There is one truth about the internet that holds true to all of us and that is ... nobody likes spam. Spam email has burdened most of us with the chore of regularly sorting through it, having to fill out awful captchas, and more recently having to learn to avoid 'so-called' targeted advertising. But spam has taken another less-discussed form in recent years ... SEO spam.
What is SEO spam?
When search engines like Google index website pages for users to find, there are often hundreds of thousands of websites that are indexed for similar content. When we each search for content via a search engine, we expect the search results to return a small choice of quality websites from that index. However, content returned by search engines can often be of little or no value to us when we actually look at it, wasting our valuable time. This is SEO spam ... often referred to as 'index spam' or more descriptively 'search engine spam'.
Google vs SEO marketing
Many SEO companies offer search engine analytics and reports using a range of gathering techniques to influence the value of SEO. And although SEO is not a problem in itself, spamming a search engine index in this manner to influence search engine rankings and position is sadly all too common. There is nothing wrong in businesses wanting to have good search engine rankings, but when SEO links and content are placed on a website in place of quality content or links, Google rightly considers this to be against it's guidelines and ever-weary internet users themselves like them as much as online adverts; not very much.
SEO spam hurts everyone
Although the benefits of spam indexing have largely been curbed by the likes of Google and we at Blue Horizons have always considered such SEO techniques as flogging a dead horse, some small businesses still can't see past the short-term benefits. That said, spam indexing shouldn't be done for all the reasons Google themselves do not condone and new techniques such as Google Bombing are demising search engines and ultimately hurts all our own legitimate searches by encouraging it.
Common SEO spam marketing services to avoid
In addition to spam indexing and Google bombing, another common SEO spam method is using long tail keywords such as location as the target keyword. For example, when someone searches for "Marketing Cheltenham" they have identified 'Marketing' as their target keyword but if a page targets the long tail keyword 'Cheltenham' it undermines the specificity of the search and consequently could cost the best chance of converting the visitor. The reason this kind of tactic is done is simply that search engines can be persuaded to rank a page higher by over-emphasising the long tail keyword in this manner, especially when used in conjunction with emphasising the target keyword enough. The hope is that by having a higher page ranking, more people will visit such a page, but the truth is page conversion is more important and it is wrong for SEO companies to over-sell page visit success in this manner, in place of conversion success; it is taking advantage of the mis-informed.
Good business is good for business
Every business wants to get to the top of Google, and there is no harm in SEO companies helping businesses achieve this, but be warned about the negative effects of SEO spam in the long-term. After-all, Google is going to be around for many years to come and it would be disastrous to have Google move your business to the bottom of their index (or remove it altogether) for the short-term benefit of forcing your website to the top of Google.
With ever-tightening regulations and protection laws, poor quality websites will inevitably find it harder to compete for a place on the internet and rightly so. After-all, the same still applies to business on the high street ... if your business isn't as good as a competitors, you risk your business - plain and simple.
Help keep the internet clean and tidy now, before your business finds it too late.