Your Website must help you attract visitors and earn money. You don’t want to spend much money on this, so you Google™ the Web, searching for the silver bullet that will let you earn lots with the least amount of, well, work. What is that silver bullet?…SEO.
Search Engine Optimization
You have probably learned that your Website should listed on the first four pages of “hits” returned by the Google or Bing search engines. Oft-quoted studies show that the average Web surfer does not surf through more than four pages of search results to find the content sought.
Page ranking is no substitute for Content! It may be important if, and only if, you intend to make money from it or if the site promotes a public interest cause.
Search Engine Optimization is not Search Engine Marketing!
Of course, many people took this and came up with all sorts of tricks, or tactics, designed to promote their Website to the forefront of any surfer’s search. The World-Wide Web is full of so-called “SEO Experts” who promote page ranking over all else and who promise, for a fee, to make your Website rank high in Web surfer searches. Some of the tactics are:
Keyword & Meta Tag packing
If you want to make your Website look like the average porn site and you want the major search engines to quickly ban the site, insert a paragraph at the bottom of a Web page filled with nothing but keywords. Or, you can try to be subtle and add keywords in your metadata that have nothing to do with your content. It’s not obvious to the surfer who lands on your page; only the search bots read those tags.
You’re trying to lure people to your site through deception.
People are not stupid, regardless of what politicians and marketeers think. They will take one look at your Website and move on, never to return. Search bots, which cannot be smart or stupid, work on algorithms that instantly recognize what you’ve done and instantly penalize you for it.
Perhaps you think you can outwit both surfers and search bots. If the surfer cannot see the keywords you stuff into a page and those words aren’t tagged as metadata, no problem, right?
So you cleverly (!) add style span tags to the paragraphs to make the color of the text match the color of your page background.
The programmers and engineers employed by Google are not stupid. Their algorithms check for those span tags and compare the keywords in your pages. So, you will soon learn that your page is banned.
Basically, you or your Web developer could code your site so that a search bot is presented with one page but surfers see another. The practice appears unethical on its face, but there are practical and ethical reasons to use the complex technique. For instance, pages could be called based on software triggers that are much more accessible to people with disabilities.
Algorithms are based on complex math, and engineers change them routinely and without warning, based on statistical research and analyses. These algorithms identify Websites that use a form of cloaking to provide a better, more accessible user experience to visitors. And, the bots identify sites that use cloaking to boost page ranking.
Your site will be penalized or banned if you use this unethically.
You can create a page that has little or no content useful to Web surfers but is packed with many similar keywords or phrases. The point of such a page is to try and fool the search bots solely to boost your page ranking.
If you think you can hoodwink the engineers at Google, Yahoo, and Bing and the algorithms they produce, go ahead and try it. You’ll fail, though.
URL/URI redirect is a spamming technique that is commonly used with doorway (or gateway) pages. Basically, an unethical Web developer creates a doorway page that has no usable content but creates links in the page that redirect the human user, the surfer, to another page automatically.
URL/URI redirect can be used ethically and legitimately. For instance, if you build subdomains within your primary domain, you can set these up as either Add-On or Parked domains. The subdomains are located in separately named folders within your Web host file manager:
A Parked domain is an alias domain name that points back to your primary domain. An Add-On domain, however, is treated as a separate domain. Therefore, you don’t want the URI/URL to include the primary domain.
- The Parked domain URI www.[mydomain].com/[subdomainname] redirects to www.[mydomain].com
- Note: The content in the Parked domain is different but integrally related to the content in the primary domain.
- The Add-On domain URI www.[mydomain].com/[subdomainname] redirects to www.[subdomainname].com
- Note: The content in the Add-On domain is distinctly separate from the content of the primary domain.
A 301 redirect is a permanent URI redirection. This redirects the Web surfer from expired or superseded content to another page within the domain that contains current content.
Why use a 301 redirect? Many site visitors bookmark pages on your Website so that they can quickly return to them. If the content on a bookmarked page is completely out of date—that is, the subject discussed no longer exists—you may remove the content but wish to redirect your visitors to another page on your site.