Spamdexing is a catch-all phrase that covers a number of ethically dubious black hat SEO tricks and techniques (though not all spamdexing is black hat). Just click through the forums on CAP, or any other big affiliate site, and you’ll see the term spamdexing pop up over and over.
But what does it really mean? And how can webmasters avoid getting spamdexed; and how can they avoid using these techniques? Let’s take a look at some different types of spamdexing and how affiliates can avoid them.
There are two main categories of spamdex; content and links.
- Content spam includes common SEO practices such as keyword stuffing, article spinning and cloaking.
- Link spam practices cover techniques such as comment spamming and hidden links.
Add to that the two directions that links and content to move to, and from your site. You can push out this type of spam content and links from your own site, or it can arrive from another source (in your forum page, for example).
Now that you know the basics of spamdexing, let’s look at some methods for minimizing it and its impact on your sites.
Monitor Your Forums
Spammers thrive anywhere where they can post content without going through a gatekeeper. That’s why they love user forums so much.
We’ve all seen those random links that pop up in forums pushing everything from prescription pills to webcam girls on forums. These messages are usually generated by automated scripts and are an ongoing menace.
Keeping on top of these spam messages is a time consuming, but essential job. Publishers can minimize the impact of this type of posting by either approving comments manually, or marking every link in the forums with a no-follow tag. A no-follow tag keeps search engine spiders from factoring a specific link in your overall score.
Keep an Eye on Your Content
Thanks to Google Panda updates, original, high quality content is at an absolute premium these days. But not everyone wants to invest time and money creating good content, so they just scrape or steal it from another site.
Automated scraper programs comb the web for content that can be posted on the scraper’s site. Some programs alter the content slightly, but most just scrape and post.
But the stolen content is only part of the problem with scraping. Google, and other search engines, punish sites that use duplicate content with lower page rankings. That’s why staying on top of scrapers is so important.
Content creators and publishers can stay on top of scrapers by regularly searching for passages of their own work on search engines.
Once scraped content is found, contact the site owner and politely remind them that they are posting stolen content and need to remove it immediately. It’s also worth posting the names of offending sites on forums to let others in the industry know what’s happening to their content.
Don’t Spamdex Yourself
Spend a few minutes Googling SEO-related terms and you’ll run across dozens of products offering easy solutions for landing top slots in search engine results. If some of these claims sound too good to be true, it’s because they are too good to be true.
While there are great programs that can help you gain better higher rankings using white hat SEO methods, those aren’t the ones offering pie-in-the-sky results. Read plenty of reviews of an SEO product before you start using it and stick to well-established products like SEOmoz. Using black hat SEO and spamdexing methods may yield short term gains, but the long term results won’t be as pretty.
Keep Up on Best Practices
SEO best practices are constantly changing, but keeping up with them is essential. Widely accepted practices like link farming and keyword stuffing can fall out of favor practically overnight. Make a habit of monitoring your own site metrics, and SEO blogs, such as CAP and SEOmoz to make certain the methods you’re using are still effective.
Results without Spam
Achieving top page rankings is like a Zen riddle that answers a complex question in just a couple of words. All you have to do is post lots of good, relevant content on your own site and make sure you’ve got lots of good links to and from authority sites. While that may be easier said than done, it works a lot better than spamdexing tricks.