Severe Google penalties for repeat offenders

Distinguished Engineer at Google Matt Cutts has revealed that webmasters who choose to repeatedly disregard Google guidelines are at risk of receiving more severe penalties.

Webmasters that have been hit with a spam warning from Google should therefore be careful to keep everything completely above board and avoid the use of any black hat or possibly dubious SEO techniques in the future. This can help site owners to steer clear of more serious penalties from Google further down the line, which would be harder to come back from.

When discussing the matter in a YouTube video, Cutts said: “Google tends to look at buying and selling links that pass PageRank as a violation of our guidelines and if we see that happening multiple times, repeated times, then the actions that we take get more and more severe.”

The penalisation and recovery of Interflora

Matt Cutts’ disclosure that stronger penalties are given to repeat violators of Google guidelines stemmed from being asked what kind of penalty Interflora had received.

Just before Mother’s Day, Interflora was punished by Google for breaching its guidelines by attempting to use paid links on a number of newspaper sites. The company recovered just 11 days later, reappearing in the search engine results pages once again.

Matt Cutts said that he did not wish to talk about specific penalties or companies. However, the information he provided suggested that any companies repeatedly using similar techniques should look to improve their strategy in order to avoid a similar situation.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword has said: “The Interflora penalty was a clear message that Google does not tolerate any violation of its guidelines. Cutts communicating that webmasters who repeatedly breach their regulations get more severe penalties also shows that the search engine giant is keen to crack down on any site owners who use black hat SEO techniques in an attempt to improve their rankings.”