In the high stakes world of search engine optimization (SEO), there are 3 Black Hat SEO techniques jewelers should avoid.
Black Hat SEO is a term used to describe the aggressive techniques and tactics that focus solely only on influencing Google search spiders.
Often Black Hat SEO techniques are used by those who are looking for a quick financial return on their web site through high rankings, rather than long-term growth and stability.
The goal of this article is not to turn jewelers into SEO experts, rather it is to highlight three major techniques that will eventually cause your site to loose rankings on search engine result pages (SERP), or get your site banned altogether.
Three Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid
– Hidden content / Hidden text.
The basis behind hiding content on your web site is to fill a page with keywords that search engine spiders will recognize but are not visible to human readers.
One way to do this is to make the font color of the words the same as the background color, thus you cannot see it, but the spiders can read it.
Another avenue is in the use of comment tags.
In general comment tags look like this: <!-Comment Tag->. Web site developers use these comment tags as simple reminders explaining what the section of code does in the program.
This same piece of code could also be used to stuff keywords, as in this example: <!-Start of the Main Content, Lowest diamond prices, Rock bottom diamond prices, Highest price paid for gold,->.
This type of stuffing can also be done with no script tags, <noscript> and no frames, <noframes>.
Other common tricks include hiding keyword text behind an image, using Cascading Sheet Style (CSS) to hide text, and setting the font size to zero.
– Link Farms.
As in life, you are judged by the people you surround yourself with.
In the virtual world it is the same thing.
Quality links to your site are important to relevancy, popularity, and thus the overall ranking of your site.
A link farm increases the number of sites that link to yours while linking your site to other sites.
This exchanging of reciprocal links with sites in order to increase search engine optimization is referred to as link farming.
Short term it does work, and work well.
The problem lies in that eventually Google takes a look at the quality of the links to your site and judges the relevancy of that link.
An example would be if your jewelry site had several links from the local massage parlor.
Yes, short term you move up the rankings, but Google’s algorithms eventually determine that it is not natural for the local massage parlor to be interested enough in a jewelry store to link to it.
When that happens you move down the rankings or if it is judged excessive you might get banned.
If you got hit by Google’s April 24th 2012 Penguin sweep take a look at your linking strategy.
– Doorway / Gateway Pages.
They are also known as bridge pages, portal pages, jump pages, gateway pages, entry pages, and by other names.
When you see a site that you want to enter, you click on the site listing which sends you to the site’s landing page.
The doorway technique redirects you, in most cases, with a Meta refresh command to another page.
Some redirects, called cloaking, send the search engine spiders to one page while the humans go to another, often without the humans even knowing it.
The spiders go to a page that is stuffed with keywords simply for influencing the site’s ranking.
Content Rich Doorways, another Black Hat SEO tactic, were developed to achieve top search result placement without using redirection.
They use a minimum amount of design and navigation similar to the rest of the site to provide a more human friendly, natural appearance; however overly stuffed with keywords.
Visitors are offered standard links as calls to action.
The problem for jewelers is that some legitimate off-the-shelf SEO software encourages the use of doorway pages as do many “weekend warrior” SEO companies.
While there are many ways to do these gateway pages today, Google is finding them and slamming the doors shut, often with devastating results.
There will always be those who are trying to get to the top any way they can, and by any means.
These short term strategies work for a season but ultimately come crashing down on their heads with dire consequences.
We understand how difficult it is for jewelers not well versed in the latest, safe, approved methods of SEO to make good decisions.
The web is filled with Black Hat and Grey Hat SEO people who promise the world, and do deliver for a time.
Remember that “Content is King” because your visitors will embrace it and link to it naturally if it is well written and engaging.
Be sure to avoid these three Black Hat SEO techniques and you will have greater long term success.
Start Getting Results From Your Online Marketing Today!
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