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Monday, November 28, 2005

How to Avoid Falling Victim to Certain SEO Specialists

referencing, also known as indexing or search engine optimization (SEO),(1) is an essential service that ensures an efficient web presence and generates new clientele who use the Internet in their purchase processes. The popularity of referencing is growing continually and with good reason. However, when the time comes to choose a referencing service provider, managers must learn to avoid a number of dangers.


Pertinence – the number one criteria for search engines

Google, Yahoo, MSN and all the other search engines are popular because Internet users are confident that when they perform a search, the results listed will be pertinent . These engines make money by selling placements for ads – clearly identified as such – next to pertinent search results (which are obtained according to criteria unique to each engine). The owners of such search engines have considerable economic interest in continuing to offer pertinent search results to Internet users and to sell ad placements to companies that wish to position themselves on certain specific keywords (known as pay-per-click ). Yet referencing specialists interfere with these economic objectives because they alter a search engine's “natural” selection of pertinent sites (results listed on the left).


Do legitimate referencing professionals exist?

Search engines do not have any close bonds with SEO specialists. They do, however, harbour an unequivocal dislike of so-called SEO specialists who employ illicit tactics to achieve favourable positioning for sites that have absolutely no reason to be ranked in the highly desirable top positions. So how can you differentiate between a legitimate and a corrupt referencing professional? Good SEO specialists – and certain bad ones as well – will help you clinch better web site positioning for specific keywords that describe your company, products and services. In turn, this will greatly boost traffic to your site. Therefore, the only difference between the good and the bad specialists lies in the methods they use to achieve this result. A bad specialist can actually obtain spectacular results for your site for several weeks, only to get your site banned without warning from the search engines soon after. Such scam artists will likely fail to mention that in order to obtain an outstanding positioning, they violated one or several of the conditions that all web sites must respect to avoid being banned for life from the Google index.


Conditions for banning sites from search engines

Many practices are considered illegitimate by the search engines. New illicit techniques emerge everyday and search engine firms must hire thousands of engineers to attempt to counter them. The common feature of these practices is that they attempt to deceive the pertinence of result listings, which is vital to the survival of all search engines. Google offers webmasters a non-exhaustive list of guidelines to avoid being banned from the index:(2)

  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Don't send automated queries to Google.
  • Don't load pages with irrelevant words.
  • Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

A new remedy for controlling the plague of illicit practices

In order to validate the pertinence of a new site that appears on the Internet with many incoming links (a characteristic that tends to boost a site's relevance), it appears that Google is now putting these sites automatically on probation (known as sandboxing or sandbox theory ) for at least two to six months, before granting them authorization to emerge. The objective is to verify whether the high-ranking links are still present several months down the road. If so, then they are probably legitimate and the site will reappear with good positioning. If not, then it was a ploy to sell external links simply to position a fraudulent site. This type of site has a good chance of disappearing completely from search engine results.


In short, it is certainly possible and desirable to ensure that your site meets the requirements and is optimized in accordance with the rules of the various search engines. However, this is a task that necessitates analysis, critical thinking and a precise and continual positioning. Do not place your trust in people who try to sell promises along these lines: “Let us register your site on over 1500 search engines around the globe. Price: $149.95 .” Because if they really do what they say they will, they are using automated queries, a practice banned by Google. Though such techniques may yield short-term results, they can be very harmful to your site over the long term.


1- For more information about indexation and referencing, feel free to consult these articles:


2-Google Information for Webmasters



This article was originally written in French and have been translated by Wendy Wolbert

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