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Risky SEO Techniques With Non-Spam Intent

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There are high risk techniques that, when employed without the intention of gaming search results, provide solutions for some difficult-to-rank pages. Alan Webb, of ABAKUS Internet Marketing, writes that, “there is unlikely to ever be a full consensus on what is or is not an acceptable search engine optimization technique. What you need to do is simply to ask yourself, am I trying to dupe Google here?”

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Webb recently posted on the SEORoundTable several methods that are at the limits of search engine acceptibility. If you use any of these techniques and your intention is to help your visitors rather than raise your rankings unnaturally the chances are better that you won’t receive penalty.

Webb claims that he’s cloaked as well as manipulated html tags with CSS, done javascript redirection, and created pages with identical text (among a handful of other tactics) without fear of retribution.

“I have used most of the above on MY OWN website and do not fear penalization. Why am I not worried I might be penalized by Google? The reason is because my content is exactly the same for a human visitor as it would be for a search engine spider and no attempt to dupe Google through hidden content or redirection takes place.”

Now what if you want to let a search engine know that a particular header is important by using one of your H1-H3 tags but the size just doesn’t fit with the page you’re designing? If you’d like to have the ranking bonus that’s said to accompany the H tags and a clean looking design then you can use CSS.

“With css you can make it fit your site’s look and feel and resize it, colour it, underline it etc. What you most definitely do not want to do is make it invisible, use it where you wouldn’t normally use a heading or make it tiny for example.”

If you’re looking for a non-programming means of getting your dynamic content indexed Webb also suggests creating static printer-version pages. Since your content wasn’t showing up anyway, these pages won’t cause you a duplicate content penalty. And, as Webb says, “it goes without saying that the content should be the same as the dynamic page.”

Text link navigation in the footer is a great workaround for imagemap or java navagation bars, which “for the most part” the spiders might not be able to follow. This also reveals your internal pages to the spiders and makes your pages more navigable, especially if they’re long pages. Be sure you use optimized anchor text for your links.

JavaScript redirection, traditionally a SEO no-no, can help visitors who search their way to a framed page without its frameset. This is clearly an example where a redirect would benefit the user. He gives the following code as an example of how to redirect:

<SCRIPT language=Javascript>

<!–

if(top.frames.length <= 0)

top.location = "http://www.your-frameset-page.com";

//-->

</SCRIPT>

However, says Webb, “the above is the quick and dirty way to do it. Of course the best solution is to drop framesets altogether.”

His post includes suggestions on how to work around session ids, shorten dynamic urls, php/asp url rewriting and more. Be sure to read his examples closely, as well as the situations where these techniques are the most applicable and least risky.

And remember – even these less risky techniques could potentially harm your site’s rankings in Google. Consider testing these ideas on a practice domain before using them on your business site.

As Webb says, “if you are unsure if what you are doing is over the top or not, the likelihood is it is. Always err on the side of caution but also don’t be afraid to use the tips above in moderation. Common sense is really is really the best way to evaluate whether or not you are abusing or helping a search engine.”

Thanks to Alan Webb and ABAKUS Internet Marketing for help on this article.

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.

Risky SEO Techniques With Non-Spam Intent
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