If you are a small business owner, you may have spent a fair amount of time learning about the generally accepted ways to improve your search rankings. What you probably glossed over or skipped all together was reading about the tactics used to game or "cheat" your way up the search engines. You may be thinking "but I'm not planning to spam the search engines!" That's great, but are you absolutely positive the SEM firm you're thinking about hiring feels the same way? If you know nothing about those tactics, how can you be certain your company or your SEM firm aren't using them.
Mike Moran, who writes about search marketing for Revenue magazine, has written an excellent three part series for the magazine aiming to help people get a solid overview of search engine optimization spam tactics.
Legitimate search marketers must have at least a passing familiarity with spam techniques in order to avoid them. Many companies have been tripped up because their employees unwittingly employed spam techniques, or because they unwittingly hired search marketing consultants who do. You'll want to know enough to protect yourself, but also you'll want to identify competitors gaining unfair advantages so you can turn them in to the search engines.
Check out the full series, or jump straight to any of the articles.
Spiders Don't Eat Spam - Moran offers up an overview of what search engine spam is and why some site owners attempt to game the system. He offers some guidelines on how to know if your site has been banned from a search engine and briefly explains cloaking. He wraps up with some advice on good questions to ask a search marketing firm before hiring them.
The Ingredients That Go Into Spam - In this article, Moran dives into what he dubs "stupid content tricks." He runs through hidden text, duplicate tags, keyword stuffing and doorway pages.
The Tangled Web of Link Spam - In the final article in his series, Moran offers up an explanation of why legitimate links are crucial to earning good search engine rankings and follows up with a look at common link spamming tactics.
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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