Recently I came across a shady action that was taken to help increase in search results. The nature of the action is somewhat hard to understand, but let me try to explain how SEO squatting occurs. Typically the code and type that is put on the back of a website shows to the visitors on the front of the website. However, some code is designed to only be read by robots such as screen readers and spiders that crawl the web and index it (Google, Bing, etc.).
The way some unethical folks “squat” on others search results is by hiding the name of the competitors business inside the robot only code in their website. This code does not display to the visitor, but will be crawled by search engines and subsequently displayed to people who search for the competitor on Google, Bing or other search engines.
An unethical decision such as this has fiscal implications in that the business who is cheating will gain some of the traffic off of the competitor’s marketing efforts. This is unfortunately an action that can create unwanted legal ramifications and unnecessary attention to the cheaters website in a negative light.
It is best to “keep one’s nose clean” when it comes to SEO and web design. Don’t take short cuts, and don’t cheat. Ethics are important in this industry because our clients rely on us so much to make the right decisions with their business presence.
Examples of places that SEO squatting can occur:
- <title></title> – Inside the end of title tags
- alt=”” – Inside alt tags on images
- title=”” – Inside title tags on images
- <meta name=”keywords” content=”” – Inside the meta keyword content area