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Old 06-03-2004   #1
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Spamming Versus Creative / Real World SEO Tactics


How does one draw the line between SPAMMING AND
Agressive , Creative SEO techniques....

There is the Theoretical and the REAL-Life concerns

for example if you have lots of Graphics and Flash on your site

would it not be unreasonalble to use techiques that are only designed to appeal to spiders, knowing that - while Humans may enjoy the Beauty and animations of a site - spiders are completely unsympathetic.


Also, how can a no-money- nobody Compete with the Thousands of Dollars that major companies can spend on Promotion and Marketing..

Is some real-life techniques understandable to a certain extent?

Or is do you advocate a "zero-tolerance" policy???

Last edited by David Wallace : 06-03-2004 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 06-03-2004   #2
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zero tolerance is an unsubstantiated claim to artificial superiority.

any form of seo is at least somewhat spam.

I think you should draw the line at what seems like it is common sense.

writing a good title and good page copy. fine
using good internal linking strategy. fine
registering a site at a directory. fine
creating a resource directory and exchanging a few links. fine
sponsoring a few sites. fine

creating tons of machine generated pages to capture clicks seems a bit greedy to me, but if you are willing to take the risks associated with it then it is fine. Danny Sullivan recently wrote some articles about the changing standards for various people.

the reasons individuals can compete really cheaply is that you do not need to be big to be good. for example, I have only been playing on the web just over a year (still under 1.5 years I think) my cost of living per month is somewhere around $500 because I live with a friend and we bought the place we live at. It is very easy for me to work at cheap rates because I do not have much living expense.

some firms have stock options and investors and people who bring them coffee in the morning and answer their phones. I wake up, slide 3 feet away from the bed, and start typing on the keys. on a price level basis they have no way to compete with one or two really talented seos. one thing though is many very good seo's will not usually want to work for many people because they can make far more money by creating their own ideas and promoting them. I rarely work for people who contact me.

I also am smart enough to know that I can't do everything. if I try to design a site it looks like it just came out of the rear end of some dead animal on the road.

my friend who was on the submarine with me was able to teach himself mysql and php in two days. he is an amazing site designer and is going to be going to school on the montgomery GI bill. with his low cost of living he does not need to make tons of money either.

the web is nothing but a big social network. by treating people fairly and honestly and working hard you can develope a network of people who want to support you and actively lower your costs.

in the last month I have been offered free seo software from multiple vendors, free hosting, free domain and hosting reseller accounts... it is all about working hard to try to establish yourself and then it continues to pay even on your days off.
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Last edited by seobook : 06-03-2004 at 03:01 AM.
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Old 06-04-2004   #3
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Is agressively optimizing pages that are relevant for the results returned spamming the search engines?

I lean toward the theory that relevancy should be more important than saying this technique is bad, but this technique is ok in that almost every technique has its good and bad uses.

I can't recall exactly where I saw it but there was a suggestion in a forum that you might be considered spamming if you were unwilling to show your competitors how you obtained your rankings.
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Old 06-04-2004   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel
I can't recall exactly where I saw it but there was a suggestion in a forum that you might be considered spamming if you were unwilling to show your competitors how you obtained your rankings.
If someone did say that, they are in the twilight zone IMO.

Aggressive SEO is not spamming. SEO should be aggressive a marketing is war.

People will have different definitions for search engine spam but mine are related to the following practices - where you either deliberately deceive (cloaking, hidden text, etc.), where you try to dominate the SERPs with multiple listings (domain spam, multiple doorway pages, etc.) and then when you try to increase link popularity through useless link farms. The term spam as related to email paints a picture in my mind of "intrusiveness" so many of the things that are labeled search engine spam are also intrusive (the same company hogging the SERPS for a particular keyword phrase, multiple useless sites for the sole purpose of linking, etc.)
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Old 06-04-2004   #5
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Even though major companies have thousands of dollars to spend on search engine marketing, from my experience it has been quite the opposite from what you're suggesting.

Obviously, the larger the company the more money they have to spend on advertising. However, they are the ones that are not paying any attention whatsoever to search engine marketing. The larger the company, the further away from SEM they get.

It's amazing to me that even some of the largest online companies do absolutely no search engine optimization--it's all PPC or ads through the Ad networks.
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Old 06-04-2004   #6
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I’m often surprised by the lack of big names seen in the results for one industry i work with (auto dealers). Seems only the little guys have seen what the web can do for sales.

Think a lot of the bigger companies stay away from SEO as they are already big and content with what they already do. Its only when they see a competitor get bigger that they take notice.

Another problem I encounter is when trying to explain the advantages of SEO to business people who lack even basic internet knowledge. The warning sign is when you get a puzzled look and frantic mouse flailing after saying “start up your browser”.

Then there are those who think SEO is a scam, get confused with generic results and PPC, think $1000 is too much but don’t hesitate to spend $1000 on a single newspaper ad that gets them nothing.


As for spam i tend to agree with Mel

If its relevant and the users are happy with the results then i don’t have a problem with any technique, unless it beat a site I’m going for then its spam – though i only use methods i consider low risk myself.
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Old 06-05-2004   #7
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hmmm

Quote:
Originally Posted by cuzco
I’m often surprised by the lack of big names seen in the results for one industry i work with (auto dealers). Seems only the little guys have seen what the web can do for sales.

Think a lot of the bigger companies stay away from SEO as they are already big and content with what they already do. Its only when they see a competitor get bigger that they take notice.

Another problem I encounter is when trying to explain the advantages of SEO to business people who lack even basic internet knowledge. The warning sign is when you get a puzzled look and frantic mouse flailing after saying “start up your browser”.

Then there are those who think SEO is a scam, get confused with generic results and PPC, think $1000 is too much but don’t hesitate to spend $1000 on a single newspaper ad that gets them nothing.


As for spam i tend to agree with Mel

If its relevant and the users are happy with the results then i don’t have a problem with any technique, unless it beat a site I’m going for then its spam – though i only use methods i consider low risk myself.
The car dealers use places like AutoTrader.com to deal with the online advertising... they get the site and the search placements...
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Old 06-06-2004   #8
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true,

The dealers i work with still use the autotraderUK, though they get much more custom from the magazine adverts - spending about £2k a week on adverts.

However, they now get a lot more customers by having all their stock online and paying to have the site promoted. This is despite the Autotrader being able to rank top 5 for the more popular terms. Nearly all of the largest dealers also have their stock online, but surprisingly most of them are nowhere to be seen for competitive terms.
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Old 06-06-2004   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ! !

How does one draw the line between SPAMMING AND
Agressive , Creative SEO techniques....
Easy! Would you mind explaining it to your competition!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ! !
for example if you have lots of Graphics and Flash on your site

would it not be unreasonalble to use techiques that are only designed to appeal to spiders, knowing that - while Humans may enjoy the Beauty and animations of a site - spiders are completely unsympathetic.
That's when you simply create a static site one for your visitors with slower connections and two, the search engines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ! !
Also, how can a no-money- nobody Compete with the Thousands of Dollars that major companies can spend on Promotion and Marketing.
What you must remember is that the big companies have the same techniques employed upon their sites, just in a larger scale. More money is spent on other marketing techniques external to their site. You can compete against it with time, patience and know how.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ! !
Is some real-life techniques understandable to a certain extent? Or is do you advocate a "zero-tolerance" policy???
I have a zero tolerance policy to spammers that cannot achieve the rankings and effective website promotion within the search engines editorial guidelines. Stuff em and report them.
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Old 06-06-2004   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ! !

How does one draw the line between SPAMMING AND
Agressive , Creative SEO techniques....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Parsons
Easy! Would you mind explaining it to your competition!
I would explain just about any bad idea to competition, but they need to spend their time reading it. I also would explain just about any good idea too.

As long as I am a month ahead I really don't care if they see what happened last month. Researching SEO is by no means hard.

The biggest difference in disclosure in my opinion is that there are certain ways of thinking which your competition probably does not understand. Anyone thinking about promotion purely from an SEO standpoint is shortsided in my opinion.

Giving away all creative ideas and techniques is probably not that smart. but old time seo anyone can research. If they see my sites at the top of the search results and most people do not hate me for what I have done then likely I have no reason or nothing to explain to any competitor and no shame for good rankings...
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Old 06-06-2004   #11
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You know what I mean in contrast Aaron.

If you have hidden text, cloaked pages, etc etc....would you tell your competition that? If so, how long would it take them to report you? If you wouldn't explain it to them knowing fair well they couldn't report you, then don't do it IMO.

I don't understand why so many attempt to work against the engines? I work with them and have great success from non-competitive to competitive phrases. It is only these people who have no real idea nor could apply commonsense to achieve the desired rankings within the guidelines of the engines. Go outside the guidelines, expect to be caught I say. If you get away with it...then good o also.
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Old 06-06-2004   #12
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Perhaps what you meant to say is things you would openly disclose to engines in a banner across the top of every page of your site

the reason so many people work against the engines is that not everyone is creative or interested in building something long term and they have no reguard for the engines. many people just want to make money. most good SEOs could probably make at least 6 figures a month promoting drug products if they were so inclined. if i were a bit more greedy perhaps i would have automated bots and promote those types of sites.

it is the competitive landscape of an environment which determines what techniques are used. if something is easy & profitable there are plenty of people who are willing to do it.

it is the engines job to stop "spam" though they rarely ever adequately define it.

as an seo making good money you can practice fail safe conservative methods, but some newer people are not lucky enough to have a reputation built up that helps them along.

some people compete in markets where the only way to compete is to be shady. it is hard to promote sites which want people to "buy phentermine" because it is not an idea that naturally wants to spread.
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Old 06-06-2004   #13
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Well said Aaron....well said mate.
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Old 06-07-2004   #14
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Search Engines are run by great teams consisting of very-very intelligent people... but to think how much time and effort those great people have to spend developing various anti-spam filters!

That depresses me.

If not for spammers, SE teams would be free to work on their algos, improving relevancy and quality, and the SEs would already be sort of human-made miracles. Instead, they are forced to think how to detect new link-farming patterns or other loathsome tricks!

Not to mention searchers who have to squeeze their way through all the sort of spammy garbage... Not to mention the client -- often ignorant of the methods used... -- and their domain names put at risk... Spammers seem to respect no-one. Not a proper way to be online.

Sorry for being too emotional, but the Internet is sacred for me.

Last edited by Irony : 06-07-2004 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 06-07-2004   #15
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I remember someone once defined search engine SPAM as:

Sites
Positioned
Above
Mine

Although not completely true, it hits close to home for a lot of complaints I see. I'm known for being anti-spammer, but you have to choose your targets carefully - just because someone is doing a better job than you, or you don't like their color scheme, content or design, doesn't automatically make them a spammer.

Also, I would argue that if someone is, for example, spamming but doing so in such a way that it's not affecting their position (comment and meta tag spam comes immediately to mind - both are ignored by the SE's for the most part) then it's not really worth getting upset over.

I do look closely at sites that do that on the assumption that if they are spamming there, they may be spamming (in a more effective manner) elsewhere. But I personally don't report stupid spam - just effective spam.

I'm not sure if I can post live links (Mods, please edit if I can't) but here is a list of places to report spam to (the top half of the page is typical marketing stuff, so ignore it and skip to the bottom)

http://www.mcanerin.com/search-engine/spammers.htm

Hopefully that helps,

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Old 06-07-2004   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irony
If not for spammers, SE teams would be free to work on their algos, improving relevancy and quality, and the SEs would already be sort of human-made miracles. Instead, they are forced to think how to detect new link-farming patterns or other loathsome tricks!
Well said Irony. Its like a question a client ask me the other day. The title attribute in the href. They asked why it was their. Obvious Answer. To properly describe the link to the user eg: href="Buy Now" title="Purchase Andy Pandy" just for examples sake.

The next thing to the top of their mind was, you guessed it, can we stuff phrases in their to help rankings? I completely sympathise with you. It pisses me right off.
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Old 06-07-2004   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irony
If not for spammers, SE teams would be free to work on their algos, improving relevancy and quality, and the SEs would already be sort of human-made miracles. Instead, they are forced to think how to detect new link-farming patterns or other loathsome tricks!
In any business or industry you will have competing forces that try to destroy your business model. Typically search engines have access to more information and greater group knowledge than any "spammer" and for that I don't feel sorry for them if they have to spend a portion of their time defending their business models.

Most of us have enough free time to chat because we understand how search engines work or how to manipulate their results better than the average person.

In an ideal world where there was no spammers SEOs would have no jobs. This reminds me of one of my all time favorite SEO quotes by none other than MakeMeTop

Quote:
Originally Posted by MakeMeTop
When I pay a search engine and manipulate the code (to their satisfaction) - it (apparently) is not spam! When I don't pay them, then it (often) is (by their definition). As far as I personally am concerned, I manipulate search engine results for the benefit of my clients and/or myself if it is an affiliate site. An important secondary consideration is not annoying the surfer, after all I want them to buy something. So, in my own mind, I'm a spammer, what I do is spamming and what I allow search engines to index is 85% spam! The difference is I'm a very elegant spammer - who takes such a professional pride in my spam that only I know that's what it is
source: http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/viewtopic.php?p=47262%20
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Old 06-07-2004   #18
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seobook, I still think that "not annoying the surfers" means making the site better. And therefore it is not spam (unless it is cloaking that's discussed).

Anthony, thanks for your understanding.
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Old 06-07-2004   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irony
I still think that "not annoying the surfers" means making the site better. And therefore it is not spam (unless it is cloaking that's discussed).
Spam is becomming better and better targeted. people are usually trying to be relevant.

the same problem with "spam" is the same problem that occurs with the web everywhere in that many commercial interests like to overly promote commerce and them taking a cut. try finding honest information about prescription drugs (not the bogus stuff from a manufacturer). you likely will only see a few alternative views and many sales letters showing you just how commercially the web is built up in some areas.

with or without "spam" there would still be a ton of people building up sites in the high profit areas.
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Old 06-10-2004   #20
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But not every instance of cloaking can be said to be spamming.

You deliver to text based browsers and bots content that can be understood by them, a different content for people with IE and another for Netscape, etc and that is clearly cloaking but its not spamming.
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