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Dodgy SEO: Why you shouldn’t use it – and the companies that do

Jaclyn Densley /

Search engine optimisation experts have told SmartCompany something unexpected: Google and other search engines are cracking down so much on blackhat SEO, there aren’t too many tactics left that make sense to use anymore.

Not that it stops people from trying.

“As long as something works, people are going to do it,” says Switched On Media head of SEO Daniel Bailey.

“Google is getting smarter about these things. They don’t want these tactics to work. However, ultimately, some are going to work.”

But that doesn’t mean you should be using them, even if they provide a benefit. Google is getter better, and better and finding dodgy SEO techniques and cracking down.

Here are 10 SEO methods you need to be aware of – and why shouldn’t be using them anymore.

1. Cloaking

What is it?

This is by far one of the most common blackhat SEO techniques, especially among larger businesses that should know better.

It works like this: Google uses bots to trawl your site, and collect the information including links and text. It categorises your site based on that information.

It’s against Google’s terms of service to show the Google bot one site, and then your customers another site. But companies do it, and it allows them to show users a clean, neat home page while showing the Google bot a page full of text and keywords that will help their rankings.

Plenty of companies in all industries do this, including retail.

Jewellery chain Michael Hill uses this exact tactic, showing users one page with clean video and menus, while showing the Google bot another.

The page users see:

The page Google sees:

When contacted about this, the chain responded by saying the following:

“The Michael Hill site is built completely using Microsoft Silverlight technology. Since search engines cannot natively recognise Silverlight website content, we use descriptive text for this content to improve accessibility to our site.”

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