More false claims and misguided advice are being fed to the Internet community every day.
I can’t help feeling frustrated and distrustful after reading articles from opposing “Experts” about the do’s and don’ts of Search Engine Optimization. If you believe these so-called experts, the don’ts continue to multiply and the dos are diminishing to a point where eventually only the “Experts” will be able to perform Search Engine Optimization effectively.
One of my goals, as a web professional and writer, is to dispel some the myths and expose the outright lies that these Disinfo Experts are spreading.
The truth is, every website owner can increase their websites popularity, simply by providing quality content for their visitors. The idea that all websites are dynamic in nature, not static, and should be updated regularly, is one of the fundamentals of good SEO.
Without a doubt websites are most effective when continually updated with new and interesting information. Website owners, who embrace this principle, often have a sincere desire to provide visitors with quality content, will go to great lengths to provide fresh and relevant information, and refuse to fall into the trap of allowing their website to become stagnant.
This is the third article in a three part series I wrote about SEO Disinformation. SEO DISINFORMATION CONTINUES TO INFECT THE INTERNET MARKETING COMMUNITY and DISINFORMATION OR EXPERTS WHO SIMPLY DON’T AGREE? explore the pros and cons of Link Exchange and Meta Tags, while this article covers the use and abuse of Gateway pages.
For those new to Internet Marketing and Website Promotion, I’ll explain what this forbidden practice is and how it’s used. Then I’ll talk about some of the disinformation that revolves around the use of this tactic. And I’ll point out some of the alternatives to help you with your website promotion.
The goal of this article is to inform readers about proper and ethical practices of Internet Marketing and open people’s eyes to the alarming reality that many Search Engine Marketing professionals are intentionally flooding the Internet with misleading claims, for their own gain.
Gateway Pages – What are they and how are they used?
Gateway pages are web pages designed specifically for attracting search engine spiders. In the past many Search Engine Placement companies would deploy Gateway pages as part of their strategy to drive traffic to your website.
Loaded with keyword rich content in an effort to gain top placement in Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines, gateway pages target a single keyword phrase and incorporate links to the Real website. This tactic is intended to attract spiders with the intent to have the page indexed with a higher ranking then the competition.
One belief is that gateway pages are enticing to search engines because of the keyword saturation.
Explanation: The importance of having pages indexed by search engines is so that visitors find your page first when searching for the keyword or phrase, your page is targeting. With gateway pages visitors are then redirected, either automatically through scripting or by the visitor clicking on a link that takes them to the real site.
Another belief is that the gateway page linking to your website, will count as an inbound link to your site.
Explanation: Inbound links are very important for increasing Page Rank. The more inbound links to your site, the more importance search engines place on your website.
Link building is a different topic, but I will say this; while it’s true that inbound links to your site help to increase your sites page rank, there is another side to this argument. I’ll discuss this in greater detail in the next section.
The real story:
Disinformation experts don’t want you to know this, but the reality is, gateway pages create many problems for website owners as well as Internet users.
Gateway pages typically are not hosted on the same server as the website they promote. This is important because in most cases the site that hosts the gateway pages have a different domain name then the website they are promoting.
The problem with this is that visitors searching for your product won’t land at your website; they’ll land at the gateway page. Then if they’re interested in finding out more they’ll have to Click Through to your site.
Advocates of this practice would argue that this is a plus, because search engine spiders place a higher value on pages with more inbound links. Hogwash!
While it’s true that search engines do place a higher value on websites with more “relevant” Inbound links: links that come from websites with a high page rank. Gateway pages don’t have enough page rank to count as a “relevant” link to your website.
This means that websites linking to your website must already have a high page rank for the link to be considered valuable.
If websites linking to your site have a higher page rank then yours, and are targeting the same keywords as yours, those websites will be listed higher, in the search engines.
The gateway page is competing against your website.
Gateway pages are not intended to promote your product or service or even your website. They are intended to trick search engine spiders into thinking the content on the page is related to the keywords you wish to rank high in.
In reality the content is usually worthless to visitors.
When searchers end up at a site with little or no content relevant to their search, they become frustrated and discouraged, often to the point where they lose interest and move on.
Should you be concerned?
The answer is yes! However there is a simple alternative. A much more effective strategy is to create keyword rich content that adds value to your website and resides on the same domain as your website.
Writing articles and editorials related to your industry, products and services and continually adding new and relevant content to your website is far more effective in the quest to increase your sites popularity.
Providing searchers with information they are seeking is the true purpose of the Internet, a goal that all website owners should embrace. (For a truly inspirational story about this, I encourage you to read Google’s company history and mission statement).
Visitors who find a site with relevant information to their search will spend more time on that site then if they were duped into going to there by a gateway page.
Visitors who spend more time your site are more likely to become subscribers or customers.
Still, there are many firms who fail to adhere to these principles, and sadly, the website owner is the one penalized for the use of unethical practices.
Disinformation experts will tell you, “Your competitors all do it” and “It’s not illegal”. These reasons are not sufficient to put yourself and your website at risk by engaging in unethical practices for personal gain.
When your website is targeted for engaging in suspicious activity, the experts won’t be around to help when search engine administrators ban your website from their directory.
Undoubtedly the use of unsavory practices will continue to plague the Internet, and there is very little that can be done to prevent it. However, armed with the right information website owners can make smarter decisions and improve be part of the solution.