Search Engine Myths
An impressive amount of misinformation exists about search engines. This section is designed to cut through common myths and deliver the truth behind search engines and their ranking methods.
Made up of meta tags, these pieces of code were once an essential part of Search Engine Optimisation. By using keywords in a website’s meta data, people could improve their search engine ranking for a particular term. Due to people spamming meta tags excessively, search engines have stopped using this method to determine search engine rankings.
In the old days, people filled out forms detailing information about their website. Search engines used this material to rank websites according to relevance. Relying on people to provide information about their website did not yield accurate results. Today, submission forms are hardly used by search engines and do not help websites achieve search engine success.
‘Spamming’ is the process of making web pages and devising strategies that falsely improve a website’s search engine ranking. Search engines do not like spam because people dislike it. To combat spam, search engines work hard to develop effective detection methods. The search engine Google is a leader in spam detection. If caught, spam websites risk losing their search engine ranking completely. We call this punishment ‘black listing’. The information below sheds light on what search engines identify as spam websites.
Stuffing a web page with keywords is a common spamming technique. The spammer will inappropriately over use keywords in a website’s text and code to make it attractive to search engines. Not only is keyword spamming unappealing to people, it also offers limited results. Search engines can easily detect when a website has used too many keywords and offending websites will suffer in the rankings.
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Another popular form of spamming involves acquiring links for the sake of improving a website’s visibility. This method does not use the organic techniques explained previously, but favours paying untrustworthy websites to provide outbound links and boost rankings. Some examples of link spamming are detailed below.
When two websites link to each other to improve their search engine ranking. Search engines can generally spot this strategy and reduce the link’s value.
Websites are built solely for the purpose of linking to other websites and increasing their visibility to search engines. Search engines analyse overlaps in link structures and other factors to expose these networks.
Paying for Links
Occurs when a person pays someone to place a link on their website. This method is less simple to spot, but search engines still spend time detecting offenders and in some cases take action against them.
Multiple websites with the same content or content that is strikingly similar which make a host website appear more popular. This strategy is not officially spamming, but it does come close.
How do Search Engines Punish Spammers?
Website owners who regularly engage in manipulative spamming practices or who severely impact their ranking through spamming may be punished in 2 ways.spy
- Their website’s ranking may decrease dramatically, reducing valuable traffic.
- The offending website may be taken off the search engine’s index completely.