Inappropriate Website Promotion Methods

The list of dubious means of search engine optimisation lengthens year on year. In theory, of course, we could all employ such means, but there are ethical issues to be tackled. And even if we ignore fair-play principles for a moment, it’s worth pointing out that cheap, scam-like promotion methods usually look cheap and scam-like, annoy Internet users and have a short lifespan because counter-measures are created.
This article describes misleading, illegal and unethical methods of search engine optimisation, explains why they are wrong and highlights the possible adverse results.
keyword density
In their naive quests for high positions in search engines’ listings, some web site owners simply cram as many key phrases as possible into the body text of their resources. However, if a key phrase is mentioned too often in the text (so-called keyword damping), the website may be overlooked by the more advanced search engines. Moreover, site content will undoubtedly be unreadable for visitors.
Nevertheless, few people know what keyword density is optimal or at what point keyword damping begins. Unfortunately, this can mean that innocent web site owners or editors can leave an undesirable content by chance, just because of a lack of attention or experience. To help prevent having your resource rejected by search engines, just keep to the following recommendations before launching your web site.
1.Look through your text once again. Do you see certain words and phrases dancing in front of your eyes? If not, you can pass your text through to the next test. If you do, try reducing the number of sentences, writing alternative phrases or even consider starting again from scratch.
2.Read out the text of your web page to co-workers or friends or ask them to read it to you. Does it sound annoying or amateurish because of excessive keyword density? If not, the page is ready for launching.
Hidden text
Hiding text is another means of fooling search engines, but one that is becoming more futile. Body text is hidden when:
•the font is exactly the same colour as, or differs very slightly from, a web page’s background colour, or
•when it is so tiny on the screen (1 or 2 pixels) that visitors don’t see it.
The idea behind the scam is that search engine spiders will read the code that makes up the page but human visitors will not notice the text, or will see it as a detail in the graphic design. So the theory goes, webmasters can place commonly searched words in these unseen areas that will hoist their pages up the search engine rankings, even if the true content has nothing to do with the subject searched for. They think that hiding ‘Britney Spears’ on their mountain resort’s web page will cause an avalanche of visitors and increase sales. Life isn’t that simple!
If you put yourself in the user’s position, you’ll soon see why this won’t work. You won’t be too pleased about having to scroll through endless pages filled with absolutely useless content when searching for the resource that you need.
Because the best search engines (i.e., the ones that people actually use) can efficiently resist this kind of cheating, dishonest webmasters will have their rankings reduced or be left off indices, even if the penalty is not instant. Remember also that a search entry‘s very popularity means that a page thus ‘optimised’ will be just one of millions of others, further reducing any perceived competitive advantage.
Link exchange networks (link farming)
The Web is by nature a network of interconnected sites supporting one another via hyperlinks. Some search engines use the number of links pointing to a site as a factor in the site’s popularity and, therefore, its ranking. For example, there are thousands of pages linking to NASA’s website, so it ranks highly and is spidered frequently. As with all relevance calculation methods, this one is open to abuse. In the hope of multiple inbound links improving a website’s ranking, web pages, called link farms, are created containing nothing but links to other sites.

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