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Is This Spam?


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47 replies to this topic

#1 Jill

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 02:47 PM

I had a couple of people email me today to point me to this article: Cheating Google (and Spider) to ask if this was cloaking or spam.

Sure looks to me like it would be considered spam. Since my very simple definition is showing the search engine's one thing and the userse something else, this would fit the bill.

Anyone know if the search engines would agree? Apparently this article was put out by JupiterMedia today in some newsletter.

Jill

#2 Bernard

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 04:36 PM

It definitely looks like it is open to abuse. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the engines will eventually have to start checking for this and penalizing accordingly.

#3 Phil CK

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 05:25 PM

If I understand what they're suggesting correctly I'm not even sure why you'd want to employ such a system !

Why inject a few blunt keywords into your page when you can have proper meaningful content that includes the keywords you're targeting whilst still achieving a sensible keyword density.

And then placing a few extra links on the page to presumably other pages on the current site would have to be a site wide drive to target some extra PR towards a specific page. However the rules of PR would mean that all your doing is moving PR around your site & not creating any extra. So potentially you could focus some more PR to 1 specific page (assuming you have sufficient pages in your site for it to make any impact at all !!), but why do it via cloak and daggers ? Why not include a link for real human visitors to see & click to take them to this extra important page ?

#4 Jill

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 05:43 PM

I agree, Phil. I really couldn't understand why you'd want to do such a thing either. I wasn't sure if I was just missing something from my usual lack of sleep, or what!

But is it spam? It seems like it. Still wondering what others think. Unfortunately, it's hard to understand what they're doing in the article, so I suspect many people are not reading it through. I kept wanting to quit half way through, but forced myself to read it all! :read:

Jill

#5 hermit

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 06:48 PM

This is just good old fashion cloaking.

#6 MakeMeTop

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 03:07 AM

>good, old fashioned cloaking..

It certainly isn't good :notworthy:

It is user agent delivery - and pretty inept at that (IMHO).

There are much simpler and more efficient ways of doing the same thing - and some of them (like flash detection on a flash enhanced page) are not spammy. This method could be.

#7 Dragon

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 03:24 AM

I just cant believe that they are actually condoning this!

#8 qwerty

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 06:01 AM

"Hello, little dear spider!"


Brilliant. :notworthy: Yet another little trick for sites that simply can't have Real Content on the page. I can't think of any way of doing this that wouldn't be an abuse of the TOS.

As it's not quite 7 am and I've only had one coffee, I've got one other thing to say about this article: it is SO badly written! Is it really that tough to run something through a spell checker before you publish it? How about reading the text aloud to see if it makes sense?

So, A good solution is to place some words in the page for the sake of spiders. But spiders are growing much and much intelligent... And so, if some time ago the "normal" practice was to write "white on white" or "black on black", nowaday you must write in a meaningful color and NOT into strange DIVS or hidden LAYERS. It is a little ugly to see a bunch of no-meaning words in the middle of your website, and so many have dropped this useful tip.

Blech! I really hope webmasters are also "growing much and much intelligent," and will ignore "this useful tip".

#9 Alan Perkins

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 06:30 AM

But is it spam?

It is definitely search engine spam, IMO.

The article is called "Cheating Google" and the author has named his ASP file "cheating.asp". Then he says

First of all, inspite of the title, we are not cheating. We are simplifying the work of the search engine by helping its "little workers" to do their work better and faster.


Not!

#10 deborah2002

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 08:08 AM

If they have to justify what they are doing THAT much, gotta be something behind it. I wasn't aware that beyond good, clean SEO that the spiders nead "extra help".

Jill, I'd say yes to the spam question--no doubt about it. :notworthy:


deb

#11 Phil CK

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 03:20 AM

Great smilie Deb & Spam it sure is !

#12 NoHiddenTags

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 09:39 AM

Hi :)

Under the guise of "showing search engines one thing and users another" (which you have clearly outlined as "spam" by your own definitons) ... would putting text in a tag that only a search engine can see and a user cannot, be considered spam too?

I mean I've read about <NOSCRIPT> tag abuse and keyword stuffed ALT Tags. Do tags like <!-- COMMENT TAGS --> and Table Attribute tags, fall into this area of abuse, for spamming?

Thanks,
Stephen

#13 mcanerin

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 09:59 AM

Interesting. I guess I'm just not devious enough. I almost always use the <noscript> tag and it never occured to me to stuff it - at least not for SEO purposes.

I usually create menu systems in Flash, for example at the top of the page, then right above that put in text version of the menu using the <noscript> tag. I've been told by some that I should use the <noembed> tag but I now know that to be bad, if well meaning, advice.

I assumed during this that the <noembed>/<noscript> tag would be ignored for the most part, since it's not visible to the user unless they had a text based or handicapped enabled browser, but I guess that would mean that those with disabilities would have to be considered not important enough. I hate it when a great idea gets corrupted by scum, err, those nice SED folks. :)

I know also that when the Flash generator creates an HTML page for the movie, it puts a comment in that contains all the URLS and text of the movie in it. Anyone know if this is actually useful?

Speaking of useful, that "useful tip" comment makes me sick. Useful for who? People actively attempting to trick visitors into coming to a site based on contect it doesn't have? Write some Real Content and let your site be judged on that!

Ian

#14 Jill

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 10:26 AM

Under the guise of "showing search engines one thing and users another" (which you have clearly outlined as "spam" by your own definitons) ... would putting text in a tag that only a search engine can see and a user cannot, be considered spam too?

Welcome, NoHiddenTags! :)

Yes, putting stuff in those tags for the sole purpose of tricking the search engines into thinking your site was more relevant for those phrases than it actually is, would be spam, imo.

There's nothing wrong with using those tags for their intended purpose. I use the Noscript tag all the time because I have dhtml menus which can't always be spidered correctly. But I don't put anything in there that I don't already use on my site that humans can see.

And putting keyword phrases into comment tags is simply dumb! They're ignored by the search engines, and to me it seems like they would set off a red-flag to them too.

If I were a search engine programmer, I'd make my spider check for repetitive keywords in a comment tag and then I would put those pages in a special "pile" for further scrutiny. Betcha that 95% of them would be full of search engine tricks and spam.

Jill

#15 NoHiddenTags

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 10:46 AM

Thanks for the welcome Jill :)

I've been a reader of your newsletter for a while and know you have a common sense approach to SEO.

And putting keyword phrases into comment tags is simply dumb!  They're ignored by the search engines, and to me it seems like they would set off a red-flag to them too. 

If I were a search engine programmer, I'd make my spider check for repetitive keywords in a comment tag and then I would put those pages in a special "pile" for further scrutiny.  Betcha that 95% of them would be full of search engine tricks and spam.


I don't know that much about SEO, and plan to have a web manager take care of the company website we're planning. I want to hire an SEO, so by asking questions here, I'll be able to have enough information to make an informed decision about the firm I do hire.

Would any SEO who's good or ethical use spammed tags on any of their clients sites? If they have spammed tags on their own site, would this be an indication that they might use trickery on their client sites as well?

If I hire an SEO who does use spammed tags on my site, am I responsible for it even if I didn't do it?




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