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Unethical Search Engine Optimisation Tactics To Avoid

Jul 8, 2008
Before reading this article you must realise that the search engine optimisation tactics detailed below are regarded as black hat. By using them you run the risk of being de-listed from search engines and facing other penalties. Subsequently it is advisable to avoid these tactics at all costs, they are considered unethical for a reason and although they offer much, the eventual outcome will most probably be negative.

Search engine optimisation has many different schools of thought, there are those unscrupulous operators who attempt to hoodwink the search engines and those who instead, work within the rules and pursue optimisation ethically. Black hat may be seen by many as the fast way to rankings success, but more likely is that any results you encounter will be reversed as fast as they occurred. The tactics below are in no way intended as a checklist to follow; instead this article sets out to warn those pursuing search engine optimisation how to avoid unethical SEO methods.

The most common form of unethical optimisation used today is keyword stuffing. Fundamentally this is the process of filling your website with words or phrases that you are attempting to target. The hope of doing this is that by having many relevant words on your web page you will in fact be deemed more relevant by the search engine algorithms. Not only does this mean that your content of your page will normally be illegible but in the eyes of the search engine, it will be full of spam and hence not worth ranking highly.

An adjunct to the process of keyword stuffing is hidden text dialogues. This method uses keywords in text that is the same colour as the background of the page, the result being that the keywords are not visible to human users but are visible to search engine spiders. This optimisation method is deemed highly spammy by authorities and will almost definitely result in a website being penalised or de-listed.

A similar optimisation method is cloaking, that presents a page to users that is completely different to the one presented to search engine spiders. Methods of cloaking are numerous and difficult to list in one article. Some methods are still undetectable however, although if you are experiencing success from using cloaking, it is likely that one of your competitors will pick up on the tactic and report you rapidly. The result being that you will once again experience penalties and may even be banned.

Another method of optimisation utilises doorway pages. These are pages that are purely created to target a certain keyword and rank highly for it. It is hoped that visitors to these types of pages will be attracted to the page and then will follow the link to the homepage. The reason these are deemed unethical is due to the fact that they hold no relevant information and are hence worthless. If you do happen to use this method, it is likely that the doorway pages and even your legitimate pages will be de-listed or penalised.

Duplication is a major bode of contention in optimisation circles. Put simply this is the process of using a highly ranking competitor's site and taking the content and changing it slightly or not at all. This tactic however is rarely being used today due to the fact that search engines have found ways of finding duplication and penalising those implementing it. Ultimately, if you want to have great rankings, you need to produce your own unique and high quality content.

By avoiding these optimisation tactics you stand the best chance of experiencing success. Ethical methods may take longer to affect rankings but if you want long lasting results it is essential to pursue them. Whether optimising yourself or employing a specialist, be sure to follow tactics that work with the search engines, if you do not, you may find yourself worse off than when you started.
About the Author
Internet marketing expert Thomas Pretty looks into black hat tactics used in search engine optimisation that should be avoided at all costs for ethical methods.
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