5 Unethical SEO Tactics

Things you should not do in search engine optimization

Making significant strides regarding your online presence is a matter that has a lot to do with search engine optimization. It is with good search engine optimization (SEO) that every entity seeking to have a pronounced footing on the internet and curve a niche for itself achieves its objectives. Much of what is the inner working of effective optimization is still that same, but with new elements added to enhances the overall results based on set goals and target ROI. And while search engine optimization is a continuous process that can be outsourced, it is essential to know a few important things before getting started with SEO.

The desire to get it right when doing optimization will at times see some optimization service providers resort to underhanded tactics. Though such tactics may bear results, the risk of employing these unethical optimization tactics is far greater than the returns hence the need to avoid them at all costs. Therefore, you should take the time to understand what qualifies as acceptable search engine optimization before outsourcing these services. The best optimization practices are based on white hat search engine optimization that adheres to the guidelines of the leading search engine, Google.

But with so many players in the optimization business and everyone coming up with different optimization solutions, how can you let the difference between white hat search engine optimization and the scheming tactics?

How To Tell The Difference

Google's guidelines that govern white hat search engine optimization to ensure that what is in place is content or information that is accurate and pertinent to what online users' searches. By adhering to such tactics, it is easier to conform to any new improvements that Google announces for their search algorithm. The updates are periodic, and Google employs them with the aim of weeding out any SEO tactics that are used by scrupulous players to game the system.

The crafty measures utilized by scrupulous optimization service providers may give some impressive results concerning gaining a higher rank in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). However, the use of these strategies goes against Google's rules, and their gains are short-term and with damaging impacts on a website's reputation once the tricks employed as discovered by search engines. For instance, Google's response to insincere optimization tactics ranges from penalizing a website by lowering its rank in search results and banning the site altogether.

So, it is possible to have a competitive edge over your competitors if you use unethical search engine optimization strategies. Yes. But at what risk or cost? With Google continually waging a battle against such practices by updating their algorithms to identify websites that use such tricks and penalizing them heavily, it is better to adhere to the rules. In light of this, below are some of the ill practices of search engine optimization worth knowing and avoiding.

1. Link Farms

It is a strategy that involves looping links back to each other. The game involves the creation of several sites and creating links to and from each website to the others thus having "looped links." With such links, search engines are tricked into believing that the websites have relevant and valuable information based on the traffic generate due to the looped links. The result is a site that gains significant popularity thereby eliciting strong interests in the online users with leads to increased visits.

Unfortunately, the top search engines, notably Google, have perfected their algorithms to identify these duplicitous backlinks based on the value and relevance of the information they have. The outcome of such discoveries is the revocation of all the sites using the backlinks and a significant drop in search page ranking or being banned.

2. Invisible Text

The use of hidden text in the content on some sites is not uncommon. The websites insert keywords and phrases in their content, which they do by camouflaging their font color of the text with the background. While the visitors will not see the invisible words, the text in the content can be seen by web crawlers and be used for search ranking. Such an unethical SEO tactic was common back in the day and was an effective trick for gaining high page ranking. Today, things are very different since Google's algorithms detect them with ease.

3. Duplicate Content

The matter at hand with this particular tactic is plagiarism, which was in use a few years ago. Back then, websites would plagiarize content from other sites with the aim of increasing traffic to their site and subsequently improving their ranking in SERPs. Today, the "copy and paste" culture in content generation is not acceptable. It is viewed as stealing and highly prohibited and is subject to substantial penalties. Search engines advocate for the production of fresh, relevant, valuable, and unique content that benefits the online users.

4. Cloaking

The optimizers that employed this strategy would utilize two different HTML addresses where one was for Google's bots and the other for the visitors. Ideally, the game involves the use of Adobe Flash since Google was unable to detect the data in websites that used it and this created a leeway for website developers to show two types of content. The result of such a strategy is visitors finding their way to the pages show in the search results only to discover the information is utterly unrelated to their search input and this ruins the user experience. With search engines such as Google, Bing and the rest keen on providing and improving the quality of interactions between the online user and the search engines, is wise to above this practice.

5. Rewording Content

Since plagiarism is no longer a tactic that can be used today, some SEO service producers resort to a different measure; that of changing a few words here and there in stolen content and using it with the claims of it being new content. Processes such as article spinning only result in material or information that is incomprehensible and seemingly disjointed thus lacking any valuable insights. Such a practice is not acceptable according to Google's standards.