Search Engine Optimization (SEO) poisoning is like the online marketer’s version of the swine flu – everybody’s heard of it, but no one’s really sure what it is. After doing some online digging, I found a plethora of articles explaining SEO poisoning, how to avoid it and what big companies are trying to do to stop it.
Evil Spamming Empires use SEO techniques to pump up the rankings of their websites, therefore pushing them higher and higher in your search results. It looks like there’s a billion good sites on the first page related to your search, but according to Neil Rubeking of PCMAG.COM, SEO poisoning pushes bogus and malicious sites front and center while leaving what you’re really looking for back a couple of pages. Forbes points out that SEO poisoning is linked to phishing scams whose main goal is to trick users into clicking. Instead of manufacturing original content, SEO poison writers ride the coattails of existing content, making the whole venture extremely affordable and all the more devious. The worst part is that many phony SEO “experts” are popping up online and charging clients boatloads of money, only to wind up poisoning search engines.
This brings us to the next problem with poisoning. How do businesses looking for SEO experts avoid becoming Google polluters? Research, research, research. Turn the tables on your SEO firm and Google their handiwork. It will speak volumes about what you can expect from them. Also, push them on their content policies. Do they use mostly original content or do they recycle and re-purpose to a fault? Who are their staff writers and will they work for your company? Ask for samples like any good shopper would. And while you’re at it, get some references from other small businesses.
The SEO poisoning issue has shown up all over this month on the tech and marketing blogs. Google, for its part, is beefing up security; many believe it may be the answer to stopping clogged search engines. Encrypted searches are said to be a repellent for SEO-poisoned content. Encrypted searches thwart of pages and pages of lame results, leaving only what the user was looking for. As Microsoft, Google and the other tech superheroes look for solutions to stop SEO poisoning, the little guys can stay safe by watching where we click and with whom we trust our SEO needs.