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SEO Guidelines

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) guidelines are the rules used by major search engines like GOOGLE, Yahoo!, and MSN / Bing, etc. to judge where to place a website in their search results. Though it may be hard to believe to some, having your website included in the Google index is a privilege, and not a right. These are just some Search Engine Optimization guidelines that can impact which web sites are included and those excluded from search results.

Content is king, so make sure you write your pages for people and not for search engines. Though it seems obvious, we have all browsed web pages with completely irrelevant content, written to deceive search engines for top placement. Once discovered (and they will be discovered), these offending web sites can be penilized.

Standard SEO guidelines also prohibit offering different content to search engines than to the visitors. This Black Hat technique is called “cloaking”, it is severely frowned upon and should be avoided. Instead, focus on providing the useful content that your visitors are seeking.

You may find all sorts of articles and tutorials on how to “cheat” search engines, some may get you a higher placement or increase traffic, but at the end of the day you are “cheating” and will end up paying the price. It’s imperative to be aware that once banned from Google your site will not appear in GOOGLE results or partner sites.

Most Common Violations of SEO Guidelines:

Some common search engine optimization methods to avoid when attempting to SEO your website. These are unethical techniques that may lead to having your web sites removed from the Google index, or worse. be weary of any SEO company or consultant that will recommend any of the following techniques in order to improve your search engine friendliness.

Hidden Text

This fairly common technique is used to add excessive keyword rich text to web pages, by either making it completely invisible or hidden to the user. There are various ways to achieve this; some as simple as setting the same color to the text as the background. The idea behind this technique is that the search engines will read the text in the code and give the page more importance because of it, while maintaining a more “user friendly” look on the page. This method is often used as a shortcut to avoid redesigning a website, but, search engines are becoming increasingly capable of detecting this sort of disguise and will penalize you for it.

Keyword Stuffing

Similar to hidden text, keyword stuffing attempts to increase the frequency of keywords and phrases by inserting it in any place that it can go. Most commonly found in the ALT tags of images. Search Engines look for proper use of code, and such tags should be used only for their proper purposes; the alt tag is meant to be used as a text description of the image, and to improve making the browsing experience of users.

This technique is sometimes used with the the no-script tag. The purpose of this tag is supposed to be used to show a version of the content that would normally be seen via javascript when a browser has javascript turned off.

Duplicating/ Copying Content

Once a website is complete, it’s fairly simple to purchase another domain name and duplicate the content onto the new domain. Sometimes this is done with completely different addresses and sometimes with different suffixes of the same domain – so you may have mysite.com,mysite.ca, mysite.net etc. The concept behind this harmful technique is to have multiple sites dominate the search results, making little to no room for competition

The fact is that by now search engines have become fully aware of this and will automatically remove the duplicate pages from the index, at times they may exile the original source, if it appears to have been an intentional attempt to cheat.

But the most common use of duplicate content remains stealing someone else’s. This unethical method involves checking the ranking of high ranking site and literally copy pasting their content, meta data, keywords etc. This practice is not only unethical and severely frowned upon by search engines it’s also a direct violation of copyright laws and can easily escalate to a legal matter

Link Farming

SEO guidelines make a point to ban link farms that provide multiple links to a site in order to raise the page rank. Eventually the offending site will be penalized for breaking this sacred SEO guideline. Avoid links to and from known spammers, and don’t use any web sites or applications that will automatically submit pages to search engines.

Our SEO Consultants are dedicated to ethical SEO practices, and do not employ any of the above mentioned techniques. There is no magic shortcut to search engine optimization, it’s a matter of proper research and following guidelines.

If you suspect that your current SEO strategy is in violation of standard SEO guidelines, correct it immediately.