Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an obsession for many webmasters and editors. However, can techniques to improve search engine rankings actually harm a web presence? Well, the answer to this is a resounding YES! In fact, Matt Cutts, Google’s Web Spam Chief, recent revelations at SXSW, about the search engine’s plans to penalize sites for excessive SEO, has not only enforced this notion, but has actually sent shivers down the spine of most SEO experts the world over.
For years, SEO professionals have struggled to find a perfect balance between keywords and internal links to ensure positive ranking on engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing etc. In time they realized that the best way to remove uncertainty and maintain a winning performance on SERPs was to do everything a “bit” more aggressively. “Quantity has a quality of its own”, became the rule rather than an exception for SEO professionals, especially during the mid-2000s.
This situation led to widespread manipulation of SERPs, and in turned forced search engines to react. According to Cutts the coming algorithm updates are designed primarily to “level the playing field.” In other words, Google is attempting to support sites that use “quality content,” and give them precedence over sites that use SEO to undercut quality, and manipulate page rankings.
I’ve compiled a list of some activities that fall within the realm of non-ethical SEO. These activities can lead to Google penalization; you’d do well to avoid the same on/for your site:
Buying inbound links, to improve Page Rank (PR):
This is one of the most common techniques employed by professional SEOs. In fact, buying inbound links, which started off as a sideshow to receiving “votes,” has become one of the most prolific means of manipulate page ranking available. Google has taken a hard line against link purchasing and link farming and has openly threatened sites that use such techniques with suspension and lower Page Rank – remember then can take your page rank to zero if they want!
Using hidden text or links:
Also known as cloaking, this technique of presenting different versions of particular web page content to search engines robots and human visitors can lead you into a lot of trouble with Google. You should avoid obscuring any part of your content.
Posting entries without relevant content for the site:
Lately there has been a surge in web posts claiming false information to attract visitors. Phrases like “Britney Spears Naked” or “Get a $1000 by Clicking Here” are quite common on the web. Now Google has started to penalize sites that partake in such scams and stunts.
Publishing multiple entries with the same content:
Publishing content repeatedly is a one of the biggest web taboos. It can brand you as a spammer, and can lead to severe Google penalties. In fact, Google can remove your blog/site entirely from its index.
Adding too much content in Flash (title entries, text entries, etc….):
Avoid these malicious activities and you’ll do well on all search engines. Moreover, believe it or not SEO requires patience, and a certain degree of fatalism. Search engines update their database every few weeks, so technically a website cannot be positioned on top of all related queries every single day. So learn to be patient, it’ll do you a lot of good.
Senior SEO Executive, Traffic
A search specialist, Ammad’s skills in research, keyword analysis and avant-garde SEO help us resolve anything which Google or any client can throw at us.