The Seven Deadly Sins of SEO: #5 “Hosting Viruses, Malware or Other Nasties”

June 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Seo For Advanced

This may seem obvious; no search engine is going to rank you well in their search results if their bots discover that there is spyware, malware, viruses or any other kind of internet nasties contained within your website. In fact, if a bot does discover such content, your site will most likely be removed and blacklisted for good.

So that’s simple – and most of you won’t even be considering hosted that kind of content anyway, so there’s nothing to worry about, right? Perhaps wrong. Many sites are subject to hacking, which leads to them being infected with the nasties that search engines (and internet users in general, for that matter) hate so much. Even sites with thoroughly strong security can be hacked and infected, quite without the owner’s knowledge. So you could be merrily promoting your site, working on its content and ensuring your SEO is tip top, but you may not be aware that your site is infected and only a few steps away from being blacklisted forevermore.

There are a few things you can use to prevent it. The first is obvious, but crucial: visit your site regularly with your anti-virus working, and check it seems okay. Secondly, you can get a good idea of what other people think of your site by installing a Firefox Add-On called “Web of Trust”. This displays a ring of one of three colors near the browser menu of a website; green means the website is ‘safe’, orange means ‘doubtful’ and red means ‘avoid this site’. These colors are user generated, so you can check that no one is experiencing problems with your site by installing this add-on.

The Seven Deadly Sins of SEO: #4 “Linking To Bad Sites”

June 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Seo For Advanced

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘falling in with a bad crowd’? Well, if you link to websites that search engines consider ‘bad’, that’s the search engine optimization equivalent of falling in with a bad crowd. While your website may not be intrinsically ‘bad’ in itself, if you promote (by linking) sites that violate the terms and conditions of major search engines, you’ll be tarred with the same brush. While it’s unlikely your site will be completely blacklisted, you may see a sharp fall in rankings position – or be removed from the search rankings altogether.

This, of course, begs the question: how do I know what a ‘bad’ site is? After all, if someone links to you, you’re probably going to want to do the decent thing and return the favor That’s what so much of website building, networking and promotion is all about – right? So how can you be sure you’re not destroying your own search engine chances by linking to a poor site that search engines consider bad?

It’s tricky, but the basic answer is to use your gut. How does the website look? Does it look professionally designed, properly maintained? Is the content unique, or does it all sound familiar, or is the English terribly written?

On a more technical basis, you can check the PageRank of the site, and also its standings with Alexa. This should give a good understanding of the website in question’s general standing, and whether or not it’s the kind of crowd you want to be associating with. Also familiarize yourself with the Google terms of service, and scan the site for any obvious violations. If it passes, feel free to post a link back.

The Seven Deadly Sins of SEO: #3 “Duplicate Content”

June 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Seo For Advanced

Among those well versed in internet marketing, duplicate content is something of a sticky issue. The exact nature of the problem is in what constitutes duplicate content, with some internet marketers insist anything that has previously been written on any other website qualifies as duplicate content – while others say it only matters for the same text to be repeated on the same website.

The exact definition is not exactly known, and isn’t helped by the fact that the search engines are not particularly forthcoming on the issue. However, if you are found to be using duplicate content on your website and a search engine does have an issue with it, you can kiss goodbye to a good ranking with that search engine.

It is more likely – though not certain – that the duplicate content rule applies to text used within the same site. You should not, for example, make lots of pages all using the same article with no changes. This is the lesser version of duplicate content, though some marketers still exist search engines frown on the same article or text being used from anywhere on the internet will trigger a duplicate content penalty.

The idea, of course, is to avoid plagiarism and for search engines to avoid publishing results that show the same text over and over again. To be absolutely sure you’re not committing the duplicate content sin, always write and use original content, both within your website and externally. That way, you can be sure – no matter who is right and wrong in the debate – that you aren’t going to be penalized for it.

The Seven Deadly Sins of SEO: #2 “Cloaking”

June 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Seo For Advanced

All the major search engines compete to make their search results as relevant, up to date and informative as possible. For a search engine to be considered effective, and therefore gain users, it relies on its reputation for providing the right information for any given search term.

They’re right for assuming this. Imagine you were looking for some tips on how to clean your windows, and you used a search engine you’re unfamiliar with. If you visited a site through this new search engine, and it brought you to a website on adult porn – you wouldn’t be too happy, would you? In fact, you’d probably dismiss the search engine as useless, and wouldn’t bother to use it again.

That’s why search engines take an issue known as ‘cloaking’ so very seriously. If their livelihoods depend on the search results being accurate and informative, search engines have a duty to their own business ethics – as well as their customers – to frown upon cloaking, and they do. Do it, and your website will be removed from search results and most likely blacklisted.

So what is cloaking? Cloaking is the practice of writing a piece of programming that means human visitors to your website see something very different from what a search engine bot crawling your website sees. If you cloak effectively, you could indeed disguise your adult site as something as harmless as cleaning windows – and you’d benefit from a good SEO ranking. You’d also, unfortunately, ruin the search engine results – and they can’t be having that. When it comes to cloaking, avoid.

The Seven Deadly Sins of SEO: #1 “Hidden Text”

June 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Seo For Advanced

Anyone with a basic understanding of search engine optimization will know that text on a website plays a large part in how you are ranked in search engines. In fact, it could be argued that the textual content of a website is actually the most important thing for search engines.

It’s therefore natural for the cunning mind to wonder if it’s possible to introduce sections of ‘hidden text’. Imagine you’re not the best writer in the world, and you don’t want to have to spend a lot of money outsourcing content creation. Yet at the same time, you’re aware of the importance that search engines place on textual content. So rather than writing poor articles yourself, trying to jam your keywords in, you can simply write the keywords into a spare section of your website – and then changed the font color so it is the same, or virtually the same, as the background of the page. Suddenly, your website is stuffed with keywords, but all without having to publish poor articles or ruin the look and feel of your website in general.

This practice goes by a variety of names, including font matching and keyword stuffing. However, whatever you call it, it’s a bad deal.

Why? Well, the reason is obvious – it’s a cheat. Google, and the other major search engines, place an importance on text content because they want their search results to be relevant. Hidden text defeats the point of this, and if you’re caught doing it, you will have your website banned from the search engine – for good.