How To Get Your Web Site Banned - or Search Engine Promotion, How Not to do it!
Search engines constantly strive to advance their technology and algorithms in order to provide the most relevant search results for their users. Achieving effective results require the identification, and ultimately the complete eradication of, manipulative search engine optimisation tactics. As Internet marketers, it is up to us to achieve high listings for our customers and this requires that our search engine marketing tactics change and grow with the new technology.
Unfortunately there are many search engine optimisation strategies still being used by ill informed or unscrupulous Internet marketers and webmasters that became obsolete a long time ago. In many cases, these strategies are not only ineffective but are now considered spam and can have dire consequences for your rankings and even result in your web site being banned permanently from some engines.
The following is a list of what are now considered within the professional Internet marketing world to be the Top 10 worst search engine optimisation tactics:
1: Doorway Pages (or Gateway Pages, Information Pages, Ghost pages, etc.)
These are generally multiple web pages that are devoid of useful content but heavily optimised for search engine rankings with each page being created for a particular key phrase. The idea of this concept was to fool the search engines into thinking that these pages were highly relevant and provide top rankings for them under their targeted phrase. When a surfer came across on the page they were often shown a "Click Here to Visit Our Web Site" link that the surfer had to click on to actually arrive at the legitimate website. Isn't that what they were trying to do when the ended up at this page?
Once among the most popular methods of attaining multiple search engine placements, doorway pages were widely used until 2000 by many Internet marketers and web masters. Since then, Doorway pages have become the most obvious form of Spam that a search engine can find and the repercussions are dire if such a tactic is employed. Unfortunately, many web masters and marketers still employ this tactic and then wonder why they suddenly drop from the search engines results after being banned for using this technique.
2: Invisible Text
Invisible text is used in a variety of ways in an effort to increase the frequency of keywords in the body text of a web page. Some methods are: making text the same colour as the background of the web page, hiding text behind layers, placing text at the very bottom of over-sized pages, etc.
This tactic is particularly perilously as it is obvious to search engine spiders. In 1999, search engines began implementing automated methods of detection and penalization.
For legitimate ways to use text to greater effect within your web site download a copy of our book "Start at the Beginning" here: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html
3: Content Misrepresentation
Misleading search engines into believing your web page is about topic 'A' when it is in fact about 'B'. This tactic was used primarily for the promotion of adult, gambling, and other extremely competitive search markets.
Unfortunately this tactic is still in use by unscrupulous web masters and marketers. The fact is that this tactic is the simplest for a search engine to identify and the result will be swift and complete; banishment from the search engine index indefinitely. The worst offence against the search engines is to try to fool them.
Redirects have some innocent uses (practical, legal, etc.) but they are also used to mislead search engines by making them believe that the page they have indexed is highly relevant to a particular search phrase. When a surfer visits the page, however, they don't see the original page and are redirected to an entirely different one.
In most cases search engines have advanced enough to see this technique being used and act accordingly. In fact they usually ignore any page with a redirect (assuming correctly that the content is useless) while spidering the redirect destination instead, i.e.; the page that the surfer sees. Redirects, unless blatantly Spam-related do not directly result in intentional ranking penalties; however, they have no positive effect either.
5: Heading Tag Duplication
Heading Tags were created to highlight page headings in order of importance. Thus the Heading Tags that are available: H1, H2, H3, etc. This duplication technique involves implementing more than one H1 tag into a web page in order to enhance a particular keyword or phrase.
This tactic is still very prevalent and likely still works on some search engines; however, none of the major search engines will respond well to this technique as it has been identified as a common manipulation.
6: Alt Tag Stuffing
Alt Tag stuffing is the act of adding unnecessary or repetitive keywords into the Alt Tag (words that appear when you hover over an image with you mouse pointer).
The Alt Tag is meant to be a textual description of the image it is attached to. There is nothing wrong with tailoring the Alt tag to meet your keyword goals IF the tag is still understandable and if it appropriately describes the image. The offence occurs when an Alt tag has obvious keyword repetition/filler that a search engine can key in on as spam.
7: Comment Tag Stuffing
Comment Tags are used to include useful design comments in the background source code (html) when creating a web page. These tags should be used only for adding technical instructions or reminders; however, these tags were often used to artificially increase the keyword count for particular search phrases.
At one time there was some argument that this technique worked, but it has always been a "Black Hat" search engine optimisation technique that even then could result in placement penalties. Nowadays this technique will not help an optimisation campaign, if anything it will be ignored or produce a negative result.
8: Over Reliance on Meta Tags
Meta Tags is a broad term for descriptive tags that appear in most web pages and are used to provide search engines with a concept of the page topic. The most common tags are the description and keyword tags.
At one time, extinct search engines such as Infoseek relied a great deal on Meta Tags and many took advantage of this factor to manipulate rankings with relative ease. In today's far more advanced climate the search engines place cautious weight on Meta Tags and when considering rankings Metas play only a fractional role. Some webmasters still consider Meta Tags the 'end-all and be-all' of ranking producers and forget to optimise the rest of their web page for the search engines. With this line of thinking they miss that the search engines place far more importance on the body text (or visible text) of the web page. This is a critical error that will ultimately lead to low or insignificant rankings.
Note: An extremely common example of Meta Tag over-reliance are web sites that have been designed totally graphically and are devoid (or nearly so) of html text that a search engine can read. A web page such as this will have no body text to index and may only provide a small amount of relevance to the web page which ultimately leads to poor rankings.
Over reliance on Meta Tags does not produce intentional search engine penalties, however, the simple act of ignoring other ranking principles often means a lower ranking.
For more detailed information on how to use all Tags more effectively, download our book "Start at the Beginning" here: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html
9: Duplicate Content
This tactic is blatant Spam and is very common today. Essentially the Webmaster will create a web site and then create duplicates of each page and optimise them differently in order to obtain varying placements. By doing this you are saturating the search engine databases with content that is essentially eating valuable bandwidth and hard drive space.
Duplicate content is a dangerous game often played by full-time marketers accustomed to trying to attain placements in aggressive markets. Avoid this tactic like the plague unless you are willing to sustain serious ranking damages if you get caught - which you likely will.
10: Automatic Submission
Automatic Submission is the use of automated software to submit a website to the search engines automatically and often repeatedly.
At Enable UK the word 'automated' is a disturbing when used in reference to search engine optimisation and submission. The fact is that automated campaigns are not as effective as manual (by hand) ones.
Automatic Submission Tools can only submit to search engines that allow such submissions. These search engines make the majority of their profit from surfers like you viewing their advertising, be this at their web site or by the emails you will receive as a result of submitting to them. Automated tools have also been known to repeatedly submit sites and sometimes each individual page within a site and if a search engine is submitted to too often it will consider the submission as Spam and the website being submitted will not fair well.
The more established and popular search engines do not allow automated submissions, in fact the submission companies continually try to upgrade their software to try and subvert the search engines' latest effort to stop their programs.
All in all, this leaves the submitter in an unstable position where they may or may not have their submission ignored. The cardinal rule of search engines? submit ONCE and it may take a while (usually no more than 2 or 3 months) but the site will get spidered at some point. If within a few months a site is not listed, then resubmit. As for the major engines like Google? be patient and definitely don't submit more than once if you can help it.
I hope that this article has told you a lot of things you already know and that you have not already fallen into any of these traps. If you are intending to outsource your Internet marketing campaigns, be extremely wary of any search engine optimisation company that suggests any of these tactics. Some of these tactics may work in the short term; however, that outcome is not only rare it is also a great way to get banned from the major search engines completely.
Our full guide on the legitimate way to optimise your web site for both "organic" search engine listings and your users can be found within our book "Start at the Beginning" which can be downloaded here: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_2.html
For a complete guide to marketing on the Internet, including:
ˇ The General Principles of Internet Marketing
Why not purchase the whole series of downloadable guides for the discounted price of Ł64.95. Click for more information: http://www.enable-uk.co.uk/html/promo_ebooks.html
Article from Internet Marketing Tips Newsletter, a monthly publication of Enable-UK
Copyright Š 2004 Enable-UK.
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Dynamic pages and the Search Engines By Clare Lawrence 10th March 2003 Clare is the CEO of Discount Domains Ltd a leading UK Domain name registration service.Do search engines such as google penalise dynamic pages?Dynamic pages are used to deliver content from a database to websites - the advantage being that data can be updated and the contents of pages changed without the need to reload pages etc.
The Google Phenomenon: Greatest Hits Collection
As my readers know, I've been one of Google's harshest critics. However, I'm also a firm believer that it's okay to criticize, as long as it's justifiable and fairly balanced with deserved praise.
Google Rankings - Achieving a Top 10 Position in Google - Part 2
Achieving a top ranking position in Google is every webmasters dream. Unfortunately very few ever make it high enough for it to make a big difference on their traffic volume.
What Did We Learn from the Great Search Engine Experiment!
Last Week I did a Search engine Experiment. I wanted to see if I could brand myself as the coolest guy in the universe.
Has Google Indexed Your Site ?
So has Google found your site yet?Over the last 12 months Google has undergone many changes to the way it looks at and lists your site.This week sees another upgrade in Google.
How To See What Pages Of Your Site Google Has In Its Index
There is a lag time between the indexing or updating of your site, and the time it takes to show new results in the database. Depending on your site, where it was linked from, who it was linked from, and who knows what other factors, the amount of time varies.
Twelve Steps to Higher Search Engine Placement
Recent studies suggest that more than 80% of new visitors to any web site get there as a result of a search engine query. If this study is to believed, it certainly suggests that working to get high rankings in the search engines might be the most effective thing you can do to bring traffic to your site.
Site Maps: Let Search Engines Find Your Pages
With 40 million websites in existence, and more than 3 billion web pages indexed by Google at the time of this writing (July 2003), it's no wonder that more and more people are relying on search engines to find their way through the unruly world that the web has become.Nowadays, it is crucial to get your pages indexed by the most important search engines.
How to Improve Your Search Engine Positioning and Increase Traffic Today
Every website has times when traffic is higher than others. However, in the downtimes you need to figure out why your traffic is lower and what you can you about it.
Ten Critical Website and Search Engine Promotion Mistakes
When it comes to promoting your website, you might think that anything you can do to get people to your website is worthwhile. However, you should think again because some shady practices will actually hurt you.
How Ive Maintained 7 Top Ten Google Rankings For Nine Months
Back in November 2004 I discovered a way to get a top 10 ranking in Google. I tested the technique for 3 months before I shared my findings with the world.
5 Qualities to Look for in a Search Engine Optimization Program for Your Website
These days with millions of websites out there, you need a way to get noticed. When your company website is ranked highly in the major search engines, customers from all over the world can find your front door.
Google vs. Yahoo -- How To Rank High On Each One
Google likes incoming links, especially links from high-ranking, on-topic pages that include keywords in the link text. Google doesn't like over-optimized, high keyword densities and over use of keywords in headings, etc.
The Disease of Google Banning: Are You At Risk?
Definition:Google banning occurs when Google removes your site from its index and flags your domain as 'banned', so it won't spider your site anymore. It is actually a serious disease and may be even life threatening specially for small websites.
Googles PR System Explained
The complexities of Google's PR (Page Ranking) System have grown more difficult to understand since the Hilltop Algorithm was introduced. This beginner's guide to the PR system explains the basics of what PR is, what it does, and how it affects your site's rankings.
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