Cherokee Indian for "Among the Oaks" What Not To Do With
Search Engine Optimization

PT Barnum Style Marketeers

There are a lot of folks out there that profess to do web promotion in one form or another. Some of these companies offer fantastic service (like us!) and others are always making the Better Business Bureau's "little more shady" list.

Beware of these "tricks" that do more harm than good when it comes to website promotion.

Read what Google has to say about bad search engine optimization techniques.

Read about Black Hat SEO Techniques. has an amazing article outlining how 3 men really started the major avenues of abuse concerning search engine optimization. We highly recommend reading this article: Dot-com noir

SEO companies to avoid

We recommend steering clear of search engine optimization companies that claim any of the following:

  • Guaranteed #1 listings on Google
    No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. It's just that simple.
  • Secretive techniques
    Ask for explanations of what the SEO company plans to do. Secretive companies usually have something to hide.
  • Link-back requirements
    You should never have to link back to your SEO company. If they require it, then they are up to something.

Does your current SEO company do something you don't understand? Run it by us. We'd be happy to let you know if we think it's useful and/or ethical.

Top of Page

Bad Neighborhoods

This term refers to websites that are considered to be full of spam. You may have heard the term Free For All (or FFA) websites, or maybe Link Farms. These types of websites are designed with the sole purpose of making the owners a quick buck.

Avoid FFA and Link Farms

Here's how they work and why they're useless (and even dangerous):

  • Links are posted to the FFA or Link Farm website (usually by automated software)
  • These links are not organized or categorized in any way. They are simply endless lists of unrelated websites.
  • High Turnover: So many links get submitted to these websites that typically each listing is only on the site for a few hours or even a few minutes.
  • Nobody uses these sites to find products anyway. They're inefficient, incoherent, and unorganized. Besides, with Yahoo, Google and MSN out there, why would you go anywhere else to search?
Don't take our word for it
WebBiz Help Article KenKreps Article

Sometimes the search engines will see these types of sites as 'spam', and as a result will punish any sites that appear there. This is uncommon, but not unheard of. It is best to simply avoid this form of promotion altogether.

Top of Page


This is perhaps the latest form of bad optimization. It has been brought into the spotlight as a result of Google's "Florida" algorithm update. Websites that employ too much optimization are being punished. Search engines are viewing these sites as trying to outsmart them, and don't appreciate it.

Our approach to Search Engine Optimization is quite organic; there are some simple, often overlooked things that we can do to improve how the search engines rank your site. We don't try to outsmart the engines - in time, we would lose. We do the opposite in fact - we let the engines tell us what they like. And then we do it. Simple.

Concerned about your current promotion techniques?

Contact us at your earliest convenience and we'll help you determine whether or not your promotion efforts are doing more harm than good. We'll also suggest some great ways to promote your site while still playing fair.

Top of Page

Shadow Domains

A very common scam is the creation of "shadow" domains that funnel users to a website by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains will often be owned by the search engine optimization company that claims to be working on a client's behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor's domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.

Here is an example of a company that employs shadow domains.

Top of Page

Doorway Pages

Another illicit practice is to place "doorway" pages loaded with keywords on the client's site somewhere. Search engines look down upon this practice, and this technique typically has little to no value. These pages are typically one-way by design, meaning that no other pages on the site will link back to them. This will devalue the doorway page significantly. Another drawback is that these pages can be easily stolen and employed by competitors.

Top of Page

Guaranteed Rankings

No one can guarantee first place rankings on the major search engines. It's impossible. The very nature of how these search engines crawl and organize their databases preclude anyone from a 'guarantee' first place.

That said, there are some search engine optimization companies that are better than others. Just be sure to do your homework when researching this service, and be sure the company you choose offers a money back guarantee.

Top of Page