Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When Search Engines Spam Websites?

When it comes to online marketing strategy, a commonly heard word is spam. Spam means an unethical practice employed to enhance page ranking in search engine results.
If you go by Goggle’s definition spam means trying to mislead the web crawler by certain deceptive ways. Some of these ways include deceptive cloaking, hidden text, or doorway pages. In the same vein, Yahoo defines spam as pages that have been created in such a way so as to beguile the search engine and lead to poor-quality search results. Ask defines spam as a method employed to return a result that has nothing to do with a user’s query, or to get ranked high in search results without deserving to be ranked.
How do search engines identify spam?
If they sniff some invisible text: Sometimes search engines are unable to identify text that is of the same colour as the background pages. SEO workers employ this strategy to increase the keyword density on the page and attract more spiders.
Keyword Stuffing: In this method lot of relevant keywords and phrases – usually what is many times more than required - is deliberately placed in the content or Meta tags. This is done because spiders identify pages relevant to search with the help of the keywords. Thus spiders get mislead by sheer density of keywords.
Unrelated Keywords: Sometimes unrelated keywords are included in the page just because they are highly competitive. This again is a deliberate attempt to confuse the search engine. When search engines detect such attempts it construes it as spamming.
Doorway Pages: Doorways are pages optimized only for search engine spiders and not readers. These pages are optimized for just one word or phrase which again is unethical.
Tiny Text/Alt Text: In this method tiny barely visible keywords and phrases are placed all over your site. These are again meant for the spiders only. Alt text, on the other hand is stuffing the alt text tags (for images) with keywords or phrases that are unrelated.
Mirror or Duplicate Sites: If you have duplicate sites for the same purpose, search engines equate it to spamming.
Submitting Repeatedly: Another method identified as spamming, occurs when your site submits to search engines or directories very frequently in a short period of time.
SEO practices that diligently stay away from these practices fall out of the purview of spamming.

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