If search engine administrators (e.g. Google) feel you are spamming, they may penalise your rankings or remove you from their index; temporarily, or permanently! Search engine spamming is the use of illegal or ethically dubious techniques to assist your rankings in search engines.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a hot topic at the moment, unlike banner ads and pay-per-click, once-off investments can generate long-term benefits in lead-generation and sales. The reason for this is that web searches are conducted by people who are interested in products and services described by the keywords they are searching for. If they are searching for the keywords you employ in optimising your product/service pages, and you have been indexed by the search engine you will make it into the results pages. Thus, web surfers who click through to your website off search engine results pages are interested and qualified prospects for your products or services. You have not paid a media owner to serve the recipient up your banner, nor paid for their click-though. Furthermore, the majority of search engine traffic goes through the searched-for results, not the paid-for listings (pay-per-click). This makes SEO a very important tool in the online marketing arsenal. This also means that being penalized by search engines or removed from their rankings can become a very expensive position to find oneself in.
So, how does this happen? It is the business of search engines to provide accurate results for searches at their websites; that is, the most relevant content based upon the search terms provided. Search engines use various algorithms to evaluate the content and code of your website. Based on the algorithms used, your website is evaluated for relevancy against the subject matter you specify (i.e. the keywords in your META tags). Search engine spamming is the activity of trying to fool these algorithms. As only the best search engines (those that deliver the most precise results) will get the majority of the search traffic, and thus the majority of the revenue, it is in their interests to detect and penalise any attempts at spamming their search. Because new and ingenious methods of spamming are developed all the time and search engines require time to catch up, they make penalties for spamming forceful and unforgiving. Penalties range from lower rankings to removal from the index and are often permanent.
Below are a couple of the more common spamming techniques: • Hidden text or links • Misleading or repeated words • Content does not match description • Cloaked page • Deceptive redirects • Doorway pages • Duplicate site or pages
Unfortunately, ignorance of search engine spamming is no mitigation in sentence. Use of the above and many other techniques will result in search engines penalizing your rankings, greater reliance on more expensive (and often, less efficient) forms of online advertising and, potentially, the need to abandon your domain name. Naturally, you would like to avoid these consequences at all costs.
However, you may ask yourself what is wrong with using some of these techniques that the search engines haven't cottoned onto yet? Apart from ethical considerations there are some operational problems to search engine spamming: • Firstly, search engines, certainly the larger ones such as Google, have immense resources to throw at rectifying loopholes in their search algorithm; considerably more than you or SEO provider have to monitor search engine updates. • Secondly, the penalties for spamming are high and what was ignored by search engine algorithms in the past may not be ignored in the future (search engines are unlikely to give you a friendly update either). • Lastly, even if search engines don't account for your spamming techniques in their algorithm, a competitor who is conducting SEO ethically may take offence to your techniques and report you directly to the search engine, who will likely then penalise your website.
How do you avoid search engine spamming? 1. Use an ethical, certified search engine marketer (be wary of promises to get you into the top 10 or 1st) 2. Don't deceive users 3. Don't present different content to search engines than you do to users 4. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. 5. Don't participate in link schemes 6. Deliver appropriate and relevant content
In summary, in the course of search engine optimisation, spamming should be avoided at all costs. Search engines take spamming very seriously and punitive actions if caught out could be severe, if not critical. Use an SEO provider you can trust and, when in doubt, avoid ethically grey techniques. Focus on providing content-rich pages that are relevant, purposeful and appropriate. Avoid deceiving your users or search engines, both will not appreciate your efforts and respond accordingly. And lastly, should you feel that a website is guilty of search engine spamming do your civic duty and report them: http://www.google.com/intl/en/contact/spamreport.html