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5) Linking to bad neighborhoods Bad neighborhoods are designed to increase your Web site's ranking or is Web site's using Spam techniques to increase search engine ranking. You should not link to any Web page that uses Spam techniques to increase ranking. You also should not join link exchanges that are designed to improve ranking or Page Rank. If you are not aware of linking to any Web site like this, you should check each outbound link on your Web site.
6) Buying links for Search engine ranking This where a Web site owner buys links just to increase his or her ranking. This is also used to increase Page Rank. Google and other search engines still have a hard to detect this, but they are starting to catch on to this technique. If Google is aware of site, they can just discount Page Rank, so they can't pass Page Rank on.
7) Machine Generated Web sites This is a site that generates hundreds of web pages that are basically same page repeated hundreds or thousands of times, but with a few unique lines of text and unique title. Often times, search engines can't spot this, if done right by site owner. However, if a spider doesn't spot your machine generated Web pages, a competitor might find it and report your Web site.
What to do after you are Spam clean? Once you have cleaned up your Web site, you can try contacting Google by visiting http://www.google.com/contact/. Tell them that you made a mistake and won't do it again. Even if you do contact Google, they most likely won't let your Web site back in and if you happen to get back in, you better keep your Web site squeaky clean because I doubt you will get other chance.
If you can't get in touch with Google, I suggest that you wait for a few months after Google's spider visits your Web site and see if you get your ranking back or at least where you can see that your ranking is going up in search results. During this time you should not change your Web site around much and give search engines time to spider your Web site.
I really don't think that many Web sites have dropped because Google is penalizing them. Instead, I think Google has changed factors or adds more weight to a factor(s) that they use to rank Web sites in search results. All search engines make periodic changes to way they rank Web sites in search results, so don't be surprised if one week you rank number one and next week you rank 30TH.
Matt Colyer began as a SEO Specialist in 1997. He founded Superior Webmaster in 2004 as a source of articles and tutorials for Web site owners looking to improve their Web site.