So, what is “Search Engine Spamming”?
Known as “spam” or “spamdexing,” it is basically using unethical and unprofessional techniques to obtain good search engine rankings. The major search engines have a definite set of rules and regulations they expect web designers to follow when submitting a web site to their index. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do things to “optimize” the pages you’re submitting, but you should abide by the criteria of the specific engines.
What are some of these “spam” techniques?
Keyword Stuffing: This is perhaps one of the oldest and most well-known methods of manipulating search engine ranking. Even people who know nothing else about the search engines are familiar with this method, which is unfortunate because it is not a legitimate method any longer, if it ever was. It basically consists of repeated use of a keyword to increase its frequency on the page (e.g., “We are a beer site, that sells a lot of beer to beer drinking people who like beer and therefore would benefit by coming to our beer site because we have beer for sale and lots of information about beer!”). Get the idea? That’s definitely a no-no these days, and any web design company that sells you on the idea that it’s still a workable method is sadly out of date, out of touch, and probably too lazy to do it right! The search engines are now able to analyze a page and determine if the use of a keyword is out of proportion to the rest of the document. If it is, your page will probably be rejected.
Invisible Text: This is another old practice that can easily be detected by the search engines. This method involves typing keywords somewhere on the page and making them the same color as the background so they cannot be seen. As stated previously, the search engines can detect this. If discovered, this can also result in your page being rejected.
Tiny Text: This is similar to the method of using invisible text but is done, instead, with tiny, illegible text. The results are the same if the tiny text is discovered–the page gets rejected.
Meta Tag Stuffing: Meta Tags aren’t visible to the visitor and are “behind the scenes” codes that include keywords and a description of the site to help in indexing. Using meta tags has become relatively useless; repeating keywords or using irrelevant keywords to increase ranking has been so abused that the majority of engines ignore meta tags. If you’re discovered doing this–you guessed it–your page doesn’t get indexed.
Doorway Pages: I’m sure you’ve come across these when you type in a keyword; you get a page that tells you to “click here and you’ll be taken to the web site.” This is a Doorway Page. Many engines frown on these and penalize sites that use this technique.
Submitting the same page over and over: Don’t do it!
Submitting virtually identical pages: Some designers like to “pad” smaller sites by duplicating existing pages and giving them different names and then submitting them to the engines as different pages of the same site (naughty, naughty!!!). The engines will reject these pages when they’re discovered.
Code Swapping or Cloaking: This is the action of building a page for the public and then swapping it for an optimized page when viewed by a search engine. It’s cheating, and the engines penalize you for it by dropping the page.
The important thing to remember is to abide by the rules of the search engines! There’s more to search engine optimazation in terms of what you should actually do to get your site a good ranking, but that’s the job of a good web design/marketing company. It requires the knowledge and time required to do it effectively. The “outlawed” methods mentioned do work sometimes for short periods of time, but they’re eventually discovered and can lead to the submitted pages being dropped, or even banned, from the search engine index. Then you have to start all over again, sometimes with a new domain name! You’re better off having it done right the first time.
We hope this information has been useful and helpful to you.