By 7 years ago in Google Search SEO

Why Google implemented the minus 6 penalty

Most of you have probably heard about the minus 6 penalty where people with number 1 rankings have moved down to number 6.

The interesting thing to me about all these penalties (previous ones were minus 30 and minus 950) is how does Google chose what number to use?

My theory, to be taken with a pinch of salt, is that 6th place gets the least clicks out of any result in the first 10.

6th place is right in the middle of the page and we know doesn’t get a lot of clicks because of the leaked AOL data. Also 6th place is right on the fold of most screens so is easily missed when people scroll down. 6th place is also the lowest result to still have Adwords to the right hand side of it.

Minus 6

By Patrick Altoft. at 2:08PM on Wednesday, 02 Jan 2008

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.


12 Responses to “Why Google implemented the minus 6 penalty”

  1. sir jorge says:

    This seems to be a hot topic today, with some bloggers saying it’s not real.

    I think it’s interesting, none the less.

  2. Nice analysis. I hadn’t considered those points about the fold, AdWords etc.

  3. [...] an interesting bonus, check out BlogStorm’s take on the multiple reasons Google might have chosen to use the #6 SERPs [...]

  4. ladyfiesta says:

    Hurm.. I have never heard about this penalty before.. But anyway, i agree with you. the middle of the page just seems to be overlooked..

  5. Hi Patrick:

    Love your new tools with the sitemap.xml / yahoo api hybrid by the way.

    In my summation, the -6 is a link building penalty as result of a more scrutinous Google bot cracking down on excessive anchor text similarities.

    As most of the data centers attempt to discern the actual position, sometimes you have to use an allinanchor: search from another country to see, if it’s a local (US or UK) penalty or hits all of the global positions for the company.

    I have seen this yo-yo affect occur for a few weeks and then the normal position return, so they really should hold out and give it a chance to remedy itself.

  6. esvl says:

    This is interesting. First time i hear of this. Or actually read of this.

  7. Wouldn’t that be -5 ?

  8. Diane says:

    Wasn’t there a minus 30 one a while back if your site had been targetted by those trawler sites?

    I’d expect google to throw up interesting changes to results from time to time as they are constantly tweaking.

  9. Vspot says:

    The same happened to one of my sites, for my strongest key word. It’s stuck! This is very suspicious…

  10. [...] ottime conversioni) che da parecchio tempo si trovavano in prima posizione. Secondo Patrick Altoft, la sesta posizione in SERP è da considerarsi come una delle peggiori e meno viste/cliccate in assoluto. La cosa è stata ripresa è ben argomentata a inizio gennaio da [...]

  11. What is the reason for the penalties?

  12. Koral says:

    Is there a thing as a ‘google images search’ penalty?
    Suddenly i lost all traffic from there, have looked in webmaster tools and seems my robots.txt got corrupted when switching webhost. Hope things get back to normal soon.

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