Bad SEO Habits

4 January, 2006 (18:06) | SEM-SEO | By: Michael

Occasionally, I will highlight company’s web sites that are doing things well, but usually it is a lot more fun to highlight a corporation that is doing things wrong. Wrong might be right sometimes, but here is what Google calls a bad idea:

  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Don’t employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Don’t send automated queries to Google.
  • Don’t load pages with irrelevant words.
  • Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

The thing to keep in mind is that there are some really really competitive areas of search on the internet. Generally, that competition only gets fiercer the more money is involved. For this reason, Banking and finance terms like “second mortgage” are extremely costly keywords averaging between five and seven dollars on Yahoo Search Marketing. With acquisition costs that high you had better spend some money on organic optimization.

Well, Ditech.com did spend some time and perhaps money. The problem is they came up with a search engine no no in the process. If you did a Google search for home equity loan they are the 3rd result and 2nd company. Great Right? Well, not really, because they are engaging in some questionable optimization practices. If you disable JavaScript (I prefer to use the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox) in your browser suddenly you will see a paragraph of text that is not visible when you normally visit the page.

Home Loans – Home Equity Loans

Home Equity Loans

Home Loans: ditech.com is known as being a leader in the direct home equity loans industry.

If you are looking for home loans Ditech can help you. We specialize in home equity loans.

Ditech makes home equity loans quick and easy to understand. You won’t get any surprises with our home loans.

Well, how about that? They managed to mention the phrases “home equity loans” five times and “home loans” four times all without the casual web site visitor being able to see this sad excuse for copy. Not to mention, there is an H1 tag and H2 tag a link back to Ditech with the anchor text “home equity loans”. I guarantee that this was done by an SEO. Unfortunately, for Ditech and their SEO they are doing things wrong and eventually they will get axed because of it. (Most likely they will get deranked for a while till they fix what is wrong.) Or maybe nothing will happen and they will continue to enjoy high rankings with less than desirable tactics.

Certainly, things like click fraud are a big concern to companies, but unethical SEO tactics are just as bad as the spam that floods our email inboxes. If nothing happens eventually the credibility of the organic results will erode.

SEO, Blackhat SEO, Search Engine Optimization, home equity loans

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Comments

Comment from Joel
Time January 4, 2006 at 9:53 pm

I see you managed to include “SEO” twice, “Search Engine Optimization” and “Home Equity Loans” in your technorati tags. Very organic.

Comment from mymo
Time January 4, 2006 at 9:58 pm

Ahh yes, but the technorati tags are at least visible without doing browser backflips. :)

Pingback from Blackhat SEO: Who Else is thinking about this?: Mymotech
Time January 6, 2006 at 12:20 am

[...] Turns out I am not the only one thinking about unethical SEO. On the same day as my post about Bad SEO habits, there were some other notable posts around the internet. [...]

Comment from chris
Time February 23, 2006 at 6:56 pm

Please explain this comment, “If nothing happens eventually the credibility of the organic results will erode.”

While I’m not for “spam” results in natural search please explain how this result, which is 100% relevant to the search term, in anyway hurts the user experience?

Pingback from Bad SEO Tactics: Unethical or just Unwise?: Mymotech – Analytics, SEO, and stuff
Time March 1, 2006 at 6:16 pm

[...] When I wrote about Ditech using NOSCRIPT tags to put SEO’d content on their pages I used the word unethical a few times. In retrospect, unethical is probably not the best word for it. What a company decides to put on their webpages is not a matter of ethics unless it is breaking some law or something. Obviously, there is a little more water in that well, but I don’t want to get into it. Now, unwise or dumb may be a suitable moniker for what is happening on Ditech.com. [...]

Comment from mymo
Time March 1, 2006 at 6:21 pm

Jason,
Please see my post about this matter here.

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