Article Audience: Generic Users
Search Engine Optimization is the art of featuring in the top positions of the Search Engine Result Pages. Besides legitimate ways of arriving to the top positions of search engine results (such as the ones described here), there are ways and means of arriving to the top positions of result pages through unethical, deceptive or manipulative methods. These behaviours may lead your site to achieve the top positions, but using unethical methods is a guarantee that your site will only be there for a temporary period. Search engines want natural results to occupy their top positions, not engineered results through unethical methods. As soon as it is discovered that your site has cheated to achieve the top positions, you will be banned from result pages.
Search engines want their results to be 100% valid. They need to ensure that the best and only the best sites occupy the top positions in the search engine result pages, otherwise users will not be satisfied with the results, and the search engine will lose its business. Therefore, search engines will dedicate time and resources to rid their results of incorrect results arrived at through deceptive behaviour. So even though these methods, may give you short-term gain, in the long-term you will defintely be loosing.
Guidelines - Do's
- Make sure your content is for users not for search engines. Even though you should keep search engine optimization in mind, always remember that users are what make or break your site. As stated previously search engines want results which appeal to users, so ensure that your content appeals to users not to search engines. Offer real value to your users, content that keeps your users coming back for more.
- Be ethical - if any of your techniques may seem unethical, do not use it.
Guidelines - Do nots
- Do not use tricks intended to improve your search engine ranking.
- Avoid participating in Link farms and schemes - these are usually bad neighbourhoods and are used often by spammers. If you are linked to by "bad" sites, this may adversely effect your ranking.
- Do not use hidden text and links - this is a way of providing different content to users than that which is visible to search engines (cloaking). An example of this would be of including a large number of keywords related to your topic with certain HTML tags which hides the content to users, however the content will still be crawled by search engines. This would give the search engine the impression that your content is more useful than it actually is. This is seen as an unnatural ways of trying to achieve points with the search engines and you will probably get banned.
- Do not use automatic programs to submit pages or send automatic queries to search engines.
- Do not have different pages / domains with essentially duplicate content.
- Do not create pages which install badware