Should You Be Worried About Being Banned?

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The SEO world is full of speculation, conjecture and educated best guesses. It’s not surprising then, that the average webmaster/site owner can find the whole business of SEO overwhelming and intimidating.

After all, the success of a site can, in most cases, be measured in page views. Not showing up, or even worse, being banned from a major search engine isn’t going to do a lot for your business.

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No Soup For you: Banned from the Search Engines...
No Soup For you: Banned from the Search Engines…

Professional SEO is (or should be) all about the careful testing, measuring, and experimentation of various techniques, routines and practices in an effort to logically infer whatever is possible about the in order to better service their clients. SEO, when done properly, can be an extremely detailed and exhausting endeavor. Even then, in the end, only the search engines know exactly how the search engines work. It is this element of the unknown that webmasters can easily be spooked about.

I get a lot of email from people trying to promote their site and one thing that really stands out is the levels of apprehension people have about being banned from one of the major search engines. You see a lot of talk about what will get you banned in search engines when you visit forums and dig around on the subject. With so much riding on your search engine listing, it’s no wonder people get nervous. However, even though there is a great deal of secrecy and uncertainty about the specifics of things like algorithms, hardly any of these things we don’t know about are going to result in anyone being banned. More often than not, anything you’re apt to be banned for is actually going to be outlined in the about sections of the search engines.

Here are some links you may find helpful:
Google on submitting.
Site not found in Google
Google on SEO
Yahoo on getting listed
Yahoo’s crawler
Yahoo’s SPAM definitions
More Yahoo on SPAM

Clearly some of the things you read on the above linked pages are going to be subjective. Overall however, good judgment and a little common sense will go a long way in your promotion endeavors. If, for example, you have 300 words on an entire page and 290 of them are free download’, you should probably reconsider that page. Don’t try to fool’ search engines with tricks like text/background color similarities (i.e. keywords in black text on black background) either.

Most all search engines frown upon gateway-type pages. That being said, not all gateways are created equally. You can have a page that serves essentially the same purpose of the bad gateway; only give it some meaningful content. Don’t duplicate content, don’t repeat key phrases/keywords nonstop, and don’t make 3,000 of them and you should be fine.

Overall, if you follow the basic guidelines you shouldn’t have to worry about ever being banned from any search engine. As long as you avoid the things like link farms, spammed gateways, duplicated content, sneaky server-side stuff like cloaking (serving search engine spiders a different page than your normal visitors see) you should have little to fear as far as banning goes. If you are considering hiring someone to take care of your SEO, ask to see some examples of what they have done in the past and ask questions about their plans for your site. In order to be banned, you are generally going to have to do one of two things. Either trigger some sort of programmatic threshold (i.e. link farming or spammy gateway pages), or receive a number of complaints from users. Otherwise most people have nothing at all to worry about.

Mike is a manager at iEntry. He has been with iEntry since 2000.

Should You Be Worried About Being Banned?
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