Bombing or Legitimate SEO?
Google Bombing or Legitimate SEO?
Today I visited the WebProWorld forums and stumbled across a topic
"New Google Bombing Technique" and was startled to see
that the topic had been viewed over 22,000 times! It is by far the
most active of the forums in the "Search Engine Insider Reports"
This article is simply my response to that discussion thread and
I hope it helps cool off the heat being generated there.
Google Bombing Discussion
The general gist of the conversation suggests that appending a
question mark ? or a pound sign # followed by a keyword phrase,
to the end of an embedded link in a web site could lead to ranking
a site at the top for that search phrase. An example is given of
top rank for a particular phrase, then immediately forum members
post their own URL's in the discussion replies, using the technique
to link back to their own sites with their own targeted search terms
in an attempt to gain advantage with the technique, many times with
odd or obscure terms.
This "new" so-called "#Google-Bombing" technique
is simply a routine SEO strategy that has been used for years by
pros. When we optimize a site for a client, we include keywords
wherever possible within the visible page text. The top priority
is ALWAYS page text and title tags. From there on, ALL uses of additional
techniques are only incremental in value and don't dramatically
affect ranking for targeted keyword phrases.
I demonstrate the ease of ranking for obscure terms on a page where
I discuss the foolishness of SEO guarantees by including the phrase,
"screeching camels" one time on the page in visible text.
Screeching Camels There are no keyword or description metatags on
that page, yet it ranks number one at Google when you search for
"Screeching Camels". That is not Google bombing. A one-time
use of a keyword phrase on a page got this number one ranking for
that phrase simply because it is an absurdly rare phrase.
Use of irrelevant and misleading keyword phrase stuffing in keyword
metatags, in comment tags <.!-- keyword stuffing --> (leading
period used in examples to allow display without embedding links
in HTML email) and in ridiculous "invisible text" (using
text the same color as the background) got abusive and so the search
engines began to penalize those who did those things. They will
always attempt to ban the obsessive cheaters and keyword stuffing
The ? and # technique has always been used legitimately for ?tracking-referrers,
calling ?search-terms and #jump-links to take you to a named anchor
within a page. Now obsessive
webmasters are attempting to use the technique to increase their
own search engine rankings.
Sometimes when I link OUT to a site, I append ?WebSite101 to the
tail end of the URL simply to let them know where the visitor came
from (referrer) when they view their logs or use
a traffic analysis or tracking service.
The ? technique for tracking traffic is even recommended by Pay-Per-Click
engines which give instructions to advertisers using the technique
to track clickthroughs from PPC ads. Appending "?overture-keyword"
to the end of PPC destination URL's makes that visior who clicked
your ads show up in your log files and allows you to know the phrase
that delivered that visitor and that the visitor originated from
SEO's have always used # and ? to advantage in an incremental fashion
to optimize client sites. The jump links to named anchors is routinely
used by SEO's by placing keywords in the #named-anchor links.
This works particularly well on long FAQ pages and on glossary
of terms pages. Instead of doing what most do and using <.ahref="#FAQ1">
Keyword Phrase<./a> instead we use < a href="#keyword-phrase">
Keyword-Phrase< /a>. Of course you'll need to use it again
in the anchor tag at < a name="keyword-phrase"><
/a> Again, just an incremental tidbit to increase the use of
the keyword phrase by a slight margin THROUGHOUT the site in that
same incremental fashion, without being excessive.
The same is done with image filenames < img src="keyword.gif">
second level directory names /keyword-phrase/keyword.html, page
filenames, and embedding links in visble page text keyword phrases
< a href="keyword-phrase.html"> Keyword Phrase <
/a> rather than the worthless < a href="wordfrag4.htm">
Click Here< /a>
Every once in a while someone re-discovers these incrementally
valuable techniques and attempts to abuse them a la "Google
Bombing" (as discussed in the WebProWorld forum) and they get
abused obscenely by overly agressive folks that risk being banned
in order to gain short term advantage for their own sites.
This leads the search engines to downgrade or penalize those who
abuse the techniques. SEO is not made up of a single technique used
to compulsive levels. Wholistic SEO is using many techniques moderately
for incremental gains. When you get obsessive about any one technique
it leads to trouble.
Stay out of trouble – please!
About the Author
Mike Banks Valentine
is SEO for Mesothelioma Attorney Referral Service. Contact Mike
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