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Friday, September 2, 2005

Search Engine SPAM: Sneaky JavaScript

Posted by @ 1:37 am

Firstly, I must preface this article with the warning of: “Please do not try this at home“. Also, if you think this is going to be a “how to use JavaScript to spam the Search Engines”, you are going to be sadly disappointed.

Have no illusions, using JavaScript to SPAM the search engines is a black hat SEM tactic which is totally unethical and when (not if) you are discovered, it will get your site banned by the search engines. SPAM is the ethical search marketer’s mortal enemy.

What is JavaScript?
JavaScript is a scripting language (developed by Netscape) used by website developers to enhance the user experience by allowing dynamic content and interaction. Quite simply, JavaScript is what helps make web pages dynamic and provides personality to the page ( i.e. on clicking on this button, take this action.).

JavaScript is downloaded and then interpreted by the browser automatically (generally), without the user knowing it. It is a client side scripting language, meaning that it is run on the local user’s computer and not on the website server. Obviously this has security risks associated with it, but that is another issue.

Sounds great! So what is the issue with using JavaScript?
Some sneaky black hatters have used JavaScript to hide their keyword stuffed pages. They are doing this by building pages that are extremely keyword rich but offer no value to anyone. At the bottom of these pages, they are doing a redirect to another page, which may or may not have value to the searcher.

The search engine spider comes along and reads the page and then follows the redirect. However, it has indexed all of that spammy content.

When using a search engine, a user is then presented with that page in the results, and after clicking the link, is automatically redirected to another page – not the page that was listed in the results. By page I am talking about the URL and content being radically different from what the user was expecting.

What are the search engines doing to prevent this?
Well there is a two pronged approach. The first: as search engines notice examples of JavaScript SPAM (and other forms of SPAM), they manually remove the offending site from the index.

The other way, is to build better algorithms that automatically identify the search engine cheaters. Search engine spiders can and do read JavaScript. They will look for redirects using JavaScript and penalise them accordingly.

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Discussion (1 - comment)

same old stuff. I’ve bee using a js to hide (not redirect) outgoing links. It seems that until now it has no relevance for SE.

By Anonymous - September 6, 2005

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