How to Do Terrible SEO

the joker

The Joker from Batman

13 Lucky Steps to Search Engine Oblivion.

I first wrote this a couple of years back (so please note that some details may be out of date) for fun and published it on eHow.com, EzineArticles.com and also AssociatedContent.com (now owned by Yahoo) but since I have now incorporated a blog into this site, I have decided to post it here too. It will be an interesting test of how Google handles the potential duplicate content conflict (see step 13 below), particularly in light of Google’s recent “Farmer Update” (changes made to Google’s search ranking algorithm in February). Clearly this post will look like a later copy of the original articles but those articles each contain a link to this site which may be sufficient signals that this domain hosts the original source. Mmmm … we’ll see!

I should firstly point out that the guidance below is not guaranteed to get you poor rankings. Despite following some of my own advice, I have achieved many number 1 rankings for AdJuice. You should therefore be prepared for setbacks in your downward journey to last place in the search engine listings. My list is not exhaustive (exhausting, maybe?) but comprises my assessment of the 13 essential steps to ensuring your website is seen only by you, your web designer and your lawyer. If you want to get your SEO correct, don’t read any further. Call an SEO specialist!

1. Planning your terrible SEO campaign.

SEO has nothing to do with website design so leave all SEO considerations until the website is live, especially this article. If your website is still work-in-progress, then please return to read the rest of this later. A few months after you have finished admiring your new website, learnt how to monitor the number of visitors to the site and discovered there aren’t any, ask your website designer if they know anything about SEO. This may be the point you learn that the content management system they have used to design your site does not allow access to the source code and that your website cannot therefore be optimised for search. If your designer confirms they spent 2 weeks submitting your site manually to every search engine on the planet (and another week to some that aren’t), then you can take a breather, secure in the knowledge that you got off to a flying start in the race to the bottom of the rankings.

2. Change domain names frequently.

It takes time to build up good rankings for nearly any domain so change domains often. Spammers tend to buy and sell domains quickly so an old domain with many high quality links from other sites is one sign to the search engines that you are likely to be a bona fide business and not a spammer. Once you have acquired hundreds of quality links from other sites and started to see some improvements in your rankings it is time to select reverse gear. Change domain names and, in the process, break your links and leave the search engine robots (and your customers) stranded. If you have a short domain name that incorporates your principal keyword, is synonymous with your brand and easy to pronounce (for example, phones.com), then it is time to be more creative, dump your world class domain name and choose a spammy keyword domain name.

3. Use lots of hyphens in your domain name.

Choose a new catchy domain name that should bring immediate search engine success because it not only constitutes a sentence containing many of your keywords but it is also a ‘call-to-action’ phrase which will increase click-through rate. Include hyphens to separate the keywords so that the domain name is easy to read and so that your most valuable keywords are clear to the search engines. Your new domain should be something like “buy-the-best-value-and-most-reliable-mobile-phones-here.com.” Whatever you do, make sure you get as many hyphens in your new name as possible. You should have little problem convincing Google that your Fortune 500 employer is actually a spammer and earning yourself a ‘Google slap’ of 100 positions in the rankings. You are learning fast and well on your way to earning your next demotion.

4. Use lots of Flash content.

Design your home page entirely with Flash programming to impress your visitors with your creative wizardry. In the past, Flash content was barely recognisable to Google but they have recently improved their ability to spider and index it. But don’t be too discouraged by Google’s progress. It still represents an invaluable opportunity to handicap your rankings. It is important that it is the home page that is Flash because that page usually has the most inbound links and is therefore likely to have the best ranking potential. If your home page is all Flash and takes 2 minutes to load you may even be able to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ because your visitors will get bored and desert your site even before Google does.

5. Aim for 50% keyword density in your content.

Cram as many keywords into your website’s on page (i.e. visible) content as possible so that the search engines are left in no doubt about the theme of your site. The content may be rendered unintelligible to humans but this is just a necessary compromise. If you are going to have to alienate your visitors in order to satisfy the search engines, you might as well go the whole hog. You may not have appreciated the reasons behind this technique in the past but you have seen it many times on websites that feature terrible SEO, poor SEO, dreadful SEO, amateur search engine optimisation, awful SEO, (seo), SEO, appalling SEO, SEO, even worse SEO. Will this page soon rank well for the term “terrible SEO” Would it be “terrific” SEO to rank number 1 for the term “terrible SEO” or a contradiction in terms?

6. Make meta keywords tags over 735 characters.

If you exercised self-restraint, out of consideration for your readers, with regard to cramming your website’s on page content full of unintelligible keyword gibberish, then you can revel in giving full expression to your search engine expertise here because the content of this tag is invisible to readers. Make sure you include about 100 keywords in the tag and repeat your top 5 keywords about 3 times each. If you are short of keywords, then include all possible misspellings here. Google disregards the meta keyword tag when determining rankings but, if your keyword repetition count is high enough, you might just be successful in being classified as spam and being penalised. Persistence pays, so do not give up until you hit rock bottom.

7. Ignore your meta description tags.

These tags do not directly affect rankings but Google frequently extracts text from the content of your meta description tags to provide the text which is displayed for your website in Google’s results pages. Since this content is off page, it is invisible to any reader unless they are viewing the summary for your site that is displayed in the search engine results pages. If you do enter text in your meta description tags, make sure you have unappealing content in it to minimise the prospect of surfers clicking on your link. Or better still, ignore the tag altogether. Google will likely oblige by arbitrarily extracting some random, inappropriate and unappealing content from somewhere low down on your web page content for inclusion in your search results listing. Ignore this tag because playing Russian roulette with your marketing message is much more fun than having to deal with new business.

8. Waste your page titles.

Page titles play a big role in determining rankings and therefore offer one of the greatest opportunities to waste. Bypass this opportunity and instead focus on making sure that (any stray) visitors who stumble upon your website feel welcome by presenting them with something like “Welcome to our home page, we hope you like it and will visit us again”. Whatever you do, use up the space without including any of your most important keywords. If you do include keywords, place them at the end of the sentence where they have less influence on rankings. If you cannot decide on what words to put in your home page title tag then follow the example of many other poor ranking sites by leaving yours blank too. Not only will this prevent good rankings but when your site does appear in the search results, nobody will know what your site is about because the blank title tag will leave Google no option but to insert some other random text as the first line of your results listing.

9. Use frames on every page.

Frames make it difficult for search engine spiders to follow your code and index your site. This is one of the best tips to ensure the CEO will not be able to find the results of last year’s £300k marketing budget. By the way, the CEO will be doubly mad because he will not be able to find his business card when he goes to look up the new website address on it. This will be because the business card will have to be made so wide to accommodate all the hyphens in the new catchy domain name that it will not fit in his favourite standard size cardholder. You should now be sensing that your website’s rapid descent into oblivion is likely to be surpassed only by your own.

10. Link to bad neighbourhoods.

Your website’s rankings will be improved by the genuine acquisition over time of lots of links from highly authoritative websites that are about a subject closely related to yours. One way to negate this beneficial effect is by engaging in thousands of link exchange schemes with poor quality irrelevant sites. Buy lots of links from sites that are not related to yours but which might pass Google PageRank to yours. Read up on the term ‘bad neighbourhood’ and quickly make your way down to the nearest one.

11. Use cloaking, redirects and doorway pages.

Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to users and search engines. Serving up different results based on user agent may cause your site to be perceived as deceptive and removed from the Google index. Use JavaScript to hide redirects from Googlebot. When Googlebot indexes a page containing JavaScript, it will index that page but it cannot follow or index any links hidden in the JavaScript itself. Use of JavaScript is an entirely legitimate web practice. However, use of JavaScript with the intent to deceive search engines is not. Doorway pages are typically large sets of poor-quality pages where each page is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase. In many cases, doorway pages are written to rank for a particular phrase and then funnel users to a single destination. Read Google’s guidelines on this subject very carefully so that you are an expert on all the rules you are now about to flout.

12. Make your page URLs dynamic and complex.

A variable page URL for a page might look something like “http://www.yoursite.com/Product1.asp?ProductId=109&ID=838″ whereas the static equivalent might look something like “http://www.yoursite.com/cheap-diamond-watches.html.” Googlebot can spider and index variable URLs but usually does so more slowly than with static URLs. However, the real opportunity you can pass up is to include some tasty keywords in your URL which not only aid rankings but also click-through rate. There are some good software tools for converting dynamic page URLs to static page URLs but just ignore these and move on to the next and final killer technique for terrible search engine rankings.

13. Copy all your content from other websites.

The search engines run filters on content they are indexing for the first time to check for duplicate content. They do this so they have the best possible chance of returning as many unique results to searchers as possible because this enhances user experience. If it already has ‘your’ content in its index because you have copied it from other sites, you increase your chances of being omitted from the search results pages altogether. The sad thing is you may never discover this and therefore be deprived of the joy of knowing that you actually surpassed your goals. You have done one better than get the worst rankings.

Your website does not appear in the rankings at all!

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