What is search engine spam?
Search engine spam is the use of unethical techniques for improving your search engine
position. Dishonest Webmasters are using these spam tactics to fool the search engines
into giving irrelevant pages high search engine placement.
Tutorials on search engine optimization are often recommending optimization techniques
that will be regarded as search engine spam by the search engines. If you are not aware of
what constitutes search engine spam your site will not be indexed -- and could even be
blacklisted. That is a very high price to pay if you are serious about the success
of your Website.
Therefore, besides looking at factors that will boost your search engine rankings, we
will also look into what tactics to avoid:
Ten search engine spam techniques
- Invisible text. Hiding keywords by using the same (or very similar) color
for font and background is one of the most common techniques used by search engine
spammers. This can be done unknowingly if you are using tables or a background image
with a different color than the real background for your site.
- Keyword stuffing are often used along with hidden text, but can also be used to
repeat keywords over and over again on the bottom of the page (tailing) in tiny font
or within meta tags (or other hidden tags). This is a very popular search engine spam
- Unrelated keywords. Never use popular keywords that do not apply to your
site's content. You might be able to trick a few people searching for such words into
clicking at your link, but they will quickly leave your site when they see you have no
info on the topic they were originally searching for. This kind of search engine spam will
upset both the search engines and their users.
- Hidden tags. The use of keywords in hidden HTML tags like comment tags, style
tags, http-equiv tags, hidden value tags, alt tags, font tags, author tags, option tags,
noframes tags (on sites not using frames) and hidden links might be considered search
engine spam by some search engines. Others will allow it.
- Identical pages (or very similar pages). Don't duplicate a Web page (or doorway
page), give the copies different file names, and submit them all (mirror pages). Duplicate
pages are regarded as search engine spam by all search engines and directories.
- Code swapping ("bait & switch" technique). Do not optimize a
page for high search engine position, and then swap another page in its place once a
high rank is achieved. Doing this will never result in a lasting search engine
- Page redirects. Often people create spam filled Web pages intended for the eyes
of search engines only. When someone visit those pages, they are redirected to the real
are legitimate reasons for cloaking and similar techniques, but don't use them
unless you know exactly what you are doing.
- Link farms. Many search engines consider the use of link farms or
reciprocal link generators as search engine spam techniques. Several search engines
are known to kick out sites that participate in any link exchange program that
artificially boosts link popularity.
- No content. Sites without unique content of value to the search engine
users are often regarded as spam. Illegal content, duplicated content, and sites
consisting largely of affiliate links are also considered low value search engine spam,
especially by the directories.
- Over submitting. Each search engine has its own limits to how many pages
can be submitted and how often to submit. Do not submit the same page more than once a
month to the same search engine and don't submit too many pages each day. Never
submit doorways to directories. Follow the submission guidelines carefully.
Penalties for search engine spam
Not all search engines are equally strict about search engine spam. Tricks that are
perfectly acceptable for one search engine can be considered search engine spam by
another. Some engines will refuse to index pages believed to contain spam, some will still
index, but rank the pages lower. Another option is banning the whole site.
On some search engines, you may find pages that are ranked high and DO use some
of the search engine spam techniques described here. These are usually old pages
-- often several years old. If these pages were submitted today, they would be
scored low, or rejected. Even if you currently can get away with certain search engine
spam techniques, spam and other ways of cheating just do not work in the end.
Search engines strive to provide the most relevant results to their users, but spam
clutters their indexes with irrelevant and misleading information. Make no mistake. Search
engines will always react to the spam techniques when they become a big enough problem.
Then they might ban your entire site if you are caught using such tricks.