How To Avoid Search Engine SpammingHow To Avoid Search Engine Spamming

Search Engine Spamming also known as Spamdexing (spamming and indexing) is the practice of deliberately manipulating web pages to obtain high search engine rankings. Spamdexing is used to mislead search engines indexing program and to gain ranking position which they do not deserve.

Search Engine Optimisers are always on the look out for techniques to make their site rank well. They end up using spam techniques either knowingly or unknowingly simply to boost their search engine rankings. Improper use of SEO will sometimes result in site's getting penalised. With Google's pilot program now on, most webmasters are redefining their SEO methods followed so far.

The spam tactics mentioned below could either block search engine robots form crawling your site properly or get your site penalized in certain search engines/directories. Make sure you are well aware of these tactics before designing or optimising your website.

10 Search Engine Spam tactics known -

1. Hidden keywords
2. Keyword stuffing
3. Use of unrelated keywords
4. Hidden Links
5. Redirects
6. Doorway Pages
7. Unreadable tiny texts
8. Link farms
9. Cloaking
10. Mirror sites

Hidden Keywords

Hidden keyword also known as invisible text is the most common form of spam practised on websites. Hidden text or content will not be seen by human visitors and are only meant for the search engines spiders. The purpose of using hidden text is to increase the keyword density of the webpage and also to trick the search engines into indexing the text on the page. Hidden texts are used through HTML format and also using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

Invisible text through HTML is done by stuffing in keywords which have the text colour same as that of the background colour, therefore making it invisible to visitors eyes. Hidden text through HTML is easily detectable by search engines these days with the help of search engine filters. Hidden text through CSS is slightly different compared to method used through HTML, in CSS the colour of the text is stored in external CSS file. Search Engines find it difficult to crawl external files, but are in the process of enhancing their filters to identify CSS spam.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword Stuffing is implemented by adding block of keywords/keyphrases onto the webpage. Keyword stuffing is practised to increase the density of targeted keywords, thereby tricking the search engine robots into considering the page to be more relevant for the search phrase.

Search Engines easily detect keyword stuffing and therefore it would be wise to refrain from using keyword stuffing. On practising keyword stuffing your site will be blacklisted and banned from the search engine index.

Use of Unrelated Keywords

Unrelated keywords is the practice of using keywords on the webpage which are not related to sites content. This method is followed to trick a few people searching for such words into clicking at their sites link.

Generally people will quickly leave such sites when they do not find the information they were searching for.

Hidden Links

Hidden links are used to increase the link popularity of the site. These links are hidden from the reach of visitors and are used to fool the search engines. They are usually in the form of small hyperlinked dots.

Redirects

Redirection is the process of taking the user to another page without his or her intervention by using META refresh tags, CGI scripts, Java, JavaScript, Server side redirects or server side techniques.

Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are low quality web pages that contain very little content, stuffed with targeted keywords and keyphrases. Doorway pages are designed to rank highly within the search results. A doorway page will generally have "click here to enter" in the middle of it.

Unreadable Tiny Text

Tiny text spam consists of placing keywords and phrases in the tiniest text imaginable all over site/webpage. Most people can't see them, but spiders can and will ban such sites eventually.

Link Farms

Link farms are webpages created solely for search engine ranking purpose that consist of long list of unrelated weblinks on page.

These type of pages/sites are penalised by most search engines.

Cloaking

Cloaking is the practice of dynamically generating keyword rich content to the search engine robots, while providing different content to the actual visitors. By cloaking the user will not be able to see the code of the page shown to the search engines.

Most search engines have devised methods to detect cloaking and have banned sites which have followed such an activity.

Mirror Sites

Mirror sites are identical sites hosted on different domains/website address. By mirroring sites one can build hundreds of duplicate pages with entirely different urls. Intention of adopting mirror sites is to quickly populate your sites pages and also to increase inbound links.

Large websites often provide mirror sites in different countries so that their users can download from a closer server in hopes of achieving faster download speeds. While this is a perfectly legitimate practice, many search engines consider it 'spam? because the number of pages is doubled, the content being identical.

Most Search Engines do not appreciate duplication of sites, but some of them are vulnerable to such technique as yet.

How to avoid Spam ?

Search Engine marketeers are forced to follow spam techniques due to many reasons, there maybe branding restrictions, site navigation demands, immediate sales increase, style guidelines and more. With thousands of seo providers out there, the competition to get high rankings in search engines has become intense. For many of these Search engine optimisation providers quality is a secondary issues, empty promises are made to win the trust of clients.

Search Engines value content rich sites and that is the only key to success. The much needed resources for good Search Engine optimisations are developers, content writers and skilled SEO's. In most cases the company cannot afford to provide these resources due to financial deficiencies, resulting in Search Engine Spam. Unethical SEO or search engine spam originates due to mixture of greedy website owners and search engine spammers.

Each Search Engine has its own distinctive Spam penalties. Google greys out the page rank of the penalised site, providing a zero page rank. Sometimes the entire site is banned from the search engines. Once you are banned you may have to apologise and resubmit your site for re-inclusion in search engine directories. It will take a couple of months before you see your site listed again in the search engines.

The only way to avoid this is to hire a good SEO who does not offer top 5 search engine rankings, but optimise your site with well written content and user navigation. With good optimisation practice you will find your site eventually listed in the top search engine positions and gain long lasting quality traffic.

by Prema Sunder
References and Bibliography

Prema S is Search Engine Optimisation Executive for UK-based internet marketing company, Star Internet Ltd. Cients of Star Internet benefit from a range of services designed to maximise ROI from internet marketing activities. To find out more, visit http://www.affordable-seo.co.uk

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