What Constitutes SEO Spam?
So, if SEO spam is so hard to define, how do you know whether what you’re doing is right or wrong?
Good question. And the answer is that you don’t always know, but there are some guidelines that
you can follow that will help you stay out of the spam category. Basic, good web-design practices
are your best defense. If you’re handling your web-site search marketing using the guidelines pro-
vided by the various search engines you’ll target, you should be in a position not to worry about
being classified as a spammer.
Don’t do anything that makes you worry that you’re doing wrong.
It sounds like
simple advice, but when you think about it, if you’re doing something on your web
site that you have to worry is going to get you banned from a search engine, you probably
shouldn’t do it. This includes strategies like using hidden text on your web pages, using
doorway pages or cloaking your pages, and creating false link structures. Even if you
don’t know that these strategies are banned by search engines, when you consider the
sneakiness of the strategy, you’ll be able to tell that it’s not likely a strategy that you
Don’t make your web site appear to be something that it’s not.
It’s easy to “put a spin”
on something to make it appear more attractive than it really is. People do it all the time
where products and services are concerned. But using that same strategy on your web site
may get you banned. Creating false link structures is one way you might make your site
appear more popular than it really is. The problem with using that strategy is that it won’t
take a crawler long to figure out that all of those sites are interconnected.
Don’t trust someone who says that a certain practice is acceptable, if you even
suspect that it’s not.
Some unethical SEO people will tell you that it’s okay if you use cer-
tain obvious spam techniques as long as you use them correctly. Wrong. Spam is spam. It
doesn’t matter how you use it, the search crawler will still see it as spam and you’ll still pay
the consequences, while the unethical SEO consultant will take the money and leave you
in the crawler’s bad graces.
SEO spam is also called spamdexing (because you’re spamming indexes) and can come in all kinds
of shapes and sizes. There are some spam techniques that are obviously spam. But then there are
some that aren’t clearly spam, but that you should avoid. The list of spamming techniques is huge.
But there are a dozen or so items on that list that are constant.
These are links that are included in the page, but that users can’t see
because they’re the same color as the background.
These links are on the page but are hidden behind elements like graphics.
They don’t turn the graphic into a hyperlink, but a search engine can find them and fol-
low them, even when people can’t.
Misleading links are those that appear to lead to one place but actually
lead to another. An example of a misleading link is one that reads
but actually takes you to
Optimizing Search Strategies
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