Search Engine Optimization – What to Avoid

Search Engine Optimization – What to Avoid

It is a well-known fact that search engines provide most of the traffic received by websites. This has, therefore, made search engine optimization a worthwhile endeavor for many webmasters.

This drive towards optimization, however, has made search engines more stringent when it comes to ranking pages in their indexes. In fact, most have started to impose penalties on offending webmasters (from downgrading their page’s rating to banning the domain name, IP address and pages registered under their Internic handles).

It is therefore important for you, as webmaster, to make sure that your optimization efforts not fall outside the scope of what search engines deem as acceptable. To help you along, we’ve listed some of the practices that are either a waste of your time (because they don’t factor much in search engines’ ranking algorithms) or definite no-nos (as they’re likely to get you banned by them altogether).

Cloaking and IP Delivery:

* most search engines regard this as spam and can result in de-listing or outright blackballing of the domain

Doorway Pages (or Page Generators based on keywords / hallway pages):

* similar to cloaking except that you actually create keyword rich pages that only the spiders see
* affiliate programs are the usual culprits (using keyword-packed doorway pages that steer traffic through sneaky redirects to another site)
* many SEs now watch for multiple submissions that are very similar or appear the same so don’t create too many of them
* having three or more of your pages appearing together in matches for a single keyword search could get you banned from that search engine
* Tip:
o if you have to have one, make legitimate doorway pages that everyone can see (if done properly, they’ll rank high and provide relevant information for those searching)

Meta Refresh Tag

* low-tech version of cloaking
* used to hide “doorways”, or “leap pages” from users
* popular with the adult industry

Excessive Submissions

* submission of
o same page to any engine more than once within 24hrs
o too many pages at once
o identical or duplicate pages (given different file names)
* technology and “pay for inclusion” deals render regular page re-submisions obsolete
* Google specifically says that ‘multiple submissions will not improve the likelihood of your site being added or accelerate the process’
* most search engines limit the number of submissions a particular site can make in a certain period (beyond which the site might be banned)

Remote Search Engine Submission Programs

* unauthorized computerized / automated programs that submit pages to a number of search engines and/or check search rankings (Google in particular, does not recommend the use of the popular web tool Web Position Gold T as it not only utilizes a large amount of computing time and space, but also violates its TOS)
* most major search engines block ( instead of accept submissions ) from them
* there are three types:
o Programs that submit pages at predetermined intervals
o Online services that submit to several search engines in a single click
o Standalone or submission programs residing on your computer
* Tip:
o use search engines’ paid submission programs instead as they guarantee indexing of a page on an agreed upon frequency

Invisible Texts or Links

* texts written either in fine print or in the same color as the web page, or both (so text is read by the spider, but not the site visitor) and used to stuff keywords, or
* links sent out to other sites, but not seen by the visitor (often used in link exchanges to prevent visitors from leaving the site and redirect them to a web site entirely different from the one intended)
* makes for bad design and unethical optimization
* easy for both crawlers and competitors to spot
Link Farms

* link farms, link circles or free-for-all link collections (ex., are forums for unrelated sites to trade links for the “sole” purpose of inflating PR (or harvesting e-mail addresses)
* your site can get de-listed if it’s associated with them
* Tips:
o get links from “on topic” sites only and set up outbound links in an intelligent manner
o if creating a page for links, qualify the sites to include only links relevant to your site visitors and those that will enhance their experience

Keyword Suffing

* listing of keywords (e.g. keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3, keyword 4, etc.) anywhere except in your keywords meta tag, or
* using any keywords in your META tags that do not apply/relate to your page’s content, or
* repeating the same keyword dozens of times in a row on your page or in your META tags
* search engine operators set limits on the number of characters and the number of times a term could be used in your meta description and meta keywords tags (if you went over that limit, they could “spam” your site out of their index)
* Tips:
o integrate keywords into a readable sentence in your title and alt tags so that it will not read like a list
o good content is KEY
o list a keyword no more than seven times in the page

Copy Writing No-Nos

* lack or absence of visible HTML text in the home page and important inner pages – at least 200-250 words per optimized page is necessary, along with the key phrases; focus on what your target audience wants to know
* non-use of key phrases – both informational or marketing oriented sites need to include well-researched key phrases in their copy
* use of popular but useless technology in site design – TEXT is more important for both Internet surfers and search engine spiders; copywriters should therefore work closely with designers in the SEO process

Other Factors that Could Negatively Affect Your SERP and Page Rank:

* Broken/Dead Links – internal and outgoing
* Multiple use of the same tag (ex. more than one title tag)
* Empty Alt Tags – spiders can’t read graphics or images
* Overuse of Punctuation in the TITLE and Description tags – wastes space (some characters are ignored or cause problems with spiders, ex. “|”)
* Compounded Words in the content, or tags – will not help your page’s ranking for individual terms
* Use of frames and dynamic pages in site design
o use of meta and tags is important since many search engines aren’t frames-compatible
o submit pointer pages if your site uses database-generated requests or CGI scripts
* Password protection – most search engines cannot index (without special access provisions) content behind password-protected pages


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