Transformers of SEO Part 2: The Decepticons

megatronBefore anyone asks the question, the answer is: “Yes, I finally got out to the theater to see Revenge of the Fallen.” About 10 years ago life was much simpler. I could just pick a night, meet some of my friends and head out to the theater to see a movie. Now I am married and have a couple of kids. Getting out to the theater has become a rare event, but I did manage to make time over the weekend to see it with my brother in-law.

Thanks to a couple of comments from Princess Zelda and Dan Schulz on my previous post about Transformers of SEO, I have had some inspiration to write a sequel. My previous post compared a few optimization strategies to the Autobots. This post will contrast some of the current blackhat SEO strategies to the Decepticons. I think this comparison is appropriate because, in the end, blackhat SEO only “deceives” the person using it by making them think that it will bring top rankings and instant wealth.

Cloaking (Megatron):

Megatron is the leader of the Decepticons and one of the most powerful Transformers. Just like Megatron, cloaking can be a powerful blackhat SEO tactic that could result in high search engine rankings. The negative aspect of this tactic is that once a site has been caught cloaking it is removed from the search index and all the top rankings are instantly taken away. Cloaking is done by making a website appear to be something completely different for site visitors than it does for search engine spiders. There are many ways a web developer can go accomplish it, but whatever method is used, the end result is always the same.

Doorway Pages (Devastator):

Several Decepticons combined together to transform into one large robot called Devastator. When combined together they were a powerful and formidable opponent. Doorway pages can be compared to these Decepticons. One doorway page on its own can be an effective tool for driving traffic to a website, but multiple doorway pages can have a “devastating” effect. Doorway pages are single web pages that are set up and optimized for a couple of search terms with the singular goal of sending people from that page to a main website. Creating several doorway pages targeting multiple search terms can eventually help a webmaster rank well for all their targeted search terms. Doorway pages are just another way of tricking or deceiving the search engines. The goal of search engines is to provide the searcher with the most relevant websites to their search query. They want those websites to be what is displayed in the search results and not a page that directs a visitor to another site. Once doorway pages are discovered, they will be removed from the search index and all the work of creating them will be for nothing.

Keyword Stuffing (Starscream):

Starscream is the sidekick to Megatron but always seems to be more like a thorn in Megatron’s side. He was useful when he assisted the Decepticons in battle but was usually more of a hindrance then a help to Megatron because he was constantly plotting to overthrow him and take over as leader. I think keyword stuffing is much like Starscream. Many webmasters stuff webpage elements like titles tags, alt attributes and headers, full of keywords to either target many different search terms or inflate keyword density. While this strategy may have worked in the past, today it only results in reducing the weight of the elements that have been stuffed. So instead of possibly ranking well for a few targeted search terms, the site will struggle to rank for any search terms at all. Keyword stuffing is a strategy of the past that is dead and gone. Anyone practicing it today can expect their SEO campaign to also be dead and gone.

Don’t be fooled by any of these blackhat strategies, they deceive webmasters into believing they can bring quick rankings and wealth, but in the end it is the ethical SEO techniques that will bring the lasting results.

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1 Comment

  1. Brent Rangen says

    I remember back in 2001 when you could get #1 with a perl script for cloaking. The top rankings were pretty much all adult sites doing cloaking. Things sure have changed since then! I still see quite a bit of keyword stuffing.

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