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Search spam is when a webmaster manipulates a webpage to give it an artificial boost in search engine rankings. What qualifies as search spam is up to each individual search engine, so what may be considered spam on Google may be acceptable on Bing and vice versa. Fortunately, all the major search engines provide detailed guidelines describing what webmasters should and should not do.
Generally speaking, hidden text, doorway pages and mirror pages are all considered spam.
Hidden text is content that a webmaster uses in order to get a boost in search engine ranking. The text is not visible to visitors coming to the website, but search engines are able to read it. The simplest way to do this is to make the text the same colour as the background.
Using hidden text may boost your ranking for a brief period of time, but be warned that eventually search engines will detect it and your site will be at risk of being permanently banned from the search engines.
Have you ever been searching the web, and clicked on a link you thought would be useful – and then instead of providing you with the information that you were looking for, that page mere provided a link to another page? Chances are, that was probably a doorway page.
Doorway pages are designed specifically to draw search engine visitors to your website. They are stand alone pages that link to your website and they are generally stuffed with keywords.
These are a bad idea for two reasons. First, they frustrate your potential customers. When people are looking to visit your website, they want an easy, hassle-free experience. Don’t waste their time with a website to a website.
Secondly, many search engines consider this to be spam and you run the risk of getting banned from the search engine.
Unfortunately many SEO firms use doorway sites routinely and they will even report success to the client based on visits to the doorway site rather than the client’s actual website. In other words, if the doorway site gets 1000 visits, but only 20 of those visitors actually click through to the actual website, the SEO company may still tell the client that they got 1000 hits!
If an SEO company tells you that they want to build a doorway site, it might just be time to start looking for a new firm.
There is no doubt that building two websites that mirror each other in content will hurt your SEO efforts. Google, Bing and Yahoo all state very clearly that you should not submit sites with mirrored content. If you ignore this rule, you may very well find yourself banned from these search engines.
In short, spam tactics such as hidden text, doorway pages and mirror sites may seem like a tempting short cut in your efforts to gain ranking in search engines. Sometimes these methods may even work short term. In the long run, however, these tactics are simply not worth the risk.