SEO Spam Companies - Worth Supporting?

by : Danny Wirken

SEO Spam is anything that constitutes unethical practice within search engine optimization. This includes the manipulation of spiders and redirection of users to inappropriate contents. SEO companies work towards the attainment of high search engine ranking but are all their activities worth supporting?

What goes on behind SEO Companies?

Only a small percentage of businesses outsource SEO to specialized SEO companies. This fact can be attributed to either ignorance of the existence of such companies engaged in search engine optimization or because the company believes it has the available skills within the organization. The problem with using in-house experts is that they may not know enough to be effective. The search engine industry has ceased to be easily understandable due to the extreme complexity and high degree of competitiveness involved.

Mistakes can be very costly to a site. A site can end up being dropped from search engines or worse, be permanently banned. This costs money in terms of lost sales. Availing the services of a professional SEO company may provide better results although the company may have to contend with a recurring expense as site optimization is definitely not a one time deal. A site should be optimized every time it undergoes significant changes. The wisdom on whether SEO outsourcing is right for a company can be gleaned from the rate of conversion of visitors to paying customers. Once a site is a sales getter, there is money that can be spent to pay for traffic.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the marketing technique of enhancing a website and its content in order to increase the chances of achieving a high rank on search engine results pages (SERP). Search engines have their own criteria and ranking system based on specific algorithms that are continuously updated and revised. These algorithms or the mathematical formulas used in determining which web pages get to be displayed on search results are confidential. This is to prevent webmasters and search engine optimizers from succeeding in achieving higher rankings through manipulation and spamming.

A legitimate optimizer's job is to get that high rank through ways that are considered acceptable in the industry. A Search Engine Optimizer initially gathers all the pertinent information regarding the site to be optimized. This forms the basis of all other activities to be undertaken by an SEO. It can choose to analyze SERPs and backward links to get a clearer idea of a search engine's indexing criteria since no one really knows the exact components of any search engine algorithm.

SEO companies can only make an educated guess about the ranking systems through research, trial and error and sometimes speculation. Its assistance to websites may come in many forms. It can add valuable and relevant content to a site and make continuous updates to the websites. It can facilitate link exchanges that are relevant or complimentary to the business. Building links should be done in a progressive manner, instead of adding 500 links at one time. It can recommend to have a site map included in a site for easy surfing by visitors as well as choose effective Meta Tags such as titles, keywords and description tags which are all relevant to search engines. It should also be able to provide assistance on web design, keyword density and authoritative articles that pertain to the topic of the business.

The SEO Spam

The Internet has made it possible for anyone to learn almost anything. SEO seems to be a by-product of this fact. SEO spam companies appear to look professional and knowledgeable. They can even afford to charge extremely high prices and get away with it as the price seem to add perceived value to their service. What essentially separates legitimate SEOs from the spam is the ethics followed by each SEO company.

Ethics that relate to how an SEO company gets traffic is the core of the difference. Spamming used as a marketing tool is not deemed acceptable to the industry. An offer from an SEO company to the effect that a site will be submitted to a thousand search engine is not at all beneficial to any site. Such an offer is merely meant to impress since there are only a handful of search engines that really matters. An SEO company who is not willing to explain its method of getting traffic usually does not play within the rules.

Exclusion from Google listing at least during this time could be an indication that there is a need to check further the SEO company in question. This is because Google is considered highly trustworthy and as such, sites that are included in the Google data base enjoy an assumption of legitimacy and authority. Of course this is not always true. But at least a starting point has been provided in case there is an actual need to further investigate the actual circumstances of an SEO company.

Practices that are considered SEO spam includes hiding text or links on a page to attract spiders, cloaking to underhandedly redirect users, sending automated queries, cramming pages with unnecessary text, creating near-duplicate pages, sub domains or domains and creating too many "doorway pages" or similar strategies to attract search engines. Keyword stuffing should be avoided. This is the practice of repeating keywords many times in a keyword Meta tag. Likewise, the use of a repetitive title constitutes a form of spamming. The use of popular words that are unrelated to the site is not a good practice either. The use of Meta refresh tags has also been used by spammers to take the user to another web page.

The practice known as page-jacking is done by unethical webmasters who steal a high-ranking page from a high ranking site and waits for the copy to hit the top spot in ranking to upload their own page in its place. This is a form of Internet scam that is often used with another bad practice of creating a page that would prohibit the user from using the browser's back button to return to search engines. In effect, the user is trapped in a site of which he/she has no interest on.

Spamming when caught, results to some penalty to the site. The most common penalty is a lowered ranking while the heaviest penalty is being banned by search engines. SEO spam companies are seen as entities that do not want to do the real work of customized search engine optimization services but would want to take advantage of the revenue generated by being part of the industry. Most often, they employ excessive and automated techniques to get what they want.

Many practices of SEO companies are categorized as spamming although there may be no legal impediment existing for its use. Strategies and techniques are continually being attempted to give webmasters and search engine optimizers' advantage over their competitors. The heats of competition sometimes compel people to go beyond what is standard or accepted. The question as to whether SEO spam companies are worth supporting is best answered by the primary intent underlying such action. Any action that intends to damage another website or company is both unethical and illegal. Anything short of that is subject to the interpretation of its source and its users.