Illegal SEO techniques? Lets see how to avoid them. Search engine optimization which I will sometimes in this post refer to with the short SEO is a practice that can be rewarding and lucrative. There are so many ways by which people use the internet. Some people use it for fun, some people use it for informative purposes and one of the most uses is for business purposes. All the uses of the internet all have one thing in common. They have to be on the web before you can access them.
Let’s take a few examples so that you can better understand what I am talking about. Go to Google or any other search engine of your choice. Type in the search for instance red apples and press “Enter”. The search engine is will display a list of websites. On closer inspection, you will see that the displayed websites all have the phrase “red apples” in their titles, in the snippet and in the body of the textual articles. What all these mean is that the websites have been optimized for the phrase red apples and their variants.
The Rules Of Search Engine Optimization
Now, you may think that it is enough to a just place the keywords you intend to rank for in the places I already mentioned and bang! Your website is on top. Well, let me disappoint you. There is more to it than that. There are well laid down rules that each and every search engine optimization expert is aware of. Each search engine has its own peculiar rules while there are generally accepted rules governing internet searches practices. The violation of such rule is what I am about to discuss. Failure to stick to the rules of SEO is totally not ethical and illegal. Unfortunately though, there are people who still engage in such practices to their very selfish and fraudulent goals.
Why People Practice Illegal SEO Techniques?
It has been proven that the higher you rank on the first page of search engines, the more people you get to visit your website where you can then try to convince them to either use your services or buy something. The bottom line is the more visitors that come to your site; the more you are likely to sell your product or services. Because of this, people are tempted to practice illegal search engine optimization techniques.
In simple terms, illegal search engine optimization techniques involve deceitful ways to make the search engines display web content as higher as possible on their first search result page. The intention is to generate tons of revenue but in a fraudulent and unethical way. We are going to inspect each of the most popular ways in which people game the search engines. Oh yes by the way, these unethical techniques are called spamming.
Illegal Search Engine Optimization Techniques
1. Link Farms
I remember when I first started my first steps in search engine optimization. I understood that one of the most important ways to boost your website was to build as many links as possible with anchor texts and so on. One of the most popular ways was to create a page and fill it with links to other websites. It didn’t matter if the links were relevant or not. A link was a link.
The procedure was you reach out to other webmasters and exchanged links with them. They created a link to your website on their links page; you returned the favor by linking to them from your own links page. This is what link farm is all about. Oh yes it worked until…I will come back to that later.
Don’t Practice These SEO Techniques!
2. Hidden Links And Text
This is a practice where people hide the text and/or links on a page. They do this by making the colors of the text and links exactly the same as background color. To the naked eyes, these are hidden but not to the search engines. This practice is deceitful.
3. Doorway Pages
The intention behind this kind of practice is to focus on a specific keyword or sometimes on a set of keywords and rank them high. In most cases, the pages are designed not for visitors but for the search engines. The quality of the page is poor. Usually, the perpetrators use methods that are extremely criminal. They can hack a highly reputable website such as business websites and they use URL redirects to route visitors to the intended page. The search engine display totally different content and the visitor is tricked into believing that they are visiting another page entirely.
4. Keyword Stuffing
The search engines rank your websites based on a set of words or phrases called keywords. As in the example I gave earlier, the keyword in that case would be “red apples”. When search engines crawl the pages on a website, they read the texts and every other metrics on the website and they determine what the website is all about. What people do is that they fill the pages on a website with keywords in such a way that when you as a human read the text, it doesn’t make any sense. You can’t just understand what the article is talking about. All you read is the keyword and nothing else.
5. Mirror Websites
These are also called Sybil attack. Why? I would not know. It is done in a way such that several web sites have exactly the same content but the URLs are different. These websites are then linked to one another.
This is a method which I will call disguise of web pages. It is similar to the doorway method I mentioned above. What really happens is that search engine spiders see a page and human visitors are delivered a totally different page. The technique involves webmasters identifying the IPs of spiders and modifies certain parameters of their servers to deliver a totally different content to them. Cloaking can also redirect a visitor to an entirely different URL.
There are more or less other techniques which webmasters use to game the search engines as Matt Cutts a once upon a time head of the Google webspam team used to say.
The Search Engine Axe Fell
When I say that the search engine axe fell, I mean Google. For years, Google through their mouthpiece in the person of none other than Matt Cutts have been warning webmasters to stick to the rules as much as possible. He warned against low quality contents, against link farms and against every aspect of illegal and unethical practices involved with SEO. Nobody listened until finally Google decided to do something about all those. Google has had enough and decided it was time to weed out the violators by rolling out a series of updates to their algorithm.
The Google Panda Algorithm
On February 23, 2011, Google released an algorithm that was code named “Panda” and the internet will never be the same again. This algorithm focused on content. Poor quality content and websites with gibberish content were affected. The result was they vanishing from the search results. Imagine this. Yesterday, you site was ranking for a keyword, today, your website was not to be found even when you searched up to the 1000th page on Google search. Simply speaking your website has just been penalized by Google for SEO rules violation.
Penguin Algorithm Made The Greatest Impact
In my personal opinion, I would say the greatest impact on internet search occurred on April 24, 2012 when Google rolled out the Penguin algorithm. The world of the internet saw uproar. Google has finally decided to clean up the web of illegal and unethical practices. The Penguin focused on spamming links. Link farms, unnatural links, article directories etc all lost their values. I know this because my websites survived Panda but could not survive Penguin.
I was mad because my websites tanked. When I found out that a lot of very reputable websites like EzineArticles, GoArticles and many others took the hit, I knew we have something serious on our hands.
From that day on, search engine optimization methods have changed a lot and now webmasters are abiding more and more to the rules set by the search engines.
The Take Away From Unethical SEO
If you want to be free from any penalty that might be imposed by whatever search engine and one that might negatively impact your business, then my advice is to let an experienced SEO expert help you out. Yes, contact me or leave a message.