Search engine optimization and search engine marketing, when properly and ethically done, can yield spectacular results for companies that want to have a presence, build a brand, and generate revenues on the web. Much like any competition, there are no short-cuts to long lasting success in either search engine optimization or marketing. Still, shortcuts and tricks are often offered by companies promising guaranteed results at a cost of pennies on the dollar. Being a relatively new industry, there is much that is misunderstood about both the practice of and terminology surrounding SEO and SEM. What follows is a list of the kind of shortcuts and tricks that can backfire on a website, incurring penalties and/or landing it on a permanent blacklist.
* Black Hat Techniques – Black hat SEO is the catch-all phrase used to describe a variety of tricks and shortcuts that are considered unethical by the SEO community and the search engines. Use of these techniques can be tempting because of their lower costs and the fact that they can work temporarily. Basically considered a short sighted solution to a long term problem, these techniques will ultimately hurt the ranking of a website at best, with the worst case being that the website gets banned or blacklisted by search engines.
* Cloaking – A bait and switch technique designed to fool search engine crawlers. This tactic has a site’s server feed keyword rich content to the crawlers but if a visitor clicks on the link he will see completely different content.
* Doorway Page – A doorway page is meant to trick the search engines into thinking that a page is rich in relevant keyword content. These pages typically contain only keywords and are therefore useless for visitors.
* Hidden Text – Relevant or keyword rich content that is programmed into the html code which is invisible to the reader but will be picked up by search engine crawlers.
* Keyword Stuffing – Just like it sounds, the practice involves cramming as many keywords into the text as possible to increase the page ranking. Readers know keyword stuffing when they see it because of the blatant repetition of the same terms throughout the copy on a page. Keywords can also be stuffed in comment tags, alt tags, and in hidden text on the pages of the abusing site.
These are but a few of the unethical practices which describe black hat SEO techniques. The search engines are very aware of “search engine spam” techniques and are always on the lookout for them. Getting caught using them is costly both in terms of rebuilding a site that has been banned, and from the lost sales opportunities as a result of getting tossed out of the search engines. Also hurt in that type of situation would be any branding efforts involving the offending website. Building and marketing websites can be extremely lucrative over the long term when done correctly. Trying to cut corners using black hat techniques is a sure way to turn a short term problem into a long term quagmire. Contact The Gervais Group today at 770-529-2262 or visit us at www.gervaisgroupllc.com