Where there’s money to be made on the Internet there will be spammers! In this article we’ll go through 4 techniques that spammers still perform today to try and trick Google for high website rankings.
What Is A Spammer?
A spammer tries to find loopholes in Google’s algorithm to allow high keyword rankings for their website or their clients. The majority of Google’s algorithm updates are to eliminate spammers websites appearing on Google’s results. You may have heard the term ‘White Hat’ and ‘Black Hat’ Internet Marketing, or SEO, practices. White Hat is supposed to represent the correct method of optimizing a website whilst Black Hat represents spam techniques.
Every now and again a website does rank high on Google for a selected keyword, but quickly starts losing those rankings until they have disappeared altogether.
So what are these Black Hat techniques spammers use?
Commenting on blogs has been an all-time favorite with spammers and will be for many years to come. They usually create a free WordPress account using a throwaway email address. When they fill in the form you are required to include your Name and Website address. In the Name section they do not include their own name like real people do, they include a keyword they want to be ranked on the search engines. In the Website section of the form they include their URL or their clients URL.
As nearly 90% of blogs are created using WordPress, they have a huge directory of blogs to start posting their spam comments on. Within WordPress you are able to search blogs by sectors and you are produced a huge list. The spammer simply works their way down this list leaving their comments.
Most blog commenting systems require all comments to be approved by the moderator before they are published on the blog post. Some do not require this approval and get published immediately.
The spammer is now on a blog post (maybe yours!), as they have already created a WordPress account with their information, they do not need to fill in the Name, Website and Email section of the form, only the comment section itself. They do not read the article and contribute their thoughts in the comment box, they simply use a generic sentence or use some terrible software that generates a sentence that makes no sense what so ever! Take a look below at what I mean.
The whole idea of leaving these comments on people’s blogs is to receive an anchor backlink. If you take a look at the below image you will see their keyword is automatically generated into a link to their website from the information they filled in. 99.99% of the time these backlinks are nofollow, meaning they do not get any credit from Google for this backlink.
Pings and Trackbacks
Many blog owners are unaware of how much spam is actually in their HTML code due to Pings and Trackbacks. These are another form of spam, very similar to blog comments. Pings and Trackbacks connect your blog post to another users blog every time your post has a mention on another blog. For some reason, WordPress allows Trackbacks as default when you install their blog. You should turn this off immediately! View the below image to see how to turn this off, I will explain below.
Pings do not benefit your site at all and are completely worthless. All they do is attract spammers that fill your HTML code with their URLs. They get no benefit either from this but it still doesn’t stop them. Here is the HTML code of a blog post that allows Pings and Trackbacks. (i had to crop this code as it was 300+ lines of pingbacks!)
Depending on the age of your blog, the chances are you have 1000’s of these Pings on your posts. Once one spammer realizes you accept Pings they alert all their fellow spammers saying “I Have Found One!” and they join in spamming your post. The only way to get rid of them is by logging in to your WordPress Dashboard > Comments > in the drop down menu select ‘Pings’ > now say good-bye to the rest of your day and start deleting them all!
Submitting a websites URL and keyword to 1000’s of website directories is also a favorite technique of a spammer. These websites hold no content or theme at all, instead they are just page after page of links all split up into different categories.
There is software to submit URLs to these directories, spammers can do this within a matter of minutes. They then just sit back and think…
Wrong! Google have released 2 updates (Panda & Penguin) with the primary objective to remove all link directories from their search results that are only created to produce links. In 2013, 94% of these website directories have been removed from Google, and still growing. The website is still there and you can still view it, but since the site is not indexed in Google all the links within the website will be pointless.
For the more educated spammer! We all know the best way to create a backlink when Internet marketing is through writing a quality article and guest posting it on a trustworthy, relevant website. Please step forward the educated spammer! Instead of sitting down and spending a few hours researching and writing a great post that readers will find interesting and share on their social media accounts, these spammers steal your article!
They literally copy and paste your whole article, run it through some spinning software and publish it on another website, crammed full of their own backlinks! Say hello to Penguin and Panda.
These 2 Google updates have also help stop spammers spinning articles and in the same way as link directories, removed many article directories from their results. Google can now distinguish if an article is unique or has been spun. By the way, the spun version of an article never sees the light of day on Google.
These are the main 4 techniques spammers use to try and trick Google for high rankings. Google is now so far advanced that these spammers can no longer use these techniques for high keyword rankings. Unfortunately today they still manage to find different ways…
This blog post is by Kev Massey. Kev works for SixtyMarketing, based in the UK. I help new businesses get started on the Internet and direct them in the right way to avoid them being ripped off by these spammers!