The sort of spam we are going to be discussing isn’t those annoying emails from a lawyer asking you to get in touch to claim your $20 million-dollar inheritance (if only!). Instead, it is what Google considers spam tactics used to game the SEO of a website.
There shouldn’t really be any confusion over what is considered spam in the eyes of Google, because they have published guidelines and regular updates to its definitions. While you may not deliberately intend using spammy or blackhat tactics, you could do so accidentally. Unfortunately, in Google’s imaginary SEO courtroom ignorance is no defence, and the punishment is lower ranking or worse, deindexing for your website.
Side note: Read this for why you might want pages of your website deindexed.
If you employ a consultant or an agency to carry out your SEO, it will help you to ensure they are not putting your website at risk, if you know what these spam tactics are. Hopefully, you will have employed a reputable SEO agency, but being able to spot if they are up to dodgy practices, is no bad thing.
The way in which Google determine whether they consider your website to be spammy or not is by checking for ‘spam flags’. These are indicators which their crawlers find when they visit your website. Having just one or two isn’t good, but it may not be enough to have your website banned, but if they find several of these spam flags, then it could be curtains for your site.
Here are the 5 main spam flags that you must avoid.
#1 Malicious, or Harmful Content: This is a no-brainer but if you have any content on your website that is malevolent and directs hate towards a person or group of people, then Google regard that as spam.
The harmful element is regarding anything on your website that uses phishing to try to gain access to a user’s personal information, and their financial information. This is obviously different from legitimate e-commerce activities where you use a proper merchant account.