Programming Blog

Jeremy Morgan

Mostly Coherent Ramblings of a Silicon Forest Software Developer

How to Avoid Getting Banned by Google

By: Jeremy Morgan

SEO is an interesting game. Most people’s perception of it seems to be gaming the search engine with tricks and deception to get good rankings and thousands of customers. Images of millions of dollars pouring in can convince people to do some pretty crazy things to get good search engine traffic. These are some of the things that will get you banned by Google, and other large search engines.

Most of what people tell you about SEO is wrong.

If you ask someone with a pedestrian knowledge of SEO they’ll usually give the same old tricks and advice. Put in your meta tags, load up your text with repetitive keywords and make sure to put these keywords at the bottom of the page. For an extra trick, try coloring the text white with CSS on a white background so people can’t see it, but Google will see it and push you to the top.

This stuff is horribly wrong. Some of these “tricks” worked in the early 2000s for a while, but Google fixed it. Even worse, Google will often “ban” your site from their index completely leaving you high and dry. But for some reason years later I still hear people talking about these awful tactics and thinking it works. Since I am guessing you don’t want to get your site dropped from Google completely, I’ll share some of these “tricks” that people recommend that will actually get you in trouble with Google.

Common Tactics that Will Get You Banned

These tactics are the most common one I see customers and friends falling for. These tactics not only fail to work, but they’ll get you booted. Think getting 50 hits a day from a search engine sucks? Try none at all. That’s what your end result will be.

1.  500 domains pointing to one actual website.

This one is entirely too common. People purchase every possible misspelling of their domain as well as tons of “keyword loaded” domains such as They then point all of these domains at one website. This is a horrible idea.

In theory it makes a lot of sense, you get 20 hits a day to 50 websites and it all adds up to great free traffic to your site. In reality what happens is these other domains are not index and worse yet, the one you point them to gets banned from Google as well. Don’t do it.

2. Cloaked pages

Cloaked pages are one of the golden tips of 2001 - You create a page made just for a search engine, full of keywords and text optimized for a term you’re shooting for. Usually it’s something popular but irrelevant.  The page for “Osama Bin Laden Death Photos” is what google sees, but once people click on the link, they’re taken to your shower head website.

Not only does this not work, but even if it did you’d just be getting irrelevant traffic anyway. People searching for the Bin Laden photos would just end up seeing shower heads, and close the window.

3. Hidden Text

This one is another one from the golden age of easy SEO. Just put a couple hundred keywords at the bottom of the page, and use CSS to change the color so it blends in with the background of the page.

Not only does this not work, but it will get you banned. Also it looks extremely tacky when people find out you’ve done it. Why bother?

5. Keyword Loading

Another poor tactic is keyword loading. People shoot for a certain density and start inserting their keywords all over their text, rendering it unreadable and tacky. Is this the image you want to display to your clients? Not only does it not work but it compromises the integrity of the site and company plus it will probably get you banned.

6. Tricky Code or Redirects

This is where people put in code to show google a different page, much like cloaking. They also put in “refreshes” that will change the location in their browser to your new site. This again is a horrible idea because it will get you banned and make your site look pretty amateur.

7. Spammy Techniques

So you’re commenting on every blog with your keywords as your name and posting random useless posts all over forums to get your signature noticed. This is always a bad idea, because not only does it annoy other webmasters, but it doesn’t really work. Again you compromise the impression of your company that people get, because it looks really tacky and desperate when you do this.  Stay away from spamming especially for long term goals. It will only hurt you in the long run.


Good SEO is based on honesty. It’s ok to clean up your code, put some keywords in and try to nail some good results. But you have to ask yourself: am I being honest with my visitors? Anytime you try a miracle trick or doorway page you’re being deceptive. Internet marketing is one area where deceptive doesn’t work well. Also Google’s algorithm is far too complex to not notice these things. When you get flagged for spamming there is no going back. I have heard of people appealing to Google to get un-banned but I haven’t seen anyone successfully change that.

So keep it honest, keep it real. Follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines 100%. If you do this you don’t have to worry about your site getting dropped from the index and you being left empty handed. Do it honestly and work hard and you won’t have to worry about drastic Google updates so much.