SlickRockWeb specializes in search engine friendly websites that are both attractive to the visitor and are well indexed by the search engine spiders. By not taking into account some of the ethical coding guidelines that the search engines have put into place a business can quickly find its online presence blacklisted by the search engines which essentially makes the website is completely removed from Google’s database (or the database of any other search engine) and it becomes essentially “invisible”. If your business depends on its online web presence, imagine waking up one day and seeing your online revenues disappearing by 50% or more overnight.
Google is constantly adjusting its indexing algorithm to filter out and block those who are trying to manipulate the ranking process. Because of this it is critical to partner with a specialist that knows the difference between search engine optimization and spamdexing. There is a growing field of so-called experts claiming to be search engine optimisation specialists and SEO copywriters, and as Google and other search engines improve their algorithms almost monthly, a so-called expert can implement an obsolete method or worst a banned method that can turn out to be a death-sentence to your business.
There are various techniques that the search engines have made clear are not considered ethical techniques to use and should be avoided at all costs. These guidelines of course are constantly being updated by the search engines so this list is by no means all-inclusive.
Basically, make sure your web design does not contain clearly banned elements such as cloaking, spamdexing, doorway pages, phishing, and / or excessive linking that will possibly get your domain name blacklisted by Google and the other search engines.
If you believe your site may have already been blacklisted by Google or any of the other search engines you can use our new “Search Engine Blacklisted Tool” to determine if your website has in fact been blacklisted by the search engines.
Please feel free to call us at 1-866-486-7747 if your site has been blacklisted and you need expert help to get your site re-indexed.
Below describes in more detail some of the various techniques that should be avoided.
Cloaking is when you code text and links into the HTML of your web pages in a way that makes them hidden from your human visitors, usually by making it the same color as the background of your page or spacing the page so that the additional text and /or links occur way below the usable content of the page. The hidden text used tends to be repetitive keywords that the author thinks are very popular searches and the “false” hope is that people searching for high traffic search terms like “sex”, “drugs” and “rock ‘n’ roll” they will stumble across their site.
Sadly, even if you somehow avoided getting caught, this technique no longer works for more reasons than I have time to address. For some strange reason, people forget that there are millions of websites out there and if they do a search for “Britney Spears” and they come to your site that sells “sneakers” they will IMMEDIATELY leave your site and go to the next one on the list until they find the site that is relevant to their search.
2. Spamdexing and stuffing the content with keywords.
This technique describes the process of including a key word dozens or even hundreds of times on a web page so that a search engine will more heavily weigh the relevance of this page to the search term than pages on other Web sites. The media and so-called experts love to simplify the algorithms of the search engines into nothing more than than a simple equation that ranks websites with lots keywords in their text the highest. WRONG! Firstly, if these repetitive keywords are not relevant to the overall topic of the webpage as well as to the rest of your site, Google won’t take much notice of it anyway, and secondly, too high of a keyword density is an easy way to get flagged by the search engine algorithm and possibly even blacklisted.
The best solution, and the standard of coding that we implement for all our clients, is to write good quality, unique, keyword-rich copy that your “human” visitors will find relevant and interesting. Remember that Google’s mission to create an online search tool that produces the faster, most relevant and best possible search results for every search that is performed by a “human” visitor. The day Google stops providing this is the day everyone goes to another search engine such as Yahoo.com or MSN.com. We are experts at producing good quality websites that the search engines like Google and more importantly our client’s customers love.
3. Automated Content Creation
It is true that the search engines like lots of content. So you decide if you can create hundreds of pages for your website that this will you rank better in the search engines. Because you don’t have time to create hundreds of pages manually you use an automated content generator that takes content from other sites and repackages it into your own sites templage. There are many reasons why the search engines will penalize you for this. First off all, Google monitors the growth rate of sites, and if your site gets bigger too quickly, they’ll suspect you are trying to spam them. They will also flag you for duplicated content (see below) because the coding profile using a fixed template can be over 85 -95% identical if you don’t understand the hidden coding profile. Lastly you can get into legal trouble for copyright infringement. It is always best to create your own content and release it on a periodic basis. Better yet hire a copywriter and pay them to create good quality content on a weekly basis.
4. Duplicate Material
Google likes fresh, unique content. Duplicate content has become a very big penalty in the search engine algorithms lately. People were trying to duplicate content and place it on multiple websites, or steal content that ranked well in hopes of helping their own site. Besides the obvious copyright infringement issues this technique is another sure bet to get you blacklisted. Basically the search engines will only rank content once. When they find duplicated content the newest instance of this content is removed from the index. This penalty also applies to “templated” websites. If you purchase a cheap templated website and only change your name, address, and photo it is very likely that your site would NEVER get indexed by the search engines because the overall coding profile would be too similar to someone else using the same template. This gets to be very technical and is just not suitable for further discussion here. You really need to be a web programmer to understand all the nuances with this. We posted a recent entry on the issue of duplicate content that can be read here.
There are some very specific exceptions to this rule which we help our clients take advantage of and are completely ethical and legitimate. Again, too technical to address in this post.
5. Link Farms, Paid Links, and Excessive Cross-Linking
Here is another perfect example of the saying, ‚Äúa little bit of knowledge can become dangerous‚Äù. Everyone who knows just a little bit about the search engine ranking process and about search engine optimization knows that websites that link to your site will help your site in the search engine rankings. Then they try to extrapolate this half-truth into, ‚Äúif 10 sites ranking to me is good then 10000 sites linking to me would be GREAT‚Äù!!
WRONG!! Putting a link on badly constructed directory sites where hundreds of other people submit their links to be listed on a single page in return for a link back to their site is a complete waste of time. There are two problems with this; One is that only one-way inbound link (IBL) to your site carry sufficient more weight to provide any benefit. A reciprocal or two-way link is not worth the time you spend creating the exchange. A simple way to think about this is that reciprocal links cancel each other out. The second problem is ‚Äúrelevancy‚Äù. If a florist website has a link to your ‚Äúsneaker selling‚Äù website then there is no relevancy and the link is virtually worthless. Trading links from pages with hundreds of unrelated links is a complete waste of time and will provide virtually NO BENEFIT.
Even worse still is the potential that you trade links with a know link farm that Google has banned and now you will very likely get your own site blacklisted. Google obviously doesn’t penalize you for who links to you, because you can’t help that, but they will ban you for linking to a link farm page or a pay-for-links scheme. Google in recent months has really cracked down on this type of scheme and is very slow to response to site reinstatements if you have been caught doing this.
6. Doorway Pages
A doorway page is a specially coded webpage using scripting languages that will try to determine if the visitor is a human or a search engine spider. Once this determination is made the script then sends a different webpage to the search engine spider than what the human visitor sees. The pages served to the search engine spiders contain keyword-rich copy, or even just a list of keywords. Some webmasters, knowing that different search engines have different algorithms, make separate doorway pages for each search engine. There are even software packages that will automate this process and create hundreds of doorway pages each targeting a specific search phrase.
In almost all cases, doorway pages are a bad idea. Most search engines prohibit their use and will ban you if they find you out. The use of these pages is particularly unacceptable if the keywords you use in the doorway page are not related to the content of your site.
Many suspect SEO companies employ variants of this technique and the coding of these pages get more and more clever every day. Many times the search engines have a difficult time finding this out and may not catch you for months. For this reason most search engines have employed a human editorial process of self-reporting. Thus if one of your competitors found out that you were using this technique they could report you to Google and a Google editor could review your site by hand.
7. Forwarding domain name aliases to the same main domain name.
A virtual hostname is an additional hostname that redirects to your site’s first published hostname. Sometimes these can be used legitimately, especially when your original domain name has a very long URL that is difficult to remember. A company will register a second domain name that is easier to remember and /or they may want to use it in a print advertising campaign and be able to distinguish where the traffic came from and it will automatically forward to the older website. Having dozens of them all forwarding to the same place, however, is misleading, and the search engines will not be impressed.
I provide a simple example of this below. Say you have a website called www.greatplainsflax.com. You decide to buy additional domains such as:
and forward them all to your main domain, www.greatplainsflax.com, in hopes of capitalizing on the additional keywords and achieve higher rankings in the search engines. This technique in reality will accomplish ZERO benefit as far as the rank of the main website …. and in some cases may actually hurt you if not done correctly.
8. Illegal Material
Illegal pornography, and other illegal material, will be banned from Google and other search engines as soon as it is found for obvious reasons. Many people using the “cloaking” technique and hidden text found out about this the hard way, even if they were not in fact selling or providing any of the actual items. There are some that believe that Google looks for “poison words” within a site. This is a topic that I will probably discuss in more detail in a future blog.
I don’t think much more than common sense is necessary for this.
Phishing is an illegal activity whereby a website is set up to look like a legitimate site, such as a bank or credit card company login page. The site is then used to steal unsuspecting visitors’ bank and contact details, fooling them into thinking they are simply logging in as usual or changing their password. Google permanently bans phishing sites like these whenever it finds them. There is obviously no legitimate reason to employ this technique.
For various security reasons many website owners can fall prey to this technique where the hacker hijacks the business owner’s website and uses it as the phishing site. This buys the hacker extra time because the Feds and the FBI contact you first thinking you created the phishing site. We have been involved with providing expert testimony demonstrating that a site was hacked by someone other than the owner and was used in an unsuspecting manner. Believe me this is not a fun position to find yourself in. This is why we put such a premium on security measures for all our search engine friendly websites.
Using any of these techniques for trying to boost the rankings of your website will be a complete waste of time and will almost guarantee that your site be penalized in some way and /or be blacklisted and disappear completely. Waking up and finding yourself banned could be devastating and many times could take months if not years and 10′s of thousands of dollars to fully correct.
SlickRockWeb Inc. a leading provider of affordable SEO services — “Bringing you business one click at a time.”