Spamdexing Tactics, Then and Now

Spamdexing Tactics Still Work?

Google doesnt go into length (for obvious reasons) about Web Spam Tactics, but does identify 5 of them:

  • Hidden text or links.
  • Cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Pages stuffed with irrelevant keywords.
  • Doorway” pages.
  • Link schemes.

Now, although the traditional doorway pages are maybe a thing of the past, (read how BMW got penalized for doorway pages) the tactic is still a viable one (aka webspam 2.0), if combined with other spam friendly tactics.  In fact, as back as 2006, Shari Thurow highlighted different ways to spam Search Engines:

  • Keywords unrelated to site
  • Redirects
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Mirror/duplicate content
  • Tiny Text
  • Doorway pages
  • Link Farms
  • Cloaking
  • Keyword stacking
  • Gibberish
  • Hidden text
  • Domain Spam
  • Hidden links
  • Mini/micro-sites
  • Page Swapping (bait &switch)
  • Typo spam and cyber squatting

A SERP ranking page that combines some of the techniques above, still can act as a “doorway page” or “cookie-cutter” pages as they are referred to as more commonly.

And in my opinion, many lightweight affiliates could be considered “door way spammers”.

Pill Spam

Why? Well a lightweight page that ranks for any query, simply to quickly direct the visitor to a merchant website, or to an adsense click is not really adding value to the page right? Not that I care. As long as I get to where I want to go that’s fine by me. But from a search engines point of view, they want the right page ranking so as to reduce the number of intermediary sources one has to traverse before getting to their end goal.

What Works Now?

So what tactics from the above list still work? Depending on the niche, I have proof of:

  • Keywords unrelated to site
  • Redirecting
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Mirror/duplicate content
  • Tiny Text
  • Link Farms
  • Gibberish
  • Domain Spam
  • Hidden links
  • Mini/micro-sites
  • Typo spam and cyber squatting

That’s 11 out of the original 16 identified above, as far back as 2006! I will add the proviso – it is harder, much harder to get all of these working, but they do, and still can Spam Search Engine Result Pages. I would like to also add that a few more tactics have been added to the inventory since 2006 regretfully (or not, depending on your view…).

Some of the “newer” tactics:

  • Comment Linking
  • Feed aggregation
  • Content Overload
  • Domain Shifting
  • Profile Linking
  • Social Media Automation / Aggragation
  • Profile Hijacking

One of the biggest issues in recent years has been the advent of large scale automation by many, as oposed to it being the remit of the few intelligent ones. More and more people are learning the benefit of automating spam, which makes battling it a bit harder. If you havent read it yet, you may want to wander into my SEO Automation post...

About Rishil

If you can see this, you are reading too much into it. Stop it.
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4 Responses to Spamdexing Tactics, Then and Now

  1. Ingo Bousa says:

    Hi Rishi,

    We all know that certain ‘dark’ tactics still work but that doesn’t mean that it’s a great idea to use them. Using spammy techiques is always a short term strategy and whatever you do online, mostly stays online. If you call youself an SEO and work for big companies and don’t have a solid long-term strategy you are playing with your client’s authority and future rankings. The best strategy is to make sites as great as possible, content and optimisation-wise, and then put an ongoing linkbuilding strategy in place that secures links given because landing pages or syndicated content are top notch. Everybody can set up a cheap site, spam the hell out of it and maybe dominate a vertical or niche for a month. But search engines are getting more clever by the minute and just because Google hasn’t come down hard on certain spam techniques [article spinning and content/link networks] that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a clue. It just means that it’s a bit further down the list. They can now realize whole Algo changes in just a couple of days and if I can detect spam just by looking at a page, they surely can scale that up. I was working as Google quality rater in 2005 and even back then we flagged up manualy nearly all of the mentioned spam techniques for certain sets of queries and relevant result pages. And as always.. there is ‘cheeky stuff’ that I would call ‘fair enough’ and there’s mindless spam that most possibly will kick you and your client in your bottoms sooner or later.

    I’m not advocating to always blindly follow what Google demands. My main responsibility is my client and a solid long term success strategy.

    Well.. that’s just my 2 pennies ; )

  2. MOGmartin says:

    @ingo

    The problem that you are always going to run into is that someone, somewhere will be willing to be more aggressive and take things to the next level in your industry, irrespective of whether they are a big brand or not.

    So if you work as an in house SEO for a big brand (and I do), are you willing to settle for #4 or #5 for key terms and let the spammers take the lions share of the traffic, or are you going to get your hands dirty and go for #1?

  3. Ingo Bousa says:

    @MOGmartin

    That is the problem: By ranking spammy competitor sites above your ‘non-spammy’ site Google actually forces you to deploy shady stuff to catch up with the competition. But with doing that you might compromise your long term authority. Difficult decisions, I know ..but there are a lot of non-spam tactics to gain scalable quality links. You just need great ideas & a lot of great content ; )

  4. Ingo Bousa says:

    ps: You can always file a spam report as long as your own site is completely clean. #lastresort

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