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SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Articles

Managing Search Engine Penalties
We often hear reports of people getting penalized or even banned by Google, Yahoo or search engines. While search engines are indeed a great source of traffic, it will be imprudent for any business to over rely on them. When the search engine suddenly changes the algorithm, your site goes out of sight. Many web site owners underwent the agonizing experience when Google made a major change to their algorithm back in November 2003.

Google, Yahoo and MSN have their own lists of what websites are allowed do and what they should not do. There are several unethical things that people resort to that annoy the search engines and force them into imposing penalties. Let us examine some of them.

Cloaking is an unscrupulous way of submitting one thing to a search engine and then displaying a different version to the end user. Doorway Pages are web pages created exclusively for the purpose of ranking well in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Keyword Stuffing involves the deliberate repeated usage of a word or phrase in a clever attempt to increase a page's relevancy. Invisible Text is a technique whereby webmasters will insert text (which is usually repetitive use of keywords) mostly at the bottom of a page and make the color of the text the same as the background of the page so as not to be noticed by the average Internet user. Tiny Text is a method of hiding and stuffing words by intentionally setting them at a smaller font size. Page Spoofing / Meta Refresh / Redirection is a technique where a page is developed for a particular keyword or keyphrase and then some form of redirection is used so users cannot see the content of the page. Meta Tag Stuffing is a tricky method where webmasters place high traffic keywords in meta tags that are completely unrelated to a web page with the sole aim of generating more traffic. Page Stuffing / Duplicate Pages happens when the same web page is duplicated or slightly modified and then submitted to a search engine. They assume that if the page is successful for a particular keyword phrase, then all of its variations can also dominate search engines top listings. Domain Spamming / Mirror Sites involve having an identical web site at different domains. There may be some rare legitimate needs to have "mirror" sites, but creating mirror sites with the sole intent of increasing search engine traffic is nothing short of spamming.

These are some of the most common reasons why people attract a search engine penalty. There are other reasons also like Hidden Links, Linking to another site, generating pages only for Adsense etc.

Now the question arises what should be the follow-up action when penalized or banned by a search engine. The easier thing is to set up a fresh domain and avoid all the fraudulent tactics you employed earlier to derive some undue advantages. But this option is not without its demerits because quite often people have built a brand name and spent valuable time for developing and marketing their sites.

Please understand that search engines have no foul intention to penalize or ban sites. Their aim is to present the most relevant search results to their users and they do not wish people impeding their sincere attempts.

Try and find out what all unscrupulous things you did to invite the penalty. Once you become aware of the wrongful tactics you employed, try to correct them all. Once you discover the tactic or tactics that were used, you need to remove them. Delete all the doorway pages. If you are hiding text then it must be removed. Avoid linking to bad sites. Study all the violations you have hitherto knowingly or unknowingly made, and take suitable remedial measures. You can go a step further by contacting the search engine, plead your guilt, explain all corrective steps you have since taken and seek pardon. Do not send reminders but wait patiently even if it takes a long time.

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