Over the years, I’ve made a habit of prodigiously extolling search engine best practices per contra to taking shortcuts designed to trick search engines into trusting that an online destination is something it is not. This Halloween, I’ve decided to produce an antithetical essay to my digital morals and beliefs by way of parody and embrace the dark side of search engine spoofs.
Fear of spiders?
Not a problem. There are many ways to keep unwanted arachnids from crawling through your content.
For starters, why not avoid using visible text on your website? Embed as much content as possible in images and pictures. Better yet, make your site into one big splash page that appears to scroll to infinity and beyond.
Also, make certain that the imagery loads as slowly as possible. Consider yourself lucky that you will be able to streamline your web metrics around paid search campaigns and not worry about those pesky organic referral terms [not provided] by Google anymore. Keeping spiders out of your content is your first step toward complete search engine invisibility.
When it comes to URL structures, try to include as many ampersands, plus signs, equal signs, percentage signs, session IDs, and other dynamic parameters as possible in a multifaceted, splendidly deep file structure. That way, your website will be made up of really long URL strings that can confuse humans and spiders alike. Even better, add filters and internal site search functionality, metrics tags, and other superfluous attributes to your URLs, just to keep the search engines guessing about your site structure. Get ready to burn your site’s crawl equity to the ground, while watching your bandwidth spend soar, when you wrap your site up like a mummy with this navigational scheme.
If you really want to turn your website into a graveyard for search engine spiders, consider using completely unnecessary redirects on as many different URLs as possible, taking multiple hops along the way. Combine permanent and temporary redirects with soft 404 errors that can keep your content alive in search indices forever. Make certain to build in canonical tag conflicts, XML sitemap errors, perpetual calendars and such, reveling in the knowledge that you will never have to waste precious development time fixing broken links again!
Content creation budget got you down? Build in new economic efficiencies by using the exact same content across as many domains as your budget can spawn. Invest in machine-generated content instead of having to listen to those troublesome user reviews. Make “Spamglish” the official language of your website. Since you don’t have to worry about looking at what keywords Google allows to send traffic to your Frankensite, feel free to target irrelevant keywords on as many pages as possible.
Additionally, try to keep all the title tags exactly the same on the critically important pages within your site. Spiders don’t have good eyesight – sometimes you have to shout to get their attention. Consider keyword stuffing as a way to make certain that the search engines understand precisely what your site is all about. If you don’t have room to stuff unnecessary contextual redundancies into your web content, consider using hidden text that flickers like a ghost when users mouse over what looks like dead space.
Still not convinced you can hide your site from the search engines this Halloween?
Break out the big tricks, my friends, because we’ve got some link building treats to share.
If your ultimate goal is to bury a domain name for all eternity, make certain that you participate in as many link farming free-for-all sites as possible. When you get a chance to do so, go ahead and “splog” other’s guest books and forums. In addition to buying site-wide text links, demand that your backlinks be placed in the footers. While you’re at it, sell a similar “service” to others.
Consider hiding some links in places that surprise visitors and always embrace bad linking neighborhoods. You know the type of sites I’m talking about… they’re the spooky ones and the non-paranormal that a business person would avoid.
Have a wonderful Halloween this year, with the knowledge that you too can make a website completely disappear!
Disclaimer: I don't actually endorse that you try any of the above; everything in this particular column should be taken with a serious dose of tongue-in-cheek.