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Things that will get you black listed
Remember in the early stages of this tutorial we discussed the difference between White Hat and Black Hat techniques? Well we would like to end this tutorial on a note of caution. If you enter into some questionable practises you may find that you get some success, even top the rankings but you have started a ticking time bomb. Search engines do not like certain techniques because they distort their listings and this means that they do not deliver the same quality traffic to their users. These companies are big and they have hundreds of people working every day on ways to spot certain dubious methods of fooling them and the truth is that each and every one of these methods will at some point have an algorithm that will detect them. Some may be considered as misdemeanours, others may be considered as capital offences but a site that is spotted as using these methods will be earmarked as bad. Overnight, without warning, your site could drop out of the rankings altogether or be seriously dampened. In short, we recommend White Hat techniques and to stay away from the bad ones.
In the past, websites got away with all sorts of tricks to get their site ranking in the top few but nearly all of these are easily detected by the spiders now and sites which use them can no longer be found- they may still exist for all we know but how will we ever find them when the search engines stop listing them? Some tricks still work; you may even find your competitors using them but don’t be tempted to go down the same road. Here is a short (non-exhaustive) list of some of the methods that you should avoid:
- Link Farms – This is a method where many sites link to each other to mutually up their incoming links. It can be detected since there is a very high number of mutual links and they are generally out of context. At best these links are ignored, at worst the sites will face a penalty. Search engines recognize that you have no control over incoming links to your site but you do have absolute control over sites that you link to. For this reason, do not worry if dubious sites are linking to you but be very careful over linking to sites that partake in this activity.
- Buying Links – Certain sites sell links on their pages knowing the value of them. In general, buying a link is not likely to harm your site but you may be wasting your money. Search engines try to spot the sites selling links and downgrade or ignore the links coming from the site, thus rendering the link near useless. There is a grey area between advertising on other sites and buying links for the sake of the link itself… puchased links are normally sat on an obscure part of the page with little visual presence whereas adverts as normally very visible and sometimes “in your face”.
- Spamming – Spam in this context is over stuffing your pages with text that does not read well. If a page has text stuffed in that is there for the sole purpose of keyword stuffing then it is spam. It is much better to write proper text for humans that contains the keywords that you want to be on the page.
- Cloaking – This is a technique where software delivers a different page to the spiders as it does for the humans to fool the spider into thinking that the page is about something else. Sometimes there may be a genuine reason to do this (formatting for different platforms etc.) but in this case the content should be pretty similar.
These are just a few common things to avoid. As a rule of thumb, imagine that a representative from a search engine asking you why you are doing something- can you explain a legitimate reason? If not then don’t do it.
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