For myself, Integrity with the work I provide means a lot. In the SEO industry, early in my SEO career, this was around 2001/2002, I was working for Enquiro Search Solutions (they were then known as SearchEnginePosition.com). I was in charge of handling the SEO for the main company website. Back then, there were doorway pages or anchor pages as SEP use to call them. These were keyword rich pages designed to rank for a particular page. This was common practice for a lot of companies’ way back then. Now, this technique would be used on clients website (also using the hidden 1X1 pixel) remember that old trick? Anyways, on the main company website we never delved into that tactic, except for about 2 days. For the main company site SearchEnginePosition.com, aside for those 2 days, we kept to focusing on quality and following the best practices with the major search engines.
About those 2 days or so in question
Now I tried looking back on Internet Archive: Wayback Machine, but I was not able to find changes/content in question. Essentially when researching some of the competition, for some of them, I was noticing that some were using the doorway pages for their services. Here they would pick some popular phrases (all relating to the same service) and write up some content with the sole purpose to gain additional traffic. This tactic back then worked a lot of the times for sites in many industries. This tactic is still popular with some SEO companies today still unfortunately, what they’ll do is create GEO targeted pages for cities they do not have a location in. These are still doorway pages.
With SearchEnginePosition.com, against my better judgement I tested out about 3-5 doorway style pages with targeted keywords. I wasn’t totally comfortable with it from the start. So the pages went up, and within about a day or so, my boss Gord Hotchkiss, was notified that SearchEnginePosition.com was banned in Alta Vista for one year. Ouch! Back then apparently Alta Vista was out for anything that remotely looked like spammy and they were not pulling any punches. The penalty was a bit harsh in retrospect, but it did teach a valuable lesson. Needless to say, the doorway style pages were taken down ASAP, never to venture into the spammy world again.
The Price You Pay for Quick Rankings
The price of quick rankings and going against SEO guidelines was not and is still worth the risk in my opinion. The longterm goals of the company need to be in check. These quick little shortcuts can potentially backfire and/or stop working altogether and that will leave you far behind your competitors. That was the one brush with the SEO law that set things straight for myself. Back then the top Search engines were Google, MSN and Yahoo. Alta Vista was one of the other minor search engines, so at least it wasn’t Google that did the banning, very lucky regarding this. What this lesson taught me was to focus on providing quality work, keeping the long-term goals in mind, and remember that each business that comes to us is relying on us to follow the rules and provide them with the best marketing possible. Short cuts in SEO are not worth it. One needs to keep integrity and longevity in-check for a business. At the end of the day, one needs to stand behind their work.
Today, one of the biggest sources of Spam I’m seeing a lot is with Google My Business (GMB) Listings. There are set rules that companies are suppose to follow, but there are many that still spam their listings, but at this time, there seems to be no real fallout for any GMB listings that are breaking the rules. One of the most simplest things that you can look for with a GMB listing is the actual name listed. This should be the official name of the company, no keywords added, and all caps are not allowed (practitioners/lawyers are able to have their own individual listings aside from the official company. These will follow them if they ever change companies.). Take a look on Google Maps and see how many companies you are able to find breaking this Google rule. Chances are you will see a few in the top 3 for various searches, especially in the major cities. Often these sites will get edited by Google Local Guides, but often the listings will be back to the spammy keyword stuffed title and there’s no real consequences that it seems right now. It’s like the wild west with Google My Business. Eventually I can see Google setting up in some form to help deal with the spam on a industry wide level. Google announced on local Google My Business Scammers. For the entire month of March 2018, from Monday to Friday I tracked these Google My Business phone scams for some phone numbers. Needless to say it is not surprising that little over a month after this big push from the GMB Local scammers that Google is going after them.that they are taking action again
The temptation to spam or go for the quick fix is always there, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. My lesson was learned very early on in my SEO career.