With today’s competition in search engine marketing and optimization, its easy to fall prey to shady practices in an attempt to reach the top of the ladder in search engine results. But, the problem is that search engines like Google always find out about this in due time. And when they do, it’s always bad news for your website and its ranking.
The dirtiest trick and worst offence is probably cloaking – when webmasters make a website look like one thing to the search engines, in order to get traffic, when in actual fact it’s for an entirely different niche. Content is strategically placed in order to draw people in, but is entirely unrelated to the site. Irrelevant content is one of the worst things to have on your website. It serves no purpose for visitors and hinders the overall user experience.
This is when a website displays content to search engines that users don’t see. The most common way of doing this would be to have white text on a white background – making it invisible to the viewer, but not the search engines. Another technique would be to have content that is out of sight, far off of the viewable area of the page.
The use of keywords is crucial, and good SEO practices depend on them. However, to overuse them indiscriminately is a bad idea. Keyword stuffing is basically the practice of using too many keywords and exceeding what would be considered a naturally occurring amount. This is often done in conjunction with hidden content, making it a double whammy in the eyes of search engines.
While you might get away with it for a short period of time, employees working at search engine companies are highly trained at recognizing and detecting sites that use these manipulative SEO practices, and it’s only a matter of time before you get caught. Stay within the search engines’ webmaster guidelines and build your SEO strategy around these rules. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to dig your website out of a really big hole, and this can last for months, perhaps even years.