Unethical SEO, Reporting Cheaters

Today’s topic is about people who don’t follow the “rules” of SEO. Perhaps you yourself have violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and are wondering if and when you’ll pay a price. Maybe you’ve done something that the search engines consider unethical but aren’t even aware of it. It can be infuriating to carefully follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines only to discover that your main competitor, whose site outranks yours for several key terms on Google, is up to all sorts of shenanigans. What should you do? Follow suit? Do something even more outrageous and risk a penalty to your site? Keep following the rules and report them to Google?

There are lots of ways people use to try to artificially improve their search engine rankings. Google specifically mentions the following (this is not a complete list):

–    Hidden text

–    Purchased links

–    Cloaking and Doorway Pages

–    Keyword stuffing

If your website’s traffic from the search engines has been dropping lately, the first thing to do is to undertake an honest, careful self-examination to determine if your site has violated any webmaster best practices. If that’s not the case, then take a look at which sites are coming out at the top and evaluate whether they might be engaging in unethical SEO. If they are, you can report them to Google at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport.


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