In your efforts to improve your search engine ranking, a little bit of bad advice is all it takes to turn you into a Search Engine Spammer.
Everyone wants to be on the search results first page, and some go to great lengths to get there including the use of deception.
Purposely designing a web page to deliver different messages, one for the visitor and one for the search engines constitutes search engine spamming. This includes embedding text in the HTML code in an effort to hide text, creating invisible text such as very tiny text and or coloring the text to match the page background, keyword stuffing, HTML Comments, doorway pages and so on.
Search engines need text (usually 500 to 1000 words targeted to and supporting your keywords works best) for inclusion into their index.
Let’s say you have a home page which is composed of one or more images or a flash presentation, or your logo as part of a collage of images showing your product or service, but little actual text. Search engines may not properly index this type of page.
You might think having a bunch of text will spoil the look of your landing page, so you look for alternative ways to get your keywords on the page like, “I can use the image Alt tag for my text” or “I could make the text real small and the same color as the page background”.
First of all, the image Alt tag is designed to be used by accessibility software, for the visually impaired to explain what the image is about. This would be a quick sentence such as “Image of a red apple” or “Attractive bowl of fruit” for an image of an apple or bowl of fruit respectively.
Tasteful use of keywords in an Alt tag is acceptable in a properly themed web page. Stuffing this tag with 500 or so words or repetition of your keyword phrase, will likely be seen as a Spam attempt and result in a penalty.
Second, making the text real small or the same color as the background (to make it invisible), is one of the older tricks in the book. Google and others routinely penalize sites using this technique resulting in very poor rankings.
Being penalized for spamming is not the worst that can happen. Search engines have been known to outright ban domain names for routinely spamming.
One way to determine if you have been banned is to search for your domain name. If your domain name is not returned, you probably have been banned or never indexed.
If you’ve been banned from a search engine, you have little recourse except to get a new domain name as your domain may never be indexed again. In some rare cases, Google has lifted a ban if the site owner proves (with proper documentation) the ban is unwarranted.
When designing your web pages, allow for the inclusion of properly themed text supporting your chosen keywords, be the authority on the subject, and make sure your content is unique.
Remember the mission of the search engines is to give “Their Users” the best experience possible with quality unique content. Ranking well is the reward you receive for providing quality, unique, properly optimized content.