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A Guide To The Dark Side Of Search Engine Optimisation

Feb 28, 2008
The search engine optimisation business is expanding rapidly and is a vital internet industry. As search engines exert complete control over what we sites we see, optimisation is becoming an evermore popular option.

The two 'schools' in search engine optimisation are generally referred to as black and white hat. Black hat companies are those who use unscrupulous methods while the white hat companies use more 'ethical' techniques. But what methods do search engines consider black hat?

It is easier to define what kinds of SEO techniques are considered black. What can definitely be asserted is that by showing the engine spiders something different to your human visitors will cause engines to suspect you as black. In the search engine optimisation industry this is a 'no no.' On a similar point if you do this in reverse and hide things from visitors, engines will not be happy.

The reason these methods of SEO are disliked is due to the fact that they create a poor user experience. The pages of invisible information are useless to users while the relevancy of the site also suffers from black hat techniques.

A vast amount of the black hat techniques used to be legitimate forms of search engine optimisation. Unfortunately these forms of SEO were abused by some companies and hence the methods became frowned upon. The reason unscrupulous players will utilise black hat techniques is due to the achievement of short term results. Rankings will almost certainly follow if you employ black methods; these results however come at a price.

The use of the 'spammy' methods of SEO will eventually be discovered, there is no way to get away with it indefinitely. Eventually your site will be picked up by the search engines and labelled as a black hat player; this will lead to ranking penalties such as docking of places and in the most extreme cases will lead to a site being de-listed from the engine index completely.

Here are few search engine optimisation techniques to avoid:-

Keyword stuffing; cramming your site full of key words and little else may seem the best way to improve the relevancy of your site but this is a common misconception. Eventually search engines will notice this and any results gained will be rapidly lost by the penalties that inevitably follow.

Invisible text; this process involves putting lists of key words in white font on a white background. While it may attract search engine spiders to your site this form of optimisation is rarely advisable and once again will lead to ranking penalties.

Doorway pages; put simply these are fake pages that users will never see. This technique relies upon tricking the search engine spiders in to indexing the site higher. As with the two previous methods it will bring penalties and will have an undesirable effect on your site in time.

Black hat SEO may seem tempting; these methods do in fact work but any effects will only be temporary. Rankings will improve quickly but the use of these unethical practices may lead to a de-listing of a site. Fundamentally it is not worth the risk so avoiding anything that even resembles black hat SEO is a must.

Using ethical methods may take longer but results will be more worthwhile. Black hat is a short sighted solution, the best way to optimise a site is to create an unrivalled user experience and formulate unique, relevant content. Sticking to this principle should enable you to steer clear of any penalties.
About the Author
Internet marketing expert Thomas Pretty looks into the various search engine optimisation techniques that will damage site rankings. To find out more please visit http://www.highposition.net
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