Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tricky business.  There are loads of tips and tricks written about what to do to score highly in search engines.  It’s also important to take a look at what NOT to do.

Google, the current top dog in search engines, advises:

  • Do Not Use Hidden Text – Sometimes it’s difficult to fit keyword-laden text into the home page.  It might be tempting to add in some really small text that’s the same color as the background.   I’ve had more than one client come up with this very idea for getting a bump in SEO.
    Forget about it.  Google WILL figure out what you’re doing. What happens to you then?  Think excommunication.  I’ve seen it happen to sites.  One day they’re riding high in the search engines and the next day they’re nowhere to be found.
  • Do Not Use Doorway Pages – Doorway pages are made to do well in search engines.  That’s their primary job.  After that some doorway pages act as a portals to other sites.   Still other doorway pages are built just to gain advertising revenue.  They’re just big pages filled with ads.
    While these pages may benefit the website owner, they do very little for the visitor who’s looking for information. And Google is all about providing good information.  As a result, once these sites are discovered their rank goes way down.
  • Don’t Use Duplicate Content – I’ve heard of SEO companies that recommend website publishers get several domain names and put the same content on all of the sites.  Then they make sure all the sites link to each other.  And just like that you’ve got great SEO scores.  Wrong!  Google is on the hunt for websites that that do this and penalizes them.

What’s the lesson here?  There is no free lunch in terms of SEO. Website owners need to provide content relevant to their keywords in order to do well in search engines.  Websites should be updated on a regular basis and the website code (HTML,  JavaScript, etc.) should be error free.  Be sure to use a lot of text as oppossed to images.

Here’s a quote directly from Google:

Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

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