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How to report spam to search engines

A real nuisance for search engines are webmasters that try to deceive them to obtain high rankings (called "spamming").

The following techniques are usually considered spam by the search engines:

  • cloaking (the server returns different pages for search engine crawler programs and for Web browsers)

  • cybersquatting (using domains that resemble common domain names to get traffic from users that make a typo, for example, www.gogle.com)

  • doorway pages or multiple domains with identical or nearly identical content

  • invisible text (text in the same color as the background color)

  • offensive content (e.g. hate views or offering illegal services)

  • overuse of keywords

  • overuse of tiny text

  • stuffing pages with irrelevant words

  • submitting to inappropriate categories (on directories)

  • using deceptive or misleading links

  • using irrelevant keywords in the title and in the Meta tags

What can you do if you discover that other Web sites get better search engine rankings than you because they use one of the techniques above?

The search engines encourage reporting spam to them. We've compiled a handy list of addresses where you can report search engine spam:

Always be fair to search engines and don't try to cheat them. You'll get the best long-term results for your Web site by building good content and a thoughtful reciprocal linking strategy.

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September 2002 search engine articles