Why Blackhat Seo Is Bad Business
Like it or not, the search engine optimization (SEO) strategies implemented by your webmaster may impact more than your company’s keyword rankings. Black Hat SEO, as unethical search engine optimization practices are generally called, can have negative consequences for your company’s public image as well.
A relatively recent case in point would be the doorway pages utilized by automaker BMW. Google penalized the BMW site for using doorway pages, which trick search engines by showing them different content than what is presented to users. BMW got a lot of free publicity out of the deal, but probably not of the type they were hoping for. BMW quickly removed the doorway pages from their site, and more than likely, someone behind the scenes got their hand slapped too.
If your company is intent on building not only a brand, but a stellar public image, the last activity you’ll want to engage in is Black Hat SEO tactics. Although there are some gray areas, certain practices are widely considered unethical and could tarnish one of your firm’s most valuable assets, your company image.
Black Hat Techniques to Avoid
Building doorway pages into your site is forbidden with just about every search engine. Doorway pages, which are really “fake" pages or “spider food" that cater to search engine algorithms but are never seen by users, have one primary goal: to trick search engines into higher rankings. They should be avoided at all costs.
Placing invisible text on your site can also get you into trouble with search engines. An example would be putting black text on a black background on your site. This practice is also unethical. Keyword packing or stuffing, which involves putting long lists of keywords on your site without anything in the way of content, can also get you banned from the search engines.
If your webmaster or SEO firm is engaging in any of these tactics, beware. Your site could be penalized by the search engines for these tactics, and any gains that result from them early on could be more than offset by the cost of being de-indexed by the search engines, not to mention the black eye that unethical practices could give to your company.
Link farms and linking schemes with the primary intent of manipulating search engine rankings, as opposed to providing valuable content on the web, can also get your site dropped or banned from Google. Google also has a very dim view of duplicate content, which involves the promotion of two or more nearly identical sites.
Black Hat SEO is simply not worth the risk. Your best choice will always be to engage an SEO firm whose ethics reflect the stellar image your company has or is striving to achieve.
Copyright 2006 Cari Haus http://searchwarp.com/swa49737.htm
That brings us to certain companies having SEO contest, is this rewarding or damaging?
Here is what Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEO_contest has to say..
"In simple words, a SEO contest invites webmasters to trick the search engines. Some webmasters resort to spam, while others use white-hat optimization techniques (like providing good content covering the competition, or optimizing page titles).
While there are many search engines around, they all seem to focus on Google in particular. Google is known to be a difficult search engine to rank well on, especially for new web sites.
Most SEO contests expect people to optimize a single web page for a non-existent phrase of two silly words. The main reason for this is to keep existing web sites from getting a head start. But at the same time it makes sure that regular internet searchers won’t be bombarded with “spammy” results when searching the web for “regular” information.
Blogs seem to do well at these challenges, indicating in a way that pages with valuable content are preferred by search engines over regular websites, especially when it comes to newsworthy and fresh information of a temporary nature."
SEO has become a more well known word amongst (upcoming) webdevelopers and -designers, “Search Engine Optimization”, but what is it exactly? Optimizing a website to get a better search engine placement. Since the first search engines were launched the technology behind has increased rapidly over the years, and has made the engines way more “intelligent” - in this process backlinks has begun playing a very high factor - popularity and quality of content equals (almost) amount of links to your website.
But does SEO really only mean “Search engine optimization”? It is easy to be confused when reading hundreds of articles about SEO, but the answer is simply, yes. The different articles on the Internet simply offers tips and tricks on how to do SEO. There is no easy way. But in these contests, the things I experience, is that many people use “dirty tricks” (read: e.g. spamming in form of trackback spamming, commenting with the only purpose of promoting a website …).
White And Blackhat Methods.. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEO
White hat methods of SEO involve following the search engines’ guidelines as to what is and what isn’t acceptable. Their advice generally is to create content for the user, not the search engines; to make that content easily accessible to their spiders; and to not try to game the system. Often, webmasters make critical mistakes when designing or setting up their websites, inadvertently “poisoning” them so that they will not rank well. White hat SEOs attempt to discover and correct mistakes, such as machine-unreadable menus, broken links, temporary redirects, or a poor navigation structure.
Because search engines are text-centric, many of the same methods that are useful for web accessibility are also advantageous for SEO. A detailed case for this common ground, cited by the W3C with respect to Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case, is SEO A Positive Influence on Web Accessibility. Google has brought the relationship between SEO and accessibility even closer with the release of Google Accessible Web Search which prioritises accessible websites.
Methods are available for optimizing graphical content, including ALT attributes, and adding a text caption. Even Flash animations can be optimized by designing the page to include alternative content in case the visitor cannot read Flash.
Some methods considered proper by the search engines:
Using unique and relevant title to name each page.
Editing web pages to replace vague wording with specific terminology relevant to the subject of the page, and that the audiences that the site was developed for will expect to see on the pages, and will search with to find the page.
Increasing the amount of unique content on the site.
Writing quality content for the website visitors instead of the search engines.
Using a reasonably-sized, accurate description meta tag without excessive use of keywords, exclamation marks or off topic terms.
Allowing search engine spiders to crawl pages without having to accept session IDs or cookies.
Developing “link bait” strategies. High quality websites that offer interesting content or novel features tend to accumulate large numbers of backlinks.
Participating in a web ring with other quality websites.
Writing useful, informational articles under a Creative Commons or other open source license, in exchange for attribution to the author by hyperlink.
Black hat methods:
“Black hat” SEO are methods to try to improve rankings which are disapproved of by the search engines, typically because they consider such methods deceptive, and unrelated to providing quality content to site visitors. Search engines often penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from the SERPs altogether. Such penalties are usually applied automatically by the search engines’ algorithms, because the Internet is too large to make manual policing of websites feasible.
Spamdexing is the promotion of irrelevant, chiefly commercial, pages through deceptive techniques and the abuse of the search algorithms. Over time a widespread consensus has developed in the industry as to what are and are not acceptable means of boosting one’s search engine placement and resultant traffic.
Spamdexing often gets confused with white hat search engine optimization techniques, which do not involve deceit. Spamming involves getting websites more exposure than they deserve for their keywords, leading to unsatisfactory search results. Optimization involves getting websites the rank they deserve on the most targeted keywords, leading to satisfactory search experiences.
When discovered, search engines may take action against those found to be using unethical SEO methods. In February 2006, Google removed both BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany for use of these practices.
Cloaking is the practice of serving one version of a page to search engine spiders/bots and another version to human visitors.