February 2007

An Overview of Unethical SEO SPAM Techniques, Be Aware of Black-Hat SEOs

By Asif Iqbal

SEO SPAM techniques are practices and tactics, which are banned and strictly prohibited by search engines, you may find few websites applying these SPAM techniques and having good positions, it doesn’t mean that search engines have allowed those websites, it may be because those sites are not yet caught, I would like to mention one thing here that I’m writing about these techniques to create awareness in Young SEOs so that they can avoid using them, I would highly recommend everybody to avoid using these SPAM techniques.

List of the SEO SPAM Techniques

  1. Hidden Text
  2. Doorway Page
  3. Hidden Tags
  4. Useless Meta Tags
  5. Search Engine Specific Pages
  6. Redirection
  7. Keyword Stuffing
  8. Duplicate Content
  9. Cloaking / IP Delivery
  10. Link farming / Un-natural Linking
  11. Over Optimization
  12. Mini-Site network
  13. Blog / Forum Abuse
  14. Link Exchange / Reciprocal Links
  15. Excessive CSS Playing

1. Hidden Text

There are two types of hidden text, the first type of hidden text is invisible text to human visitors by keeping text color same as background, the second type of hidden text is text that is hidden behind images or under document layers.

2. Doorway Page

Doorway is one of the oldest SEO SPAM techniques, in this technique web pages are developed keeping search engines in mind, they point to website but they are not linked with website that’s why they are called doorway through which website will be accessed.

3. Hidden Tags

There are plenty of tags used by webmasters to perform variety of functions such as “comment, style, noframe and http-equiv tags”. Unethical SEOs use these tags by inserting keywords to them.

4. Useless Meta Tags

There is a huge list of meta tags but search engine spiders don’t read all, using all meta tags probably won’t make your website penalized but it could badly hurt your website ranking, since all those useless meta tags will occupy initial characters of your web pages and search engines gives lot of importance to initially used web content.

5. Search Engine Specific Pages

Search engine specific pages are multiple but similar documents, specially designed to focus the requirements of various search engines algorithms. This SPAM technique is no longer applicable, today search engines are more intelligent and enough efficient to catch this technique.

6. Redirection

Redirection is a technique in which one page redirects the visitors / search engine spiders to another page or domain, redirection is a SPAM technique and it is usually done through JavaScript or meta refresh tag.

7. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is 100% SPAM technique, in this technique bunch of keywords are kept at webpage it may be in anchor link, alt tag or at bottom of the webpage.

8. Duplicate Content

There were days, when you can copy content from other website and keep it to yours and even bring good results in search engines, but search engine are getting smarter everyday. It’s even hard to have duplicate content on similar domain these days, search engines are extremely intelligent to recognize either the content is original or copied.

9. Cloaking / IP Delivery

Cloaking is a SPAM technique, in which one set of information is served to search engine spiders and another set of information is served to visitors, it’s mostly done by IP tracking that’s why it’s also called IP Delivery, search engines don’t like webmaster to treat them different than visitors.

10. Link farming / Un-natural Linking

Link farming or un-natural linking is a technique in which webmaster try to have more incoming links pointing to their domain unethically by FFA or link buying. Search engines are very smart these days, they can easily recognize un-natural linking by link monitoring.

11. Over Optimization

After Google’s Florida update, there is a new term called “Over Optimization” introduced to SEO industry, in that update, those websites got penalized which have excessive optimization. There is no criteria to measure search engine optimization efforts either they are balanced or over, but one thing is for sure and that is excessive optimization or implementation of SEO techniques comparatively than your competitors.

12. Mini-Site network

Google gives huge importance to qualified incoming links to any domain that encourages Black-Hat SEOs to create multiple relevant websites pointing back to a central sales website. The primary purpose of those multiple relevant websites is to win Google Trust and get good PR because they can control everything on all these domains, since they belong to same company and behave as mini-site network.

13. Blog / Forum Abuse

Blog / forum abuse is another SPAM technique, in this technique unethical SEOs try to get link back to their domains by posting their links to blogs and forums, it may be through their signature or through their own promotion.

14. Link Exchange / Reciprocal Links

Link exchange is Black-hat technique in which two or more websites exchange their links to influence Google, these links can be two ways and three ways, and this technique is also called reciprocal linking.

15. Excessive CSS Playing

Excessive CSS playing is very hot technique these days, in which webmaster controls website formatting through CSS. Actually search engine likes heading, bold, italic, paragraph, hyperlink, anchor link tags but sometimes utilizing all these tags can spoil the look of the website, that’s why webmaster control formatting through CSS.