Web Spamming and Linking to Bad Neighborhoods
Are you making these Deadly SEO Mistakes?
So you want to exchange links with other web sites in order to get higher search engine rankings?
So you want to create hundreds of auto-generated, keyword rich pages for your site?
Before you go and link to every website that is willing to exchange links, it would be a good idea to know where not to link to. Sometimes it can mean not linking to your own sites.
Firstly, lets take a look at the Google webmaster guidelines page which states:
Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
I know that Google is not responsible for all search engine traffic, but it is a good guide to follow because other engines seem to be following along the same lines.
So what is a web spammer?
A web spammer is someone who creates hundreds or thousands of keyword rich pages in order to create the illusion of a themed site with related pages. These sites can be composed of sneaky redirect pages, doorway pages, gateway pages and now the latest craze seems to be auto generated directories. SEO circles call these types of pages "search engine clutter".
The Professional Web Spammer
The aware, professional web spammer places the search engine clutter on a secondary domain and looks for link partners. If you exchange links with these webmasters, you will be at risk of getting a penalty if one of those sites gets banned.
These sites are created on disposable (secondary) domains and they all link or redirect to a main selling website which does not link back to the spam pages. Usually, all the secondary domains link to each other too.
This professional knows all about not using the standard web page templates that come with the auto directory generation software. This webmaster is clever enough to realize that common templates will be easy to detect by search engines which means that the web spam site will get banned very quickly. This webmaster will rebuild the pages from scratch which is usually a good way to avoid detection.
The Amateur Web Spammer
The amateur web spammer, hungry for high search engine rankings will purchase software which creates search engine clutter and make the mistake of not creating a disposable domain to serve these new pages and they will use the basic easily detected templates to generate the web site.
They upload these pages to their main site and link to them. The problem with this is that if a search engine perceives these auto-generated pages as spam, it will penalize, the site that links to them as well as remove the clutter from the index.
Sometimes these sites do not get detected straight away which means that they could have a decent amount of Page Rank, but is it worth taking that chance? Your biggest challenge will be to develop the ability to detect these types of pages with the naked eye.
One Linking Myth Exploded
Please understand that you will not receive a penalty if web spam or a bad neighborhood links to your site. It is the other way around. It is only if you link to web spam or a bad neighborhood that you risk getting penalized.
There is much misunderstanding regarding this issue. Look at it from a logical point of view. If this were true that you would get a penalty, all you would have to do to eliminate all your competition would be to create some web spam and link to your competitors. So it is plain to realize that you cannot get a penalty if web spam links to you. It's the other way around.
So what is a bad neighborhood?
I do not know how exactly to define a bad neighborhood because a bad neighborhood is not a bad neighborhood until it gets defined as such by a search engine. Examples include Free For All Links pages (FFA s), Link Farms and useless directories designed to do nothing more than create the illusion of a themed web site.
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