Internet World 2004: A Visitors Experience
Along with thousands of other people I pored my myself into the Internet World 2004 exhibition at Earls Court, London between 15th – 17th June. My main interest was search engine marketing so I headed off to the New Media Market Hall where several search engine marketing firms were pitting themselves against each other in a scramble to gather the names and emails of potential clients.
I noticed a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company that I recognised so I went to speak with one of their stand reps. As expected the rep told me how wonderful they were at getting web sites listed in the top of the major search engines and showed me some examples of their client listings. Within minutes of the rep explaining their SEO methodology, I was shocked to find that the agency was advocating one of worst forms of spamming methods, commonly known as Cloaking.
Because of the relative lack of publicity on spamming - the majority of punters would be completely unaware of the risks involved in engaging with such an agency. The company in question also has a rather large client list, most of which will have no idea of the potential risks.
What Is Spamming?
Most people know that spamming search engines is bad. There are many variations on the definition of search engine spam. Simply put, it the process of trying to ‘trick’ a search engine into thinking that a web site is more relevant to search phrases than it actually is.
Spammers will argue over what is and is not spam. It is best to remember that any attempt to deceive search engine spiders, directory editors and your visitors should be avoided at all times.
What Are The Risks?
Today's major search engines are sophisticated and are able to detect spam even before it has a chance to enter their index. If spam is detected, a site may not even be indexed by the engine, and if the search engine considers the spam to be severe then it will be banned completely. Regaining the opportunity to be indexed could take several years. In some cases, a new web site domain will need to be setup as the penalised site will never get a chance to be indexed again.
Also remember, that if a spam technique is driving search engine traffic to your site now, it is fairly certain that the search engines will soon realise and will drop your site from being ranked at all – and in worst cases will ban your site indefinitely.
The problem with working with an agency that does not use ethical practices is that you will be spending thousands of pounds for traffic that will only last in the short term. The bottom line is – implementing ethical search engine optimisation practices will deliver long term qualified traffic. Spam techniques may give you traffic today, but tomorrow your rankings will drop or your site will be black listed.
Examples of Spam Techniques
Search engines consider the following attempts to boost search engine positions as spam.
•Machine generated pages built for search engines, not surfers.
•Sites with no value but a lot of content targeting specific keywords.
•Hidden links on web-site pages.
•Link spamming such as (FFA) Free for all link pages.
•Cloaking, where end users and search engines do not see the same content.
•Link Spamming with little or no quality content attached.
•Cross-linking excessively to create the appearance that the site in question is popular.
•Hidden links, hidden text or invisible text anywhere on pages.
•Stuffing keywords on pages
•Standalone pages that are not a part of your main web site and solely created for search engines, not surfers.
•Site submission software using automatic URL submissions.
•Submitting your site to a directory or search engine more than one time per month unless they say it is allowed.
Report and Stop The Spammers
I would love to name and shame the offending SEO agency, but I have decided against it. The best and more effective option is to report spam and unethical practice to the search engines themselves. For example, you can report a spam result to Google directly by visiting www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html
The most popular engines such as Google will be grateful of this assistance as they work extremely hard in keeping their spam filters updated to combat spam techniques. They pay development teams large sums of money to continuously find ways of eliminating spam site from search results. After all, they pride themselves in providing the most relevant information to their searchers.
On the positive side, I did speak to some SEO agencies at Internet World 2004 that appeared to promote good ethical practice. The best advice I can give anyone looking for an SEO agency is to read about spamming techniques and directly question what methods an agency is using for site optimisation. It is then up to you to make your own judgement.
When designing, writing, optimising and submitting your own site – always try to remember general internet and search engine ethics. If you are using a professional and trustworthy SEO agency, they will ensure any site optimisation activity abides by the rules provided by the industry and search engines themselves.
If you are concerned about whether your site may be accidentally using spam techniques, a good SEO agency will also offer to audit your site free of charge.
Phil Robinson, Founder
ClickThrough Marketing 'Online Marketing Experts'
About The Author
Phil Robinson is the Founder and Director of ClickThrough Marketing, an ethical search engine marketing agency that delivers long term ranking and traffic solutions. He provides training and presents at seminars such as for the Chartered Institute of Marketing, speaking on a range of internet marketing topics such as search engine marketing and advanced web analytics.
Notes for editors
PHOTO OF PHIL ROBINSON
Contact Phil Robinson on 0845 057 3349
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT CLICKTHROUGH MARKETING
ClickThrough Marketing are an international search engine marketing agency. Our industry credibility is a result of our deep commitment to providing ethical search engine optimisation and internet marketing services that increase online exposure, search engine rankings and web sites ROI.
We have 5 years experience of running search engine optimisation and online marketing campaigns. Our certified search engine experts are leaders in their field and dedicate themselves to providing online brand visibility using trustworthy techniques that deliver internet traffic in the long term.
Our services include; Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click (PPC), Website Traffic Analysis, Link Building, Search Phrase Analysis.
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