Chapter 8. Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

In This Chapter

  • Examining the principles of tricking search engines

  • Exploring the basic techniques

  • Doorway pages, redirects, cloaking, and more

  • Understanding how you may be penalized

Everyone wants to fool the search engines — and the search engines know it. That's why search engine optimization is such a strange business — a hybrid of technology and, oh, I dunno ... industrial espionage, perhaps? Search engines don't want you to know exactly how they rank pages because if you did, you would know exactly how to trick them into giving you top positions.

Now for a bit of history. When this whole search engine business started out, search engines just wanted people to follow some basic guidelines —make the Web site readable, provide a <TITLE> tag, provide a few keywords related to the page's subject matter, and so on — and then the search engines would take it from there.

What happened, though, is that Web sites started jostling for position. For example, although the KEYWORDS meta tag seemed like a great idea, so many people misused it (by repeating words and using words that weren't related to the subject matter) that it eventually became irrelevant to search engines. Eventually, the major search engines stopped giving much weight to the tag or just ignored it.

Search engines try to hide their methods as much as they can, but it sometimes becomes apparent what the search engines want, and at that point, people start trying to give it to them in a manner ...

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