Now don’t get up in arms if you are a fan of processed meat. We’re talking about a different type of spam!
Spam in the internet world is a term used to describe several types of undesirable practices – most of which are geared towards underhandedly mass ‘marketing’ yourself into getting results. Spamming is in direct opposition to the golden rule of SEO: ‘Don’t be evil’.
If you wake up one morning and your email inbox is full of offers for free this and free that, ads for Viagra, quotes for car insurance and unsolicited loan or credit card offers, you have been spammed. This is what we have spam folders for, and if you are like me you delete them without even reading them.
Spamming is accomplished by hurling a lot of unnecessary junk at something in the hope that a tiny percentage will end up sticking. Often this is an automated process set in motion to bombard you without effort beyond the initial setting up of the spamming system
If spammers don’t have to do anything beyond set the system in motion, they are perfectly OK with the fact that they may have to spam thousands of people just to find one that is curious (or stupid) enough to open the email.
Another way to spam is by visiting a forum or blog and commenting on posts just so you can leave your website address (url) as a link in your signature in the hopes that people will click on it. This runs counter to most blog and forum rules, and you can get banned for soing so. That is not to say don’t use blogs and forums to promote your site, just to do it responsibly.
If you hit every blog you can find, and comment on every post “Cool! – (check out www. Blah blah blah) signed King of Blah, you are engaging in ‘link-spam’ and are going to get blackballed from the web quicker then you can say Jack Robinson.
If, however, you have a site devoted to (what else) pet clothing, you can visit a pet lovers site, a dog breeders site and a cat show enthusiasts site to comment in depth and intelligently on familiar topics and no-one will mind if you leave a relevant link behind in your wake.
Spamming doesn’t happen just to email boxes and forums. Sophisticated spammers will enable a robot to get into your site, join your subscription list and use it to generate even more addresses to spam for. This is when spamming crosses the line and turns into hacking!!
Some sorry souls even try to spam consumers by using Google. They learn that Googlebot looks for keywords, utilizing them to determine relevance, so they ‘stuff’ their text with keywords to the point that the site no longer makes nonsense, and accept back links from any source they can. Then they sit back and hope that the spider will see the links and keywords and assume you are a relevant site!
They will use such tactics as white on white text, so that the Googlebot sees the appropriate keywords but you the consumer can’t. That’s when you get surprised when you land on a poker site after initiating a search for finger puppet games. Another trick is ‘cloaking’, where the unscrupulous webmaster shows the search engine a landing page or home page that looks like good content but redirects traffic (you) so that you arrive on a subscription page that asks for your personal information.
You can get good results without spamming. You will do better to do solid SEO and spend your time and effort producing high quality content to generate good traffic than to chase your tail trying to bully people into it.
Spam is evil. Don’t be evil!
Tomorrow: Content Writing – the Beginners Manual