redirects. Yahoo! editors may remove your site from their search index if they
notice deceptive redirects.
If you do move a site or page, you can use a 301 redirect to allow the link
popularity to pass through to the new location. That is not considered deceptive
as long as the pages are about the same topic.
If you do move site locations, you will want to leave the old site up for about a
week to ensure search engines and Internet service providers have updated the old
DNS details for your site before taking it down. Make sure you keep the old
domain registered after you move your site so that the links from your redirect
domain stay active. Some people let them lapse and lose much of their link equity
when the well linked domains expire.
When renting links make sure you rent relevant links. The more under the radar
your link buy is the more likely it is to be affordable and carry weight long-term.
Why? If few marketers are looking at the same sources as you do, then your
sources may be cheaper than expected and stay out of the range of most marketers
because they may not think of them as being accessible. Also, if your bought links
look like organic citations AND few people are getting links from the same
sources, the odds are quite low that search engines are going to want to devalue
When renting links, it is usually best to focus on quality and relevancy over
quantity. Rent links that will drive direct traffic from related sites. That provides
the maximum return potential while providing the minimum risk exposure.
Google’s Adam Lasnik left this comment on my blog
There is, admittedly, a bit of fuzziness in this, but cases we see quite often
tend to be rather cut and dry. Buying a link on a high-PR site that happens
to be in tiny font on the very bottom of a footer? Probably not being
purchased as "advertising"... not for the purposes of drawing traffic or
garnering brand recognition. As you might guess, those aren't the sort of
links we see as trusted votes for a site.
It is important to consider risk exposure when renting links as well. If you are too
aggressive with renting links it may not only waste your money, but it may get your
site banned for relevancy manipulation.
The best way to buy or rent links is typically indirectly, by creating some sort of
packaged value system, contest, or controversy that many people are willing to link
at. By creating packaged value systems it makes it harder for competitors to
reverse engineer and replicate what you have done, while providing a link profile
that looks more natural to search engineers.
Creating a Link Network
In 2006, Google really started pushing up the rewards for having an authority
domain, so creating many smaller sites in link networks is generally not as
profitable as it once was.
One of the biggest benefits of creating mini sites is that it allows you to segregate
risks, business models, and audience profiles.
If a company you affiliate with would not like to associate their brand
with an aggressive and cheesy viral link campaign, then you might be
able to use that link campaign to build up a feeder site not directly
associated with the monetization model.
If you are using an aggressive or underhanded marketing technique,
making it look as though some independent affiliate was responsible is
another way to shield your brand from damage due to questionable
tactics. Just look at how many content spammers Google pays to
clutter up Yahoo! and MSN search results with spammy AdSense sites.
If you wanted to tap a market and a group that hates that market it
would be hard to do both using a single brand and domain.
Creating link networks can be an effective SEO technique if done correctly, though
if your link renting or site networks are done exclusively to manipulate search
results, and they are easily detectable, you may get penalized by algorithms or
human editors employed by search engines.
Linking a bunch of small sites together also shows up easily if you do not have a
bunch of different external links pointing into your link network. Many search
engines also have the ability to devalue links from the same C block IP range or
from the same owner. Make sure if you do this that your sites look legitimate and
unique, or that you use mixed WhoIs data, various hosts for different sites, and
many links pointing into your sites from outside your network.
If you create link networks and do not have original, useful content on each site
(and reasons for creating the many sites), then you are taking a risk that your site
may be removed from search results.
While it is sometimes hard for a search engine to find, fellow webmasters may rat
you out to the search engines for hiding text. Hidden text usually exists on sites
that have other problems as well. If the search engines find it, they may drop the
Keyword stuffing and using invisible text adds little on the reward side; there are
far more effective SEO techniques to use.
Sometimes the legitimacy of a technique is determined by who did it. For example,
if your site accepts user feedback and some of your users are bad at spelling, it does
not look bad, but if you were to manually stuff a bunch of misspelled keywords on
the bottom of a page that would look much more questionable.
If cloaking is done correctly, it is hard to detect. The problem with deceptive
cloaking is that it builds no intrinsic value. A s the web grows, your site stays
stagnant. I would not be interested in chancing my long-term financial stability on
the ability of one software program to stay ahead of the major search engines
If you use cloaking, I would recommend going with one of the best:,
Link Building/Spam Tangent
Black hat is the term given to some aggressive SEO practices. As a business, labels
do not matter. The only criteria that matters is if something is effective or not. Are
the risks you are taking logical risks? Are you doing aggressive techniques with
sites that cannot afford the risk? Or have you factored the risks into your actions?
I created BlackHatSEO.com as an example directory of promotional ideas that will
typically waste your time and money. Creating BlackHatSEO.com caused some
people to view me in a negative light.
Even if people hate something, they may talk about it. So, as the idea spreads, I
will become more well-known. To be extremely successful on the web, you
either have to be
bad. That site is really bad, but it has a
clear purpose. Now the entire industry has to either come up with a different catch
phrase or my site sticks as the official answer, as it is the exact matching domain
and ranks #1 in Google for that term. Either way, I get marketing power I can
leverage in the future!
Within six months of making that site, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch
mentioned it in a new article about spam. Since that site has been up, it has cost
less than $5 a month and has generated thousands of dollars worth of business,
link popularity, and notoriety.
It is hard for me to get people to link to “Aaron Wall: SEO
It is somewhat easier for me to get links to “SEO Book Tips on How
to Spam Google.”
It is even easier for me to get links to “101 Ways to Build Link
Popularity in 2006”
It is extremely easy for me to get links to “Black Hat SEO: Funny Link
Directory of Deceptive Practices.”
End of Tangent
Automated Content Generation
If you create a new collaborative filter or a value system that makes people want to
add quality content to your site, it will generally be viewed as a positive thing.
If you scrape content from other sources and add little to no value and are
aggressive with your ad placement, the site is much less likely to stick.
Duplicate content detection has improved greatly. Some search engines may also
have filters that compare a site’s growth rate to its historical growth rate, or its
content growth rate vs. link growth rate.
Cross Site Scripting Errors
Some content management systems have errors that allow webmasters to add links
to other websites or create pages on other websites. Some search spammers create
finance and pharmacy pages on trusted domains. These pages generally rank well
for a short period of time until the search engines find the footprint and remove
the associated pages from their indexes.
Why Frames are Evil
Though it is not typically a spam technique, I recommend that you not use frames.
The problem with frames is that everything on the Internet has an easily accessible
defined location, except framed pages.
When the home page of a framed site has a defined location, the search engine will
not group the other pages as part of their frame sets. All the internal documents
will show as stand-alone pages that will require you to use redirects to display the
frameset. You can use a
tag to allow search engines to read the
content, but you will still have other major problems.
The most evil thing about frames is that if I do not know what the URL of one of
your great articles is, then how can I link to it? If I can’t link people directly to
the most targeted and relevant piece of information on your site, then the odds are
good that I will not link or will just link elsewhere.
Aggressive SEO Practices That Still Help
When a person is paying for placement in the Yahoo! Directory, they are renting
links the same way that “unethical” SEO firms are. Ethics is generally a bogus term
to use in relation to SEO. Effective versus ineffective and risk versus reward are better
ways of describing different SEO practices.
When exchanging links, you do not want to exchange links with a site that does not
add value to your user experience or offer you great strategic advantages. When
search was less sophisticated (and I was poor and more naïve), I reciprocated links
with a few off-topic sites, but usually I would only consider doing this if my site
was new and theirs was extremely powerful. Junky link exchanges are probably
unnecessary for most websites, and can put your website in a bad community.
Most effective and successful websites do not need to do things like exchange
When buying links, you should look at local 501(c) tax-exempt organization sites,
blogs, and other sites that sell high-value, authoritative links rather cheaply.
Sometimes sites inside your industry will rent or sell links at reasonable prices as
well. The more relevant a link is, and the more editorial it seems, the less risk there
is in the purchase.
Aggressive SEO Firms
Many people will play the ethics angle to promote themselves. Search engine ethics
is a rather bogus concept when you consider some ethical SEO firms are getting
paid to promote corporations that use sweatshop labor.
It is important that you can trust your SEO, and you should know if they are doing
anything that could get you punished. It is a fact, though, that the search engines
and SEO firms owe each other absolutely nothing when it comes to the organic
I recently became more aggressive, though I am still rather conservative in
comparison to many SEO firms. It is a balancing act. On one project I might
create pure spam, and then on the next project I might be whiter than white. Use
the right tool for the right job.
Link purchasing is an effective form of advertisement, just like buying a billboard.
Quality, underpriced links are not going to be easy to find unless you think of the
web as a social network composed of people and ideas.
If something seems like a thing you have never heard of before, or it cannot be
easily explained, then it should probably be questioned or explored further before
If the idea shows search engines one thing and then shows the user something else,
it is generally not a good practice unless it is via paid inclusion, done on a site you
don’t mind burning, or done by an extremely talented SEO with the risk profile
explained to you in depth beforehand.
Often people like to use Flash to show off their web design talents. Many people
are overwhelmed by Flash content. Some dial-up visitors will not wait for your
Flash to load. Search has become such an effective advertising medium in large
part because of its simplicity.
I strongly urge not using Flash on most websites because it gives search engines
inadequate content to read. If you do not give search engines much text, then you
will need a larger linking campaign to get that page to rank well. If you do embed a
Flash object, make sure you include HTML content in the page, and either use
Flash Object for Flash detection or provide content inside
tags to help
search engines understand what is inside the flash.
<NOEMBED>My happy textual content…with links to the other
Session IDs & Do Not Feed Search Engines Cookies
Assuming you have many quality incoming links and your site is still not indexed
after an extended period of time, you should evaluate the crawlability of your site.
If you have not received a spam penalty and your site was not previously banned,
you may have technical issues.
There are many dynamic websites that only get a fraction of their web pages
indexed. Search engines are getting better at finding and crawling dynamic pages,
but they still do not like cookies or session ids. Search engines will not accept a
cookie, and if a search engine thinks you are giving it a session ID number, it will
not want to cache your pages (and if they do you will run into duplicate content
If search engines indexed sites that gave them session ID numbers, they could
draw too much from the site in a quick amount of time and crash the server, they
could get the idea that the site is much larger than it actually is, or they could fill
their index up with pages that no longer exist. If you have a shopping cart, do not
issue a session ID until an item is placed in the cart.
Dynamic Site Fiction
Some ill-informed people say that search engines penalize sites for having a .asp or
.php extension. This is complete garbage.
Search engines read any page as hypertext no matter what the file extension is. If a
site is not getting indexed, it usually is lacking in sufficient inbound link popularity,
complex URLs with too many variables, has many dead URLs, has duplicate
content issues, or is issuing the search engine spiders a session ID or cookies.
Is My Site Cached?
To check whether or not your page is in the Google cache, you can do a search in
Google for “cache:www.mysite.com/mypage.whatever.” If the page is in their
cache, then Google is reading it just fine.
All search spiders are not the same though, and some other things can keep your
site from getting indexed. Yahoo!, for example, has been known not to index
some sites well if each page does not have a unique title.
Make sure each page of your site starts with unique, page-relevant content, and is
linked to from other pages on your site.
One URL for Each Unique Content Unit
At the end of the day, search engines want as much useful valuable content as they
can index. Each additional useful document improves their relevancy, market-
share, and allows them to sell more ad space.
Some people use rotating URLs or create many pages using printer-friendly
versions and different versions based on size and color. If many of your pages are
almost exactly the same, or if the URLs that search engines index are usually dead
when they go back to re-index them, there stands a good chance that search
engines will not want to index your site very well.
Limit the options you offer search engines to the pages you actually want indexed.
Search engines do not accept cookies. If your site gives cookies, try turning
cookies off and see your site how some search engines see it. If, when cookies are
disabled, a session ID is placed in the URL to search spiders, it could cause
Dynamic Site Tips
To get dynamic content spidered, I recommend doing the following:
Use two or less variables if possible. If you use many variables, you
may also want to try rewriting your URLs.
Keep each product or category ID variable at or below ten digits.
often associated with session IDs. Search
engines do not want to index multiple copies of the exact same content
and may avoid portions of your site if they think that a parameter is a
session ID. Avoid using ID in your URL. Instead of using
in the URL.
If you are having indexing issues, your site is new and is not yet
indexed, or you are doing a major infrastructure update, you may want
to rewrite your URLs using descriptive clean static looking URLs over
ugly variable filled URLs.
Building a site map and linking to related pages can also help spiders
find your inner pages.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested