Stop Search Engine Spam
Stop Search Engine Spam!
A Review of Your Web Site Will Ensure That YOU Are NOT Contributing To Bad Search Results That Could BAN Your Site!
By Dawn Rowlett
Certified Search Engine Positioning Specialist
There are many variations of the exact definition for search engine spam. Said as simply as possible, search engine spam is the process of attempting to miss-lead a search engine spider into believing that a web site is relevant or more relevant than it really is to specific search terms.
Although ideas of spam may vary slightly one engine to the next, it is a good idea to consider any concept of spam to be–SPAM. Any attempt to deceive search engine spiders, directory editors and / or your visitors should be avoided at ALL times.
If one engine has had trouble with a particular area that it considers to be spam, chances are that the next engine will soon realize that they have the same trouble. Therefore changing their spam policies. When designing, writing, optimizing and submitting your site, always keep in mind general Internet ethics.
Before the search engine optimization process of your web site begins, it is important that your search engine optimization service knows of any and all practices that are being used or have been used in the past that could be considered as spam techniques. In most cases, a qualified search engine specialist will be able to find any current instances of spam techniques by carefully analyzing your site. However, only you know what has happened in the past and hold the responsibility to inform all parties involved in the marketing process of any past information that you feel may have previously or is currently affecting your search engine rankings.
I have listed some well-known and unfortunately, over-used spam techniques, that are commonly used. If you know any of the following to be used in your web site now or in the past, it is very important that you make your search engine specialist aware of anything that you feel was, is or will be detrimental to your search engine rankings.
Never Use The Following Techniques…
In some cases, it is not necessary to submit your web site at all. Submitting over and over again will not increase your chances of high search engine rankings. Sometimes, as an SEO specialist, I do feel that it is important to submit a web site after extensive changes have been made as long as the proper guidelines and criteria have been followed. As a general rule, never submit a web site more that one time in an eight week period. There is simply no reason for it and you could over-submit to the point that your submissions become ignored.
Do not stuff keywords in every tag and area of your page that keywords can be used. Legitimately, tags such as ALT tags and TITLE tags can and do contain descriptive phrases and may contain keyword phrases if they apply to the description of the link or image. Sometimes, this might boost your keyword relevancy if it is done with caution. However, this practice can be abused — and should not be. If something doesn’t belong, don’t do it.
Words Repeated Over and Over Again
Use your keywords on your pages creatively. Do not repeat them over and over again. Use your targeted keyword phrase as a phrase a few times throughout your page. Within the rest of your page, use keywords as separate terms, plural and singular and synonyms. If you are attempting to get your web site ranked under a term such as “Search Engine Marketing”, Do NOT say search engine marketing this. Search engine marketing that. Search engine marketing blah, blah blah. Search Engine Marketing over and over again for no legitimate reason. Naturally, you do want your content to reflect your keyword phrases — but don’t overuse them to the point of repeating them un-necessarily and excessively. Read your content out loud. Have someone read it to you. If it sounds like words or phrases are over-used, they probably are.
Duplicate pages with the same exact design, layout, navigation and content, either on the same domain or different domains, can be detected and considered spam.
Hidden Or Invisible Text
Do not hide text, links or images with text that is the same color or similar color as the background of the page.
Do not use text that is impossible to read.
Spider Only Pages
Never Create pages with the sole intention of gaining a search engine ranking without providing any useful, quality content, products or services to actual visitors. If a visitor would have no use for a page, do not attempt to use it. Do not create separate pages with the sole intention of high rankings in a specific search engine. A qualified search engine optimization specialist will be able to optimize a page to meet EVERY search engines criteria for high ranking. There is no reason to create separate pages for different search engines.
Doorway pages are defined as a stand alone page that is not a part of your main web site. The page is not accessible from the main site and is created for search engines only. If the page was not created to be a “part” of the site, don’t use it.
Never attempt to gain high rankings for keywords that are not related to your content. For instance, this article that you are reading is about “Search Engine Spam”. Because there are not really many search phrases for this page that are going to produce high traffic flow, if I wanted to “deceive” search engines and traffic, it would be possible for me to mislead a search engine spider and potential traffic (If I’m not caught first) into believing that this article is about “Anti Spam Software” could potentially generate a much higher traffic flow if I were to gain a top search engine position for that phrase. However, that phrase does not accurately reflect what the content of this page or this web site is about. So, to intentionally “optimize” this page to come up under unrelated words is SPAM and should be avoided at ALL times.
Unrelated Meta Tags
Always be sure that your title, description and keyword meta tags are relevant to the content of the page that they are on.
Redirect Pages/Meta Refresh
Do not use redirect or meta refresh on your pages.
Cloaking is the process of presenting one page to search engine spiders while visitors see an entirely different page. Many SEO’s will present a lot of argument over why this practice “is” okay to use — the only thing that is important to me is that it is used more often than not as a spam technique and IS viewed as SPAM by search engines.
Link Exchange Programs & Link Farms
It is going to be important to the publicity and visibility to your web site that you have text links and banners on other web sites that are relevant to your general target market. T he more you can publicize your site, the better for search engines and overall marketing success. However, there are sites, programs and software that have figured out a way to deceive search engine rankings by with deceptive “Link Exchange Programs”. Before getting involved with any program such as this, you should seriously consider seeking the assistance of a qualified search engine positioning company who practices ethical search engine marketing guidelines. Getting involved with the wrong link exchange program could seriously harm the success of your web site.
Also known as “Free For All” link pages, these pages include tons of links that have no rhyme or reason. There could be links to “Baby” web sites mixed in with links to “Web Design Companies” mixed in with links to “Automotive” web sites. These pages are not created to benefit any one specific area of a general market and are not useful to anyone. Avoid being linked from these pages and NEVER add a link from your web site TO these pages. AND, NEVER, EVER host a page of links like this on your site.
Using Automated Software to Submit
Submitting by hand to the major search engines should be the only way that your pages are submitted. Using software programs that claim to submit to hundreds of web sites will do nothing but add your site to hundreds of FFA pages, add tons of junk mail to your inbox and overload major engines submission databases.
Machine Generated Pages
There are programs out there that will generate “optimized” pages for you. Don’t use them.
If you have any doubt at all about techniques used within your own web site, consider seeking the assistance of a qualified search engine positioning company that practices ethical search engine optimization procedures.
Today’s major search engines have become very sophisticated and are able to detect spam before it ever has a chance to enter their index. When spam is detected, the site may never have a chance due to serious spam penalties assessed and may be banned completely. Recovery may require many months to regain the opportunity to make it into the engines database after the spam techniques have been completely eliminated. In many cases, the site may never get this chance again.
Today’s most popular engines such as Google, work extremely hard in keeping their spam filters updated to combat spam techniques — after all, they pride themselves in providing the most relevant information to their searchers — that’s why they are our favorites.
This article, entitled “Stop Search Engine Spam” was written by Dawn Rowlett of Web Submission Services to inform web site owners of the importance of avoiding spam techniques and how to recognize them. Please visit Web Submission Services Search Engine Marketing service and information center for more information on the proper steps to take when preparing your web site for Search Engine Advertising with ethical search engine optimization practices.
A NOTE TO WEBMASTERS:
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This article is intended to inform web site owners of the importance of avoiding spam techniques and how to recognize them when preparing for a successful search engine marketing campaign. Special permissions may be granted to use the content of this page in it’s entirety for a variety of intentions. If you would like re-print rights on this article, you MUST send Dawn Rowlett an e-mail requesting special permission. You MUST include your web site URL.