The Game of High Search Engine Ranking
Some tricks might get you banned.
How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow
morning to find your top 10 search engine ranking gone? If you’ve
been relying on trickery to improve your placement, experts agree
that it’s only a matter of time before it all catches up with you.
And depending on what you’ve been up to, you could find your website
Who wants to face renaming their company, registering
a new domain name, getting new web hosting, fixing the offended
website, and waiting 1–12 weeks to get back into the search
There are definite things you can do to help improve
your search engine ranking – we know that search engines
seem to like certain things – but that recipe, as it were,
changes, and often. What gives you a high search engine ranking
today may not factor so importantly tomorrow, or next month, it
may not be important at all. And what works for Google, may have
little effect on Alta Vista.
How does search engine ranking work?
A search engine’s robot visits your site, reviewing your content,
including links to and from your site, and even scrutinizing the
way your site has been constructed. Next, your site is run through
a set of algorithms (rules to calculate your ranking) and compared
with other sites with similar keywords and content, and then a ranking
These algorithms are well guarded secrets; otherwise,
who would want to use a search engine with fixed results?
So, the formula is (a) kept secret and (b) changed
often – keeping everyone on their toes.
Here are some past and present tricks to avoid.
These are generic pages that are optimized for a specific keyword,
contain little valuable information, whose sole purpose is to direct
traffic to a site.
For instance, you’re looking for “golf
clubs” and you click one of
the search engine’s results. You’re now looking at a page that says
"Golf Clubs" at the top, followed by perhaps a couple
of paragraphs of non-sensical text, and then, a bunch of links for
blonde women with big — well, you get the idea.
There are several software packages available that
will generate doorway pages, essentially flooding the web with thousands
of bogus pages. They get indexed and ranked, then eventually discovered
Once the search engine algorithms change, those
thousands of doorway pages need to be tossed out and redone with
new parameters. And if the offending domain names have been penalized,
you’ll be registering a bunch of new ones and arranging their hosting.
Registering ten domain names and uploading identical content to
those sites will not improve your ranking. In fact, many search
engines, like Google, will only index the content from one site
and drop the others from the index altogether.
Invisible text and one-pixel gifs
In an effort to hide links or text from the human eye, some web
designers try disguising text by making it the same colour as a
page’s background. The text is still indexed by a search engine,
but it isn’t seen by humans. It’s a trick that used to yield some
results, but doesn’t any more.
Similarly, hiding one-pixel, transparent gifs on
a page and creating links with those images will also get you into
Over-using keywords on a page is called stuffing, and it can hurt
you in the long run. Yes, writing content that’s rich in your chosen
keywords is important, but overdoing it will not necessarily bring
better results. Read your content out loud. If it sounds inane,
you’re probably stuffing.
Keyword META tag abuse
This tag is pretty much dead amongst the major players. I’d still
prepare them because you never know when things may change, or what
new directories will pop up. Don’t repeat a keyword more than three
times in the META tag, and each page of your site needs a separate
set of META tags. Make sure that keywords appearing in the tag also
appear in the page’s written content.
When researching how to get a high search engine ranking, you no
doubt have stumbled across “link
popularity,” that is: how
many sites link to yours and where are your outbound links going.
In an effort to boost rates, link farms (sites consisting of nothing
but links) have developed all kinds of schemes to artificially increase
your site’s link popularity.
But search engines don’t like them and often disregard
Try and get good and relevant sites linking to yours,
sites that have something in common with your subject matter. If
Google sees a web design site linking to another one about design,
it takes notice; but if Google sees a web designer linked to an
auto body shop site, it notices, but it’s not overly excited about
it. Search engines are looking for quality and quantity.
More is not always better
Whenever someone thinks they’ve found a loophole that improves
a search engine ranking, suddenly the web’s on fire. If 10 META
keywords are good, 100 is better; if 10 links are good, 50 are fantastic.
We see it time and again: someone says, “Google
really likes a good title.”
Suddenly, all websites have 16-word titles.
really like domain names jammed with keywords separated by hyphens,”
– and the next thing you know you’re finding domain names
crammed 10 keywords and hyphens. “No,
not hyphens, underscores,”
someone else claims.
If people spent as much time creating good content
for their websites as they did trying to come up with ways to trick
the search engines, they'd probably be surprised at the results.
I'm sorry if you don't want to hear it, but there
are no “sure-things”
or guaranteed top search engine placement techniques. There are
no tricks or secrets. There's no quick recipe for a top 10 ranking.
The only sure thing about search
engine placement is that it’s
a lot of hard work – and good content gets good results. We