Risky Tactics That Lure Search Bots Into Your Site

    May 18, 2004

If you’ve got one or a few pages in Yahoo’s index but are having trouble getting more pages indexed one thing that might work is putting links to your deeper, unindexed pages high in the code of the pages that are indexed.

Discuss risky SEO techniques in WebProWorld.

Walking on Ice: Dangerous SEO Tatics...
Walking on Ice: Dangerous SEO Tatics…

EGOL in an SEOChat forum discussion said, “I am getting new pages in the index by making them one of the first links on one of my already indexed pages.”

He goes on to say that he’s not putting links to hundreds of pages up there – just the ones he considers the most important at the time. And he’s doing this only in similarly-themed sites so that the links don’t seem out of place.

“I have rotated them in and out of my top-of-page navigtation – and I don’t think that it stunk up my design or content – these are all similar-theme sites.”

The rotation allows him to get more than a few pages crawled from the already existing page.

Another poster in the thread suggested that those concerned with hiding these links to maintain the sites current layout could try hiding your links in a noscript tag.

Scott Harris, our head designer, suggested a more efficient, and definitely risky, method of hiding your links using CSS. Don’t try this on your main site – you could kill your business. If you’re going to use high risk techniques try them on a test site to see what happens.

His first example was simply to set the visibility of your links to “hidden.”

Here’s the code as he sent it to me:
Risky Technique

That link would only show up in the html and not on the site itself.

As Yahoo could possibly check links for the phrase “visibility: hidden,” you might want to make an external style sheet and name your tags so that your intentions aren’t evident to the spider.

Your hidden link would appear to the spider this way:
<a href=”http://www.link.com” class=”risky”>Risky Technique</a>

The search engine won’t know that “risky” means:

.risky {
position: absolute;
visibility: hidden;
z-index: -1;

If this technique works in Yahoo it would, in all likelihood, work in Google as well.

While this is probably an ancient high risk concept to some SEOs, I’ve not read much of this technique for hiding links thus far, and therefore don’t know if it’s currently an effective high risk technique or not. If you’re considering using this or any high risk optimization method be sure to test it out on a sandbox site first. And remember – you’re optimizing at your own risk.

If you notice that your competitors have links and text in their source code that doesn’t appear on their site you could look for the .css link (do a ctrl + f and type in “.css”). In that style sheet do a ctrl + f and type in “visibility: hidden” to see what stands for hidden text in their source code. And brush up on your CSS here because there’s probably more ways than that to hide text and links.

This may help you uncover some hard evidence of high-risk techniques you can take to the search engine officiators and get your competitor’s banned.

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