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August 8, 2007

Negative Factors or Techniques Affecting the SEO Industry

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is all about increasing the number of visitors who come to your website and enhance its chances of being ranked in the top results of a search engine. A number of factors are important when optimizing a website to be search engine and user friendly, including the content and structure of the website’s copy and page layout, the HTML meta-tags, backlinks and the submission process.

Following are some of the factors or techniques negatively affecting the SEO industry:

  1. Dynamically created pages
  2. Sub Domains
  3. Cloaking(or Masking)
  4. Spamdexing
  5. Link Spamming
  6. Page Jacking
  7. Mirrored (or duplicate) websites
  8. Hidden Text
  9. Create Doorway pages

1.Dynamically created pages: Dynamically created pages are web pages which have more than one parameter in a website URL.

(e.g.) http://www.seo.com/main.php?category=books&subject=biography

Such type of pages in a website is database driven. Multiple parameters in a dynamic URL (?, .php, .pl, .cgi extension) can often mean that a search engines spider will choose to ignore the document. So, such URLs are not very search engine friendly. Google is presently able to index dynamically generated pages. However, because their web crawler can easily overwhelm and crash sites serving dynamic content, they limit the amount of dynamic pages they index. So, Search Engine representatives have long urged website creators to limit dynamic parameters to two, optimally to one so that spiders will easily crawl them.

2.Sub Domains: Many large Web portals and online retailers structure their sites using subdomains (e.g.http://groups.seo.com). A subdomain lets you brand your different specialties with your primary domain name. Subdomains are considered to be independent web sites even though they may share the same IP address. But do check with your Web host to make sure you’re sharing an IP address with legitimate sites. Otherwise, this could get your site banned from search engines. Some legitimate sites make the mistake of using duplicate content in their subdomains. This can also make the search engines treat duplicate content in subdomains particularly harshly.

3.Cloaking (or Masking): Cloaking is the SEO process of delivering one version of a page to a user, and a different version to another user such as a search engine. The benefit is code and copyright protection. We can custom build a page for the user. If the user is a search engine, we want to give it our best most optimized stuff. If it is a user, we want to give it a pretty page that is tricked out for navigation and usability. Mouse-over cloaking is a new SEO technique used widely now-a-days. When a visitor clicks on a website after performing a search query in the search engines, they are directed to a website or web page which is gibberish, but the search engines have indexed it highly. With just the slightest jostle of their mouse, the visitor is quickly re-directed to the site which has allegedly been “SEO optimized.”

4.Spamdexing: Spamdexing or search engine spamming is the practice of deliberately and dishonestly manipulating search engines by SEO’s to increase the chance of a website or page being placed close to the beginning of search engine results. (e.g.)Metatag Stuffing: Repeating keywords in the Meta tags, and using keywords that are unrelated to the website’s content.

Keyword Stuffing:Repeated use of a word to increase its frequency on a page. Presently, search engines have the ability to analyze a page for Keyword stuffing and determine whether the frequency is above a “normal” level. The keyword density of a webpage should be between 2- 7%.

5.Link Spamming: The submission of pages that are intended to rank artificially high by various unethical techniques. These can include submitting hundreds of slightly different pages designed to rank high, small invisible text, or word scrambled pages. (e.g.) Link farming: A set of web pages that have been built for the sole purpose of increasing the number of incoming links to a web site. Link farms are a known SEO spam tactic and sites that participate in them are likely to be penalized or banned from the major search engines.

6.Page Jacking: Often when your competitor gets a high ranking page under quality keywords the first thing that will happen is your competitor’s page gets stolen (called Page Jacking).It is the SEO process of duplicating a high ranking competitor’s page, but the page is redirected to your website. Many search engines, upon seeing a duplicate page will delete the competitor’s website from the directory leaving the fake page in its place.

7. Mirrored (or Duplicate) websites: Mirrored websites are nothing but, creating duplicate sites having the same images & the content with the same number of pages in both the websites. In this case, one of the website stands a high chance of being rejected by the search engines for indexing.

8. Hidden Text: Hidden text is links with the same background color as that of the website. This SEO spam technique is used to increase your page rank of your website.A user to your site may accidentally land to this hidden link & the page thereafter.

9. Create Doorway pages: A doorway page is simply an additional page on your website that is created to target a specific keyword not related to the website and then submitted to the search engines. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a website and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include websites with unsavory or illegal content.

Author:  Hari Qumar is a management graduate from a UK university and owns Begonia Infosys. He is actively involved in promoting SEO in India and works for an Entertainment portal as well.

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