SEO Tactics Best Left Alone
Posted by Shannon Suetos on August 9, 2010 in Business Start Up Advice, SEO [ 9 Comments ]
Search engine optimization is an art form, and not an easy one to master. Search engines keep their algorithms very secret so nobody really knows exactly how they work, or how they determine a web page’s rankings. In addition to that, they are always evolving and changing so just when you think you have it all figured out, it changes.
As with anything in the world, there are those who try and “cheat” the system in anyway they can, and SEO is no different. However clever their tactics may seem, trying to outfox a search engine with devious tactics to gain higher rankings can find your site penalized or even banned. It’s probably not too good for business if a potential customer can’t Google you, so here are some common SEO black hat tactics to avoid:
Cloaking – This is a technique uses programmed redirects that sends the user to a different page than the search engines’ spider. The page the spider sees would likely be laden with keywords to achieve a higher ranking.
Keyword Stuffing – While keyword density is a good legitimate SEO practice, overdoing it by adding keywords just for the sake of adding them, especially out of context can get you flagged. Not to mention it also looks unsightly to the user and may result in fewer conversions despite a higher ranking.
Hidden Text – The fundamentals of HTML allow you to put text into the code, which is seen by the search engine, but not seen by the user. This can be done simply by making the font too small to see, the same color as the background or covered up by a picture or graphic.
Duplicate Tags – Also referred to as title stacking, is a technique used to create duplicate title tags in the HTML code that only shows up once on the page itself. Keywords in the title tag are given a high value in the eyes of the search engines.
Duplicate Sites – A common ploy is to copy your site’s content to another page with a different domain name and then creating links to and from each cloned site. Doing so can give the allusion of link popularity in an effort to get a higher ranking.
Doorway Pages – Not to be confused with landing pages, which may be the most important page as far as optimization is concerned, are pages whose sole purpose is to achieve a high ranking. The high ranking is usually achieved through spamming techniques and generally serve no use to the users and do not offer them they results they were searching.
Blog Spamming – Blogs have become a great marketing tool as a great way to reach potential visitors to your sites. Most blogs offer a function that allows its readers to comment on the content of the blog which can be used by spammers to repeated post links back to their site.
Guest Book Spamming – This falls in the same category as blog spamming where someone repeatedly signs the guest book of a webpage with their own URL in hopes the search engines will view them as legitimate links.
Link Farms – These are sites that serve no purpose other than to provide a place to put links back to your site. There is no content or features, just link after link again in an effort to create the illusion of link popularity.
Participating in black hat techniques can render great short term results. However, you should realize the penalty is ultimately not worth it. The best anyone can do is use quality tactics and keep themselves educated on how they can stay one step ahead of the search engines using white hat methods.
Patrick Kelly is a writer at Resource Nation. He writes extensively about purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs.