No one likes spam. However, just like breathalyzers sometimes mistake an innocent person for a drunk, search engines sometimes confuse legitimate marketing techniques with spam. Or even worse, what if someone uses your site to promote their spam and you get penalized as a result? Here are some of the most common spamming methods you want to watch out for and avoid at all costs. Getting caught spamming will quickly destroy any progress you have made with web marketing.

“When one page is served to search engine crawlers to get a good ranking but a different version of the page is served to search engine users” it is called “cloaking”. Some cloaking includes changing meta tags, while others don’t, but it is spam however it is done.

Another technique that is called several different names is when users are taken to a site that is unrelated to their original search. Whether you call it “spoofing, redirects, or meta refresh” it makes search engines very suspicious fast meta-refreshes. If you have a legitimate reason for redirecting your visitors, most web experts recommend using server-side redirection. Avoid using JavaScript to redirect people, as that is distrusted by many search engines as well. “Mirror sites” are web pages that are identical, but placed under different domain names. Some web developers also refer to mirror sites as “domain spamming”.

Keyword stuffing is annoying both to search engines and to the casual visitor to your site since it makes your text virtually unreadable. Clever spammers have discovered new ways to covertly keyword stuff a site such as shrinking the text to make it unnoticeable and setting the text color to match the background so the stuffed keywords are invisible. Of course the most commonly known spamming technique is flooding the web or email addresses with your site by “over-submitting”. This is an intentional spamming method as is creating misleading links to fool search engines. Deceptive or irrelevant tags hidden in web pages or attached to the title are yet another way for spammers to illicitly promote their site.