Risky SEO Techniques and Tricks
Today you see ads and get email fro people that say your website has “some key things missing from your site”or the ones that promise you will be ranked #1 in Google. While there are several key elements that you need to improve your rankings, you need to run from those companies that promise you a #1 ranking in any search engine. First off to do it organically you will need time inorder to do it correctly. Lately, a number of businesses and websites have been reprimanded for using techniques that are questionable in the the eyes of the major search engines. Punishments have ranged from temporary delisting all the way to a full and permanent banishment.
What sort of Search Engine Optimization is your company doing? Are you making sure you are minimizing your risks? What sort of practices is the SEO company you are using employing to grow your site organically? The following are some of the high-risk optimization techniques that could put your company’s online presence at risk.
Have you ever seen a site that has hundreds if not thousands of words and phrases, typically at the bottom of the page, in order to inflate its keyword count. Other more subtle forms include ALT tag and meta tag stuffing. Keyword stuffing is an indication of an uneducated or inexperienced search engine marketer.
Hidden or Invisible Text
This technique is often times used in conjunction with keyword stuffing. It involves using fonts and styles to make text (usually keywords) blend in with the background color or to become invisible on the page altogether. Some webmasters even include large blocks of text enclosed in HTML comment tags, which causes the browsers to ignore the keywords when rendering the page. While not immediately evident, a quick glance at the HTML source is all it takes to spot this trick.
Web Page Cloaking
This controversial, high risk technique is used to display special content to specific users or search engines. Using a server side scripting language like ASP or PHP, webmasters can check a visitor’s IP address or user-agent in order to display certain elements or even a different page to them. The goal is to secure a search results ranking that the true content of the page does not warrant.
These are pages created for the sole purpose of ranking a specific term or phrase in search engines. these pages are typically not part of the main site navigation, but used as a gateway to lead visitors deeper into a site. While harmless on the surface, they are often created by automated scripts or software that do nothing more than replace a few phrases inside a generic template based page. Search engines argue that they dilute the relevance of the Internet by adding artificial content that would not otherwise be included.
Artificial Link Building
Your sites incoming links (backlinks) are now examined extensively in the algorithms of all the major search engines. Often times these backlinks determine your final ranking. They use these to determine a sites popularity and contextual clues to better refine search results. Some of these techniques include excessive cross-linking, hidden links and free for all “link farms” (any group of web pages that all hyperlink to every other page in the group). If caught using any of these link strategies, you’ll likely experience a penalty of some sort from a major search engine.
Search marketing techniques are often classified as being either “white hat” or “black hat”. Simply put, “white hat” procedures are means that are generally acceptable practices designed to improve your ranking with the search engines, while examples of “black hat” practices include many of the techniques we have already discussed, as well as anything that violates a search engines terms of service.
If your search engine firm is using any of these techniques be sure and contact them for a full explanation. Its the job of any SEM consultant or firm to find the right balance between risk and reward. In many cases the safe bet is like a conservative mutual fund. Year after year it will give you a great return on your investment.
Not sure if your SEM strategy is considered deceptive or manipulative behavior? Take a look at Google’s Quality Guidelines by visiting www.smstandard.com/quality. For a free evaluation of your site contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.