberish or appears to be auto generated.
  181. Doorway Pages: A doorway page is a link which - when clicked on after a Google search - redirects to a different page than displayed in the SERP. Google considers pages like this misleading and penalises them in the rankings.
  182. Top Heavy Ads: Pages with lots of ads and little in the way of content above the fold incur penalties from Google.
  183. Hidden Affiliate Links: Going too far in hiding affiliate links is frowned upon by Google and is another way to incur penalties.
  184. Fred Update: The Fred update was rolled out by Google in 2017 to protect users from sites more interested in making money than helping users find what they’re looking for.
  185. Affiliate Sites: Google places sites that monetise affiliation under special scrutiny.
  186. Autogenerated Content: Sites that use autogenerated content are penalised in the SERP rankings or deindexed entirely in worst case scenarios.
  187. Excess PageRank Sculpting: Sites found by Google to be guilty of excess PageRank sculpting are suspected of trying to cheat the ranking system and penalised accordingly.
  188. IP Address Flagged for Spam: A server with an IP address that’s been flagged for spam will bring down the ranking of all websites hosted on it.
  189. Meta Tag Spamming: If Google suspects your site of having unnecessary words added to the title in an attempt to cheat the SERP algorithm, you will be penalised by Google.
  190. Unnatural or Sudden Influx of Links: A site that suddenly gains an influx of links raises red flags with Google and is placed under scrutiny.
  191. Google Penguin Penalty: The Penguin update announced in 2012 was introduced to combat black-hat SEO techniques, involving manipulating the number of links pointing to a page. Sites that employ such techniques will be penalised by Google.
  192. High Percentage of Low Quality Links: Sites with many links from sources commonly used by Black Hat SEOs raise red flags with Google.
  193. Relevancy of Linking Domain: According to this analysis, pages with a suspicious number of links from unrelated sites are more likely to be targeted by Penguin.
  194. Unnatural Links: Google sometimes sends out the warning “Google Search Console notice of detected unnatural links”. This warning is usually (though not always) accompanied by a ranking drop.
  195. Low-Quality Directory Links: Links from low-quality directories are penalised by Google.
  196. Widget Links: Links that are auto-generated when a user embeds a widget on their site are frowned upon and subsequently penalised by Google.  
  197. Links from the Same Class C IP: If your site receives an unnatural amount of links from other sites on the same server IP, Google could determine that your links come from a blog network.
  198. Poison Anchor Text: Sites that feature ‘poison’ anchor text like pharmacy keywords are identified as being hacked or ‘spammy’ by Google.
  199. Unnatural Links Spike: Google is able to determine whether an influx of links to a page is legitimate or not. Illegitimate links in this scenario will be devalued.
  200. Article Directories and Press Releases: Google considers article directories and press releases a link scheme and penalise sites that abuse them.
  201. Manual Actions: Several individual actions are considered Black Hat link building, such as spamming, cloaked images and keyword stuffing.
  202. Selling Links: Sites caught selling links are severely penalised in the Google SERP rankings.
  203. Google Sandbox: New sites that receive a sudden influx of links may be put in the Google Sandbox, limiting their SERP visibility.
  204. Google Dance: Google Dance is used by Google as a way to temporarily shake up the rankings and catch sites that are attempting to manipulate or cheat the search ranking algorithm.
  205. Disavow Tool: Sites that have been victims of negative SEO may reverse their penalties by using the Disavow tool.
  206. Reconsideration Request: Sites can also use the reconsideration facility to lift penalties.
  207. Temporary Link Schemes: A temporary link scheme creates spammy links and then quickly removes them in order to avoid sanctions. Google has ways of detecting and penalising sites that use this method.

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