Monday, December 22, 2008

SEO: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Search engine optimization is something that all companies consider – how to get to the spot on top of that first page. Part of what determines the ethics of an SEO technique is whether you are trying to gain a ranking that you deserve, and part of it is the tactics that you use. There are many many tactics out there – of varying shades of ethical violations. Beanstalk Inc. has offered up a list of best, worst, and shady SEO practices.

White hat: Internal linking, reciprocal linking, content creation, writing for others, and site optimization

This is a list of what are considered industry best practices. Typically, a Site must grow organically to an extent before it can reach the top of the list. This is how ethical competitors approach SEO. These are the best and most highly regarded methods of enhancing your Web Site ranking.

Gray hat: Cloaking, paid links, and duplicate content

Don’t do it. iProspect offers, “Just as participating in unethical sales, marketing and advertising practices offline can result in negative publicity, sanctions by trade organizations, or actions by government/law enforcement authorities — unethical online tactics (particularly search engine optimization) can significantly damage your online brand.”

Black hat: Keyword stuffing, hidden text, cloaking, doorway pages, redirects, duplicate sites, and interlinking

Absolutely no way. Utilizing any of these tactics will mean that you will be awarded with penalizations or a ban on your Site. If you encounter a competitor that uses these tactics, they should be reported. Furthermore, in the long run, any website that utilizes any of these techniques based on bogus content, will have a short life at the top.

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