As we all know, there are more rumors and unfounded speculations flying around most SEO forums than you can keep up with. I've heard just about all of them. What I haven't heard or read is any proof to back them up. Therefore, I wanted to start a thread to see if I can put together a list of real issues that will get a site removed from or penalized by Google.
It would be great to see some examples of sites that were actually banned or penalized by Google for the following offenses, but if you don't have any - please go ahead and post anything that you feel is a truthful story about this happening to a website.
1. Does Google ban or penalize websites that link to "link farms"? (See #2)
2. What is a "link farm"? My understanding of a link farm is a website that has nothing but links on every page with little or no valid content. However, that definition could apply to an online directory also. So, my real question is - does Google ban or penalize websites for linking to "link farms", and if so, what constitutes a "link farm" in this instance? (Please, no opinions or speculations - just facts if you have any.)
3. Does Google ban or penalize websites for invisible, hidden, or cloaked text?
4. Does Google ban or penalize websites that are full of doorway pages - and is this even a valid concern anymore?
5. Does Google ban or penalize sites that are full of Java-scripted redirects?
6. Does Google ban or penalize websites for cloaking (server side scripting that detects the search engine spiders and delivers totally different content for their algo than what is on their website)?
The reason I am asking all of these questions is because I have a link exchange program, and I want to make sure that I do not link to any "bad neighborhoods". However, I don't want to just start dropping link exchanges with websites based on SEO rumors or speculation. I want to make sure that if I drop a link partner, it's really for a valid reason.
Thanks in advance for any information or stories that you may have!