Black Hat SEO and the Sneaky Redirect
Copyright 2004 Ed Zivkovic
Are shades of grey SEO really Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is a strategy which gets a web page or entire site banned from a search engine.
A shade of grey is when you use a black hat strategy but your site has not been banned yet. Remember the acronym for YET: You're Entitled Too!
There are many different opinions on the subject of Search Engine Optimization. Many folks will deliver advice which will work to get you top 10 rankings but what is really the difference between Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO?
There has been many good attempts to define Black Hat SEO. All are relevant and an example can be found at http://www.blackhatseo.com. The site contains a page of example Black Hat SEO and a directory of not recommended products and services.
But is there more to it than just keyword stuffing, hidden text and spamming image alt tags?
If you read the the Webmaster guidelines at Google: http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html, you'll notice that sneaky Redirection pages are not welcome. (This does not include the 301 redirect.)
What are Sneaky Redirection Pages?
Sneaky redirection pages are set up in in groups of 10 or 20. They all target similar and related keywords or phrases. The only links on these pages are links to other pages in the same family creating a false sense of related linking.
They do not contain content that any human would be interested in. These pages show up high in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). When you click on one of these pages from a search engine result, you will be redirected to another page. (Usually a high pressure sales page.)
Is this misleading? You bet. Why? Because the page you click on from the serps is not the page you actually get to read.
Can Sneaky Redirects be considered as a Black Hat SEO tactic?
I think so. The reason being is that if your page is discovered, it does get banned. These pages are smart when it comes to getting a higher search engine position but they will vanish if another marketer reports your page.
What SEO Strategy Should You Use?
All SEO strategies have value. I think that the focus of attention should be to avoid Black Hat SEO if your intention is to keep your site from being banned.
Visit SEO forums and use the ideas that you feel comfortable with. There are many SEO forums out there. Here is one to get you started: http://www.searchguild.com
Be aware of search engine guidelines. If you read conflicting information, or if the tactic does not feel 100% OK, maybe the tactic should be placed on the back burner or even avoided forever.