Feb 16

Is Your Site Spamming The Search Engines?

Tag: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)John Britsios @ 11:54

There are a lot of webmasters out there who aren’t doing themselves any favors with their search engine optimization efforts; or if they aren’t doing their SEO work themselves, they seriously need to switch SEO firms not next week, but now.

There are some techniques which are still used by some site owners and SEO consultants to attract the search engines’ attention which actually have the opposite effect.

In some cases, these methods can even lead to sites being dropped from the indices of search engines altogether.

So what are these techniques?

There are a couple of SEO techniques which attempt to trick the search engines into ranking web pages higher than they would otherwise be able to based on their content, link popularity and other factors which are used in more legitimate search engine optimization efforts.

They’re known as search engine spamming and Google, Yahoo and Bing don’t want this kind of spam any more than you want those incessant email messages in your inbox; but the search engines have much more powerful tools at their disposal to deal with spammers than does the average internet user.

What Is Search Engine Spam?

One type of search engine spam is what is commonly known as keyword stuffing. This is sometimes done inadvertently, especially by those who are unaware that this once-effective tactic now often leads to a reduction in page rank rather than an improvement.

Keyword stuffing is the practice of loading up a web page’s content with too high a density of the site’s primary keywords. We’ve all seen these pages before; for example, you’ve probably seen a web page which reads something like this:

“If you want to buy Acme brand widgets, then you need to learn everything there is to know about Acme brand widgets. You can read about Acme brand widgets here on my Acme brand widgets page and see Acme brand widgets pictures and Acme brand widgets reviews.”

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about now; pages where the content is hard to read because the webmaster assumes that if using a keyword two or three times in a page of content is good, then using it a hundred times must be better.

This used to work in the early days of search engines, but it now usually results in a quick spike in page rank followed by a very long fall to the bottom – or the offending site being de-indexed by search engines altogether. This is the most common type of search engine spamming, but also the easiest to avoid.

Just keep readers in mind when writing content for your site, not search engines. Google doesn’t want to buy your product – humans do.

The other common type of search engine spam has to do with keywords – in this case, irrelevant ones. You might be able to get a higher rankings for your site briefly by including irrelevant keywords in your site’s meta tags or in the content, but the positive effect, if any will be short lived – unlike the drop in rankings which will follow sooner or later (and probably sooner than you think).

The lesson to be learned here is that Google and the other major search engines are smarter than you think – and getting smarter all the time.

It’s not that easy to fool them and despite what any SEO company trying to sell you their services may say, you shouldn’t even try unless you happen to be a fan of starting all over again with a new website.


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