Please note this article was first published in 22 Apr 2010. Its content may now be out of date. We recommend taking a look at more recent website building blog posts or check out our comprehensive support pages. If you are looking for information on our 14 day free website builder trial we have a large number of webpages that guide you throug the process.
Since the launch of the first search engines, website owners have looked for ways to boost their position in the listings.
The early search engines used relatively crude indicators to calculate where a website was placed. As the popularity of search engines increased webmasters realised that to attract the most visitors you had to gain a high position in the search listings. Site owners began to work out by trial and error how search engines determined the position of any given site. They used this knowledge to modify their websites and “search engine optimisation” (SEO) was born.
Search engine operators soon realised their systems were being manipulated. To fight back they began modifying the complex calculations (algorithms) used. Each time they made changes site owners would work out the new formula and change their website accordingly. As a result search criteria constantly changes to prevent what they deem to be abuse of their systems. It is the secrecy surrounding these changes that has given birth to an industry based upon hearsay and misinformation.
There are still backdoors that allow webmasters and SEO consultants to abuse the system. These backdoors are well recognised by the all the search engines. The techniques used are known as “Black hat SEO”. Many webmasters use these techniques unknowingly, or are misadvised by SEO consultants who use these methods to artificially enhance a client’s website position.
One of the few guarantees in SEO is that if you use blackhat methods you will get caught. The penalty can range from a relatively minor drop in the listings to an outright ban. Either way any penalty is very difficult to remove can have a lasting effect on your sites ratings.
Many of the methods that are now considered to be blackhat were once legitimately used to optimise websites. It has only been the abuse of these methods that has caused their use to be frowned upon. To ensure that your site doesn’t get unnecessarily penalised it’s important to understand what techniques are deemed as bad.
Although not exhaustive this guide explains the most common mistakes made by webmasters.
Any SEO consultant that “guarantees” you a high rank in the search engines will almost certainly be using black hat techniques. Some companies use these techniques to inflate a sites placing for the period of their contract. This demonstrates to their client that their fees are justified. The effects of these methods are generally short term and could result in the site being penalised or banned completely.
Please remember, this article was first published 22/04/2010. The content may be out of date and you cannot post comments any more. Please check out our new blog.
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