Dubious SEO and UXO practices

The likelihood of you being able to outsmart the PhDs at Google, Bing, Yahoo etc is low. There are various practices that will be penalised by the search engines which will lead to your site disappearing off the results pages. Since getting back on them requires an individual submission to each and every search engine blocking you stating the reasons why you should be ‘reconsidered’, it’s best not to go there.


The objective is to increase the number of words on your pages without them being visible to visitors.

Text cloaking is achieved by hiding the text behind an image or by setting the foreground colour of the extra words to the same colour as the background so visitors don’t see them but the search engine robot does.

However, search engine robots are clever enough to spot cloaking and mark the site down accordingly.

Link farms

Once the Google PageRank algorithm became known, it didn’t take long for some people to set up pages and pages of links for fun and profit.

Search engines soon cottoned on to this and it’s now unwise to actively join link farms. It’s also not a good idea to exchange links with any website that wouldn’t be useful to your visitors: the search engine perspective again.

Doorway or gateway websites

These are small sites with the sole objective of gaining inbound links to your main site.

They are full of keywords to grab the search engines’ attention, but serve little useful purpose to the average visitor.

Usually the search engines will find giveaways in the pages, or the website’s address on the internet, or who owns the domain name etc and then make the connection to the main website.

Should you want to segment your market with separate micro-websites, then ensure that the content is both different and useful. We have seen very effective use of this for single product or service within a business.

Duplicate websites

Some people have tried to completely duplicate their websites, perhaps cross-linking with a view to ‘doubling their chances’, but that’s not the only way sites can get duplicated.

If search engines aren’t keen on duplicate web pages, they certainly don’t like duplicate websites.

However, it’s possible to inadvertently duplicate your website if you have two or more domains for the same website and fail to get the redirections correct.

But there is another problem, because there are people who replicate the content of popular websites – a process called ‘web scraping’ – and then just add advertising (Google AdSense or similar). Obviously the owner of the original website is none too pleased about this and the possible threat of being blacklisted for duplication. The search engines know about this problem and are taking steps to deal with it but you can get caught in the cross-fire. It’s unlikely to happen to a small website, but if it does become a problem you may have to contact one or more search engines to sort it out.

Key word stuffing

This time your judge, jury and executioner are your visitors, though the search engines may eventually find you out too.

Since the search engines analyse words, some people are tempted to get repetitious. For example, this tyre replacement company made their message quite clear:


Web visitors have to have absolute confidence in the organisation from which they are buying. If they see things that they regard as odd, possibly perceived as dodgy, this might cause them to infer that their seller might treat their customers in the same dodgy way.

In this context, the repetition shown above may be off-putting to some visitors. Sowing seeds of doubt like this must be considered a ‘bad thing’.

In addition, there may be a potential SEO problem should the search engine algorithms start analysing word/phrase density within sections of the screen – they might go off the scale with this bit. This means that the current fairly high ranking for this site could be penalised and it will take some time (months) to recover from any penalty.

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