Ethical Search Engine Optimization is the art of optimize a web page using techniques that are compliant with the search engines guidelines. The strategy is to create good content and optimize the web page according to search engine guidelines to rank high on search engines. Ethical SEO is also called Whitehat SEO.
Blackhat SEO use whatever methods they can to rank high on the search engines. Many of the techniques they use are not allowed by the search engines and the web site might be banned if discovered.
Some techniques are in the grey-zone between black and white hat.
Blackhat SEO might quickly help you to good ranking but it comes at a price. If detected your site might get banned which if serious can last a lifetime. If your site is banned you won't get any traffic from the search engine and must rely totally on paid traffic. This is as it sounds very costly.
I don't recommend any blackhat techniques whatsoever. Spend the time on creating good content for the visitors instead of covering up for bad content.
Surefire ways to become detected for search engine spam and how to avoid them
The following techniques are very old and can easily be detected by the search engines. The search engines will either ignore, penalize or ban the site depending on how serious it is.
Invisible content or links
It is sometimes used to provide the spider with keyword rich content that's not visible for the visitor.
- Do not use text with the same color as the background.
- Do not use link text with the same color as the background.
- Do not use image links with very small graphics. Make sure the image is minimum 10x10 pixels.
The easiest way to detect this form of spam is to hit the CTRL+A buttonl. The invisible text and images will now be visible.
Text with very small font size is often used for the same purpose as invisible text. Provide the spider with keyword rich content that's not visible for the visitor.
Do not use text with a font size smaller than font size 6pt.
Repeating your keyword excessively in TITLE tags, META tags and body text is a very old blackhat method. It will not help your ranking.
Instead of using the same word I suggest you use synonyms with similar meaning (but not excessively).
The most import thing is to make sure the body text and tags sounds and looks natural for the visitor.
It is thought that putting up several pages with the same content boosts ranking. The search engines will however detect if you have identical content and remove the "excess".
Do not put up identical web pages including any mirror sites you have.
The number of inbound links is very important to achieve high ranking. Whet often is forgotten is that the quality of the links is even more important.
Do not reciprocate links with links farms or any other site of low quality. An inbound link from them will usually not penalize you but linking out to a link farm can make you lose ranking.
A web page with more than 30 links and little or no content is in the risk zone of being a link farm.
A doorway page is a machine generated page with little or no useful content other than links to other sites. Doorway pages are often stuffed with invisible content to feed the search engines with.
The purpose of a doorway page is boost the link popularity of the site(s) the doorway page is linking to.
Do not create doorway pages.
Incorrect usage of <noframes> or <noscript> tags
Some browsers didn't have capability to view frameset pages in the early days of internet. The solution was to include the <noframes> tag to provide content viewable for browsers without capability to view frames.
The <noframes> tag is an easy way to include keyword rich content for the spider but hide it from the visitor. All browsers today have frames capability to the text will never be seen by the visitors. The browser will however see it.
The <noscript> tag can be used in a similar way to hide links.
Do not use the <noframes> tag in web pages that doesn't contain frames. The search engine will see this as spam. It is however OK to use the tag in a frameset page.
Don't use the <noscript> tag to hide links.
Advanced blackhat techniques
The following techniques are more difficult for the search engines to detect...
…At least for a while.
Depending on who is visiting a site the web server can provide different. The IP addresses of the spiders are well known so it's easy to provide the spider with keyword rich content pages and other visitors with completely different content.
Do you like to click on the highest ranking page and find that the content is rubbish?
No I didn't think so.
Do not use this technique.
Dynamic HTML spam
With Dynamic HTML (DHTML) you can create several visual layers in the browser. It is quite easy to hide a keyword rich content from the visitor while it's still visible for the spider.
Do not use DHTML to hide content from the visitor just to gain higher ranking.
Some unscrupulous site owners post content on a Wiki site containing a links to their site with the sole purpose of using the high page rank of the wiki site to boost the link popularity.
It will most likely be detected by someone after a while and the link will be removed.
The Wiki concept is great and should be spam free. It really makes me angry when people clutter the Wiki sites with spam.
Stop doing it !
Forums can like Wiki sites be very informative. Some forum participants unfortunately post comments with the only purpose of getting links back to their site.
Do not post comments without value just to get links back to your site.