SEO Mistakes: crappy doorway pages

Warning: this post is not safe for work, children, or pets. It contains strong language and the word “assclown.” Mom and Dad, stop reading this blog entry now. It wasn’t me; Jeremy started it.

Okay, spam-reading posse, ready to roll? This time, I’m going to cover two spammer mistakes in one post. Take a look at in Internet Explorer. Looks fine, right? Something like this:

Good florist page

No problems? Okay, now load the page in Firefox 1.0.7 or so. Interesting, huh? The page looks like this:

Spammy doorway page

So why do you see a spammy doorway page in Firefox, but not in IE? Because the SEO company messed up the doorway pages, and their sneaky redirects only work in IE! The page loads some external JavaScript from, which looks like this

document.URL=’Html/main.asp?res=’ + screen.width + “x” + screen.height;

In Internet Explorer, this does an immediate redirect away from the spammy doorway page–the user never sees the keyword-stuffed page. But Firefox doesn’t parse that code, so 5-10% of visitors are left staring at a crappy doorway page!

Okay, that’s mistake #1. Mistake #2 is shorter. Look at the bottom of the page. See this text:


That’s right, the SEO that couldn’t even get a sneaky redirect right was *also* adding links to itself from the client’s pages. I see this all the time: clients who didn’t know what their SEO was doing can actually get their PageRank sucked away to the SEO or the SEO’s other clients. Classy, huh? That’s why our SEO guidelines tell you that you need to understand what your SEO is doing on your domain. To the SEO that did this to a mom and pop florist site: after your site is removed from Google’s index, your reinclusion process is going to be.. difficult.

Here’s my takeaway points:
1) Do not hire an assclown SEO that makes doorway pages with sneaky redirects.
2) If you do hire an assclown SEO, make sure they don’t half-ass your sneaky redirects so they only work in one browser.
3) If you’re staring at broken doorway pages that your lazy-ass SEO made, go ahead and check if they were hiding links back to themselves or to their other clients.

104 Responses to SEO Mistakes: crappy doorway pages (Leave a comment)

  1. Hi Matts, i had a discussion with this agency yesterday about this domain name,, it was the usual agency speech about having some contact at google that told them “oh looks good great job”, i don’t buy it. I do understand the need for something like this because of the nature of the site, heavy use of dynamic links and bad spiderability. But any kind of misdirection should be picked up. On the other side there is the whole relevance issue that actually works well here but still any use of sneeky stuff like js 0 pixed frames in this instance is not regarded well. What do you think ?

  2. assclown SEO – lazy-ass SEO HEHEHE

    what type of SEO am I .. lol


  3. I just want to add one more to your takeaway points.

    4) If you use some dodgy redirect make sure your cloaking of that redirect works 24/7 and your crontab entry doesn’t go astray!

    Well done Matt, you got me !

    Thankfully there are another 3270 sites all using the exact same technique that all have multiple #1’s 😀

  4. DaveN said: what type of SEO am I

    A fat one ? 😀

  5. Gr8 advice Matt.
    Who’s that assclown who did that?

  6. Ah Matt, didn’t someone say “practice what you preach?”

    What assclown search engine engineer must have done that (and does anyone really think it’s removed now — it’s probably just better hidden). How is his “reinclusion request” coming along?

    Did you ever stop to think that perhaps…. perhaps… that link is not to the SEO guy who did it but to a different site, perhaps a competitor? I see it all the time…

  7. Matt,

    Can you check

    and check it doesn’t set your ass clown flag off.

  8. My personal thoughts: Now when I’m looking at that assclown SEO I’m having good fun.
    But personally thank’s to Matt posts I’m changing myself and SEO techniques. I have been Dark Vader but now I’m starting to be Luke Skywalker.

    Thank’s Matt. I’d like to be a “white” SEO 🙂

  9. I’m glad you are blaming the SEO. Most people will not be aware of the Google Guidelines. And most people do not know what PR is and would have no understanding of redirects.

    Your post highlights two of the problems in this SEO industry.
    1) People praying on the lack of knowledge of others.
    2) People getting greedy – wanting more for less. Or in other words thinking their SEO can be done for $9.95 a month.

  10. Huh? Are you now teaching spammers how to do their spamming right?

    By the way,.. That´s just great that you show that Google knows about spamming,. but it is disapointing to see that Google isn’t doing anything about it. That spam site in position 6 for its main keyword Floristerías

    Me is very confused about this!!!

  11. Matt,

    Using the google translate tool – I had a quick look at that site. I think you’ve jumped to an incorrect conclusion deciding that ‘work’ was done by an assclown seo.

    I suspect the culprit is actually a much, much more common garden variety assclown webdesigner.

    Pure unadulterated assclownery requires absolutely no knowledge…..


  12. >clients who didn’t know what their SEO was doing can actually get their PageRank sucked away to the SEO or the SEO’s other clients

    Pagerank can be [b]sucked away[/b]?

    Oh boy – well that comment just killed natural linking dead I reckon 🙂

  13. I’d plea in favor of the defendant, applying Henlon’s Razor (“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”).

  14. Well since we’re outing people who cloak this morning, try changing your user agent to ‘googlebot’ and viewing this link

    So if they add the little disclaimer ‘This info is not intended to be read by a human.’ does that make it ok? Of course the part that is absolutely priceless is it’s report about finding link spam.

  15. Graywolf – that is priceless.

    Stanford – now officially Spamford.

  16. adds links to itself from the client’s pages too and it was banned and readmited in two weeks and now it’s first in “posicionamiento en buscadores” another time (it was there before the ban) (

    How can this be possible?

  17. he said assclown huh huh 😀

    Remember that only 1-2% of them are any good. 😉

  18. Era hora de que empiecen a escuchar a los hispanos…

  19. Matt, your blackhat-busting never stops brightening the day does it?

  20. Thanks for using an spanish example.
    Maybe you can see now different articles on the “papers” in Spain 😉

  21. >>Pagerank can be [b]sucked away[/b]?

    >>Oh boy – well that comment just killed natural linking dead I reckon

    OK, I get it now. By shooting down, recips, paid links and now telling the masses that they will bleed PR, Matt is trying to single handedly put an end to a link based algo.

  22. Gurtie,

    “Oh boy – well that comment just killed natural linking dead I reckon”

    On the countrary. That statement encourage natural linking. Because the case Matt was referring to wasn’t natural linking at all. Either way, linking to the “SEO” firm or linking to compititors, I wouldn’t call that natural linking. Do you?

  23. Mistake #3

    if (navigator.appName.indexOf(‘Netscape’) != -1)
    document.write(“Sorry, http://www.$$$$$$.com in only viewable in Microsoft Explorer.”)

    if (navigator.appName.indexOf(‘Microsoft’) != -1)………

    someone recognized this before and found the solution!

  24. Hey Matt, no post about the Google Homepage API being opened up?

    I’m managing to do some cool things with it! (clicking my name will take you to one of the cool things I did).

    I think this is a great (overdue) move… But before I write a hacked together scraper to show adsense/adwords/analytics stats on the google hompage, somebody at google needs to make an offical version. It’ll save me a day’s worth of work 🙂

  25. >> That’s why our SEO guidelines tell you that you need to understand what your SEO is doing on your domain. To the SEO that did this to a mom and pop florist site: after your site is removed from Google’s index, your reinclusion process is going to be.. difficult.

    Glad to see you starting to target the SEO/designer types who use their client sites to suck away PR from the clients and generate it for themselves. The trouble is that this becomes a “1 down, 10 million to go” scenario.

    My question is: when do you target the other web designers and design companies that do this? This has bugged me for years, since there are a lot of innocent and unknowing clients that suffer as a result of this.

    Also, it is theoretically possible that the “SEO” wasn’t redirecting in this manner for SEO reasons, but rather for screen resolution reasons. There is a querystring passed from the Javascript that suggests that this is the case. As long as the florist herself isn’t going to get burned (her site itself does enough of that for her without the SEO’s “help”.)

  26. So, are you saying that having the designer’s link at the bottom is bad and will hurt either the site or the designer? The traditional point to this was that if you design a good site and the owner approves, to act as a business reference. So if the site owner agrees to the link and allows you credit for the site, you’re saying this is damaging to one or both parties? Explain this, because to me if it’s an approved link, it should not be a lunishment at all, it’s a design credit.

  27. Programming-Designs,

    “Matt, your blackhat-busting never stops brightening the day does it?”

    And here is a song for you 🙂

    Matt SpamBuster Cutts 🙂

    If there’s something strange
    In the Google serps
    Well who ya gonna call?

    If there’s something weird
    And it don’t look good
    Well man who can ya call

    Who, I ain’t afraid of no spam
    Who, I ain’t afraid of no spam

    If you’re seeing spams
    Running through Google serps
    Well who ya gonna call

    An invisible text
    is under a website
    Now who can you call

    Who, I ain’t afraid of no spam
    NO Who, I ain’t afraid of no spam

    If you’re all alone
    Pick up the phone
    And call…
    SpamBuster 🙂

  28. Assclowns must find it hard to sit down, what with those rubber noses in the way and all.

    Let’s see how quickly Matt’s post can grab the #1 spot for “assclown”. Shouldn’t be hard, the current top-ranked page only has a few links back to it.

  29. Addition to Mistake #3
    My mistake (I swear), did not realized I could end this page, writing the “end body” tag, which is removed now so it doesn’t make much sense now.

  30. Haha, great stuff Matt.
    And why are you still using 1.0.7? 😛

  31. I’m from Spain,

    Here some months ago was lots of SEO companies that uses black hat for get the pages up, several hidden code in , strange repeats on keyword and description TAGS, lots of links to other clients and always to their web page into , doorways, etc.

    A month ago aproximatelly Google ban to the first SEO company (for clients not for quality) in Spain and its Hosting partner (one of the biggest hosting company in spain). They were black hat SEOs for several years, and other smaller companies try to simulate they, but some or there were very quick banned, we don’t know why (maybe for the PR7) these company was never banned until last month. Now after 20 days aproximatelly they has been alive another time and it’s hosting partner too. They appears to stop makeing black hat SEOs technics (I’m not sure that DIV Layers with displacement bar is includes in black hat, but they are using they). With that, the other black hat companies appear to have learned from that, and now the technics they use are soft, don’t be really white hat, but are less agressive.

    The only issue that they continue makeing is the link to they SEO company always!!!

  32. Amazing…

    Another fine example of leaping before you take a ‘good’ look…

  33. Ok, but how about Webpositer? This SEO company was banned a month ago. They has a linkpopularity newtwork bassed on stolen links in the code of their clients. Now, webpositer is again #1 in google in ‘posicionamiento en buscadores’ (search engine positioning) Does he won hundred of links in the month he was banned? No. This web (and company) is being enyoing the same that has been stolen before he was bannes, at least most of them that wasn’t removed by their clients. Now this company is the first reference by google in SEO in spain, and that’s because he stolen links in the code of their clients. The same thing your now talking.,GGGL:2005-09,GGGL:es&q=posicionamiento+en+buscadores
    (if you see the incoming links, you’ll see them hidden in the code of their clients, with the anchor ‘posicionamiento en buscadores’).

  34. Hi Matt,

    What do you call these : lol

    These are taking over porn rankings, there are a number of phrases which produce oodles of these doorway pages ! there are many many domains so do searches to locate those domains 😉

    Find them with searches on some of the strings of text :

    Busty blonde perfect, (include the , and “” would kick ass)
    Theres a few more.. lol

  35. Your search – “assclown SEO” – did not match any documents. LOL bodged results 😛

  36. Found an example of a site hawking a book today. The book itself would never have interested me, so I clearly landed there by accident.

    Sure, they’ve added LOADS of pages with search engine scraper content at the bottom, and the promo for the book at the top. And then they lead the spiders to the pages by having a site map.

    powerofcharismabook dot com

    Good case for spam busting, Matt?

  37. graywolf, that happened while I was out of commission because of my cat; thanks for the reminder to circle back around and check that out.

    Ryan, I think the iGoogle API is incredibly interesting. I had a browser tab open and was getting ready to talk about it when Jeremy called me out. So my intention of talking about valid ways to get links got postponed. I keep trying to get out, but they keep pulling me back in to talking about bad seo instead of good seo!

    Gurtie/Maroon, this linking wasn’t natural at all. I once caught this happening with a large catalog retailer (you’ve heard of them). Their SEO had done a bunch of doorway pages, then on the doorway pages they hid links to the SEO and the SEO’s clients, without telling the catalog retailer. So the SEO charged this huge company to make spammy pages, then got the retailer to link to the pages, and finally pulled that PageRank away to the SEO’s other clients. I don’t think the catalog retailer was amused when they found out what the SEO was doing.

    Gary, I spend hours a day in my browser. I’m not gonna switch to 1.5 until I hear that it’s ultra stable, and all my extensions work in it. 1.0.7 works fine for me for now. 🙂

    Not sure if I’ll do a separate post, but it’s definitely worth taking action on, Spamhuntress. Thanks for mentioning it. 🙂

  38. Matt,

    >>To the SEO that did this to a mom and pop florist site: after your site is removed from Google’s index, your reinclusion process is going to be.. difficult.

    I’m going to second the comment by JohnMu. I hope Google double and triple verifies the true spammer in these cases. You’ve now presented another method that one website can damage another and believe me, you are read widely enough and there are very “enterprising” blackhat SEO’s who would use every opportunity to knock out a competitor and get them banned for a long time.

  39. Matt,

    Nice stuff.

    As Ryan states, I would also encourage you to elaborate on the new Google Homepage API.

  40. That’s funny stuff. I don’t think window.URL was every the proper way to redirect the user.

  41. I will have to inteview that Spamhuntress, what drives someone to dedicate her time to hunting down spam? I understand why Matt does but what the heck does she get? Did her mom only feed her spam as a child? Did she work on a farm and lose her favorite pig to the chopping block?

  42. Heh, to Aaron,

    I think investigating is fun, and spam is a never ending source of stuff worth investigation. I don’t have as much time as I’d like these days, with my dayjob and all. But today I’d just finished a server project and didn’t really feel like doing another major project, so sort of ..fooled around with spam hunting.

  43. Matt once again you brighten my day by talking about the subjects that most of us complain about within the Las Vegas real estate market. If you truly want to see doorway pages check out the number 1 site in google for the market mentioned above.

    Every bad Seo Tactic you have talked about over the last several days on your blog is being used by several of the top sites in this real estate market and others but yet they have been doing this for years now. Everything from doorway pages, link farms, purchased links, cloaking, hidden text and some nice little redirects.

    You make it sound as if Google is stopping this or wanting to, but in the real estate industry as a whole none of us have seen it.

  44. Matt – It seems to me the debate is not really about linking, but about *excessive penalties* for things seen as hurting the indexing process. Are you executing people for running stop lights? That works well but isn’t it also kind of …. Evil?! Would you say that “Extremism in the defense of the Algorithm is no vice”?

  45. saying “sucked out” is what I was talking about, not penalising a site you think is spam 🙂

    Giving people the impression that linking to others can “suck out” the PR from the page doing the linking is pretty obviously going to make people not want to link out. That will hurt natural linking, no?

    Or do only ‘bad neighbourhoods’ suck out PR and ‘good sites’ work differently somehow? I sort of like to know these things since I do lots of linking out from clients sites and none of its paid for…..

  46. Hahahah, Matt how do you find these websites? I would never personally hire SEO firms to do SEO jobs for my website. I trust me, myself and I.


  47. Gurtie

    “saying “sucked out” is what I was talking about, not penalising a site you think is spam :)”

    I see. So it was about “sucked out” 🙂

    “Giving people the impression that linking to others can “suck out” the PR from the page doing the linking is pretty obviously going to make people not want to link out. That will hurt natural linking, no?”

    I would say that people should be careful to whom they link to. Because linking without (rel=nofollow) could be considered a vote of confidence and the page do pass PR to the other site. But of course I could be wrong 🙂

  48. Gurtie, if I hire Shady SEO Inc. to make some doorway pages on my site, I would be surprised, and dare I say miffed if, without telling me about it, Shady SEO Inc. had hidden links on the doorway pages on my site to Shady SEO, Shady SEO client #1, Shady Porn Site, etc. etc.

    If Shady SEO had told me in advance, it wouldn’t bother me much. But if Shady SEO had never disclosed that some of my PageRank was being diverted (“sucked, if you will” I say in my Jon Stewart voice) to other companies’ pages, I’d be a little pissed.

  49. Aaargh! All links should have nofollow on them by default now? Please let’s not open that can (of worms) again…. 😉

  50. the entire point of encouraging natural linking is that people link to valuable sites they consider a good resource. They are meant to do this naturally (big clue in the name 🙂 )

    If people think that by linking to [the BBC] they will get their own PR sucked away, then many will stop linking. That is unnatural.

    So Matt talking about PR “Sucking” will kill natural linking, even more than its already dead.

    If you’re saying Matt means that only bad sites suck PR then I better go remove those links I’ve previously done to some guy called Jeremy who despite all my due dilligence appears to have now turned into a bad neighbourhood and is likely sucking like mad from all over the web.

  51. Geez, enough with the obsession over not linking out already. OK, so I don’t link to really bad sites without nofollow. But a healthy collection of natural links without a glance to whose pages they are, is the hallmark of a natural site.

    I’ve seen way too much paranoia over this outgoing link thing. I know a site owner who pitches a fit if someone posts a live link. This is a PUBLIC forum. She’s got this SEO sounding reason for her stance, but it’s just bullshit. She doesn’t know the first thing about SEO, she’s just heard SOMETHING about outgoing links being bad. She will actively break links in profiles, signatures and posts if she finds them. And you’ll get a really bad lecture if you manage to get a live link on there. Right now I think she’s using the bad words substitution feature to break links. She has no valid reason for allowing no links at all.

    Shaking head…

  52. I thought sub-domain spam was tackled but it appears not to be. is doing SEO for who has sub-domains for all 50 states and at the bottom of each of those sub-domains is using that space for obvious clients:

    Is this now the way to go?

  53. I don’t agree with Search Engines Web — search engines CAN read alt text and seem to be doing a good job of it. But he’s giving me an entry that I’ve been waiting for ever since you banned my site, hours after I posted here. 🙁

    What about Flash? We were using an industry standard javascript redirect to detect for Flash. (four years ago that was the best approach). And search listings would display “we are redirecting you to our flash site” so we started putting some of our Flash content on the page – links from our portfolio, descriptions of our services, etc. And 3 weeks ago we were banned! I get it now that it was spammy, but we had heard it was legit as long as it was helping rather than tricking the search engines.

    I know that Flash sites are bad for SEO. We and many others advise our clients not to build Flash sites because of SEO. The tail is really wagging the dog. The Flash development revolution was quashed by the SEO movement. Is there an approved way display Flash content for SEs?

    (I know there is some tail-wagging-the-dog-ass-clown joke in there but I can’t think of it right now).

  54. S-E-W – the asshat clown is the SEO, not the site owner: “Do not hire an assclown SEO …”

    as far as I understood it, the SEO got the penalty, not the site owner — even if that means they will probably keep the cloaked site running until they find someone who can fix it for them. Matt — since you got them into the mess, will you offer to fix it for them for free? 🙂

    So is the answer now to put a link to a different SEO company on your cloaked pages? Looks like it would work, then just make sure Matt “finds” the link… Now whody’a trust? With enough sites, you could bowl a company out of the serps in no time. Google with it’s cowboy spam-hunters (shoot first, think later – if ever) will gladly help.

  55. Good arguments for IP-based cloaking, Matt. For a site like them, it would probably even be best to use IP/Geolocation cloaking (everything outside of Spain = cloaked page). Just wondering – would you have been able to spot it then, without pulling more tools out of your toolbox and going at it manually?

    Looks like my $2000 were well spent 🙂

  56. Classic Matt. Will the real slim shady SEO please stand up?

  57. This page just caught my attention — I viewed it in Firefox first, and then checked in IE and indeed, it’s a lot of keyword stuffing which didn’t get its share of crossbrower testing… they keywords show in Firefox!

  58. Let’s see:

    1. Don’t buy links
    2. Don’t reciprocate links
    3. Don’t link to other web pages because it sucks PR from your web page.

    Did I miss anything?

  59. Search Engines Web,

    You, my friend, missed the mark almost completely.

    A florist’s site does have to have aesthetically pleasing, high-quality images. Having built a site for an online silk wedding florist, I know first-hand that this is an absolute MUST. No argument there at all.

    Buuuuuuut…the images on that site are low-quality, relatively small JPGs that look like they were shot with a digital camera. They’re not high-quality pictures. Granted, beauty is subjective, but those pics have flaws such as blurriness that indicate a lack of effort and/or quality.

    As far as search engines not reading the images, what about the alt tags? If you make the alt tag match the text of the image, or use an alt tag to accurately describe the image, an SE will read that just fine, thank you very much.

    The site does NOT need an external JS, nor does it need any form of a cloaked page, to make it SE-friendly. The site is framed, designed to present different things to different screen resolutions, and provides no recourse for FF users or those who don’t have JS enabled. It’s a weak effort.

    I’m with Matt, only I’ll take it one step further: the designer AND the SEO (unless they’re one and the same) are ass clowns and, assuming Matt’s making the only ass clown reference I know of, should be put into the Walls of Jericho immediately. Although the more I look at it, the more I start to believe that the problem may partly be related to poor design.

    The site owner shouldn’t be punished immediately, but if nothing is done about this for a period of time should (provided they’re made aware.)

  60. Why are one of the world’s largest publishers allowed to get away with this “”

    I can undertstand why you highlight the above floral example, but is this SO different, “blatant manipulation of other networked sites in Google. Does Jagger tutn a blind eye to anyone who may have a mega adwords budget?

    P.S I have no affiliation to the above site or


  61. RE: “I’ve seen way too much paranoia over this outgoing link thing”

    Amen to that! All one needs to do is read Google’s webmaster guidelines and ignore most of what you read on forums etc. Especially the ones where black-hats are welcomed with open arms, SEW, WMW etc.

  62. RE : “The site owner shouldn’t be punished immediately”

    I dissagree with that.
    Spam should be removed as soon as it is detected. Some people may think that kind of deception really works and they start imitating.
    It’s amazing how many people still think that simple hidden text can be beneficial and the only reason i can see for that is … well… there’s so many sites that seem to get away with it.
    The longer it lasts the worse it becomes.
    There should not be any exception too… even if some well established site is guilty of spam, penalize them and burry them deep down in the SERP’s.
    Spam = spam = penalty or ban , no matter if they would rank high without the spam, the fact that the spam can be noticed should be enough to trigger the penalty.

  63. the whole “penalty” idea is flawed.

    Google’s approach should be “reward the good”

    not “punish the wicked”

    while they may sound like they’re the same thing, they’re not.

  64. RE: “the whole “penalty” idea is flawed.

    Google’s approach should be “reward the good”

    not “punish the wicked””

    I agree! In fact I believe this is what happens in main already. Just because we see spammy pages in good SERP positions, doen’t mean their getting there has anything to do with the spam. IMO, it’s only when Google’s algo (which likely ignores and does not credit the usual spammy tricks) cannot cope that a manual intervention (ban) is needed.

    Those of us who stick within the guidelines are rewarded.

  65. If we’re going to pick on a site we should at least use a more modern example – the old ones are too easy a target.

    Plenty of sites from no recourse for FF users or those who don’t have JS enabled.

    No recourse because you can’t ….
    enable javascript:
    Tools -> Web Features -> Enable JavaScript

    approve the site in noscript:
    click ‘Disabled’ down the bottom right and allow it

    load another browser:
    Start -> All Programs -> Internet Explorer.

    or load another browser:
    Start -> All Programers -> Opera

    or click the big message that says:
    – “Para entrar en la página web hacer click aquí” which I loosely translate (without knowing Italian) as saying “bla bla bla click here to enter the site”

  66. Oops. This went in my last post, but the orphan < ate it.

    Plenty of sites from <= 2003 used frames, redirected based on browser, resolution or capabilities, and some even put tacky “Best viewed in IE 4 (or NS)” messages.

    It could use an overhaul, and it’s 2 years old and due for one anyway.

    A bad website that’s a little more modern would be more interesting to discuss.

  67. You don’t have to know Italian to translate that site, Ben. It’s in Spanish. 😀

    Danny, I’d agree except for the fact that, in this and many other cases, the owner is clearly not the designer. The only thing the owner is guilty of is not doing her homework. Give her the chance to actually DO her homework, and then if she doesn’t, then you can punish.

    I see a lot of business owners (and I’m sure Matt sees about 500 times what I do) that got a site they didn’t want, doesn’t work for them, and serves as nothing but a miniature ad for a web designer or design company. The owner’s already suffering enough, and a little compassion is certainly justified.

  68. > You don’t have to know Italian to translate that site, Ben. It’s in Spanish.

    Aaaahhhhhhhhh now I can read it. Thanks 😀

  69. >The only thing the owner is guilty of is not doing her homework. Give her the chance to actually DO her homework, and then if she doesn’t, then you can punish.

    The owner isnt guilty of anything. All she needs to know is flowers.

    Danny, spam = site penalty is flat out wrong.

    People tend to forget that the majority of site owners out there dont read this blog, Google’s guidelines, or anything else web master related. Most are, as Wayne mentioned, small business types who just though they were being forward thinking for buying into this Internet marketing thang. They dont know an assclown from an asswipe. It isnt their fault that they hired an unethical or incompetent (or both) SEO to get their site going. Heck, some of the spam I see is so amatuerish that its probably some soccer mom/real estate agent’s kid who did for a school project and got mom to pay him a few bucks to boot.

    Neuter the spam, publicly flog the assclown SEOs who perpetuates this stuff, but leave the ma & pa site owners alone. Is it really that tough to design an algo that just zeros out the apparently worthless attempts at spam?

    OK, now to answer that question; the answer is a “yes”, because its clear that in many cases spam techniques work, or else we wouldnt be having this discussion.

    BTW Matt, by nuking the assclowns, like you have done in the past with a few of these seo guys, you did save some from a fate like Wayne’s.

  70. assclown 🙂 I love the Office Space references.
    I’ve got some flare for you blackhats.

    I do have a small comment. I’m a web contractor who typically builds small sites and I link to the current project I’m working on. I think this is valid but I also “think” it passes the bot to the site a little quicker than waiting for the submission process. Is this wrong?

  71. “get their PageRank sucked away”

    Does this mean outbound links, on any given page of my site, will lower the PR of that page, and therefore push it further down the SERPs?

    I like linking out to quality and relevant sites, it helps my visitors, but I will have to stop if the result is all my PR being ‘sucked away’, as nobody will find the site in the first place!

  72. >OK, now to answer that question; the answer is a “yes”, because its
    >clear that in many cases spam techniques work, or else we
    >wouldnt be having this discussion.

    That is life. Spam works, otherwise Matt / Google wouldn’t be trying to make such a big fuss about it, they’d just let the algorithm do its work. Let’s assume 10 Million spammy sites out there (probably more), Matt can manually ban 1 every 5 minutes, that makes about 410 man-years of work (in which time new tricks will have come up, along with another 100 Mil. spam sites). Somehow…. somehow I think the manual check + ban system is fatally flawed. If I had 1 or more of those 10 Mil spam sites I wouldn’t be worried, 0.2% of the spam sites manually removed each year? It would be more likely that I’d be hit by lightning.

    Keep scaring the spammers, Matt, and hopefully they’ll clean up their acts because of the 0.2% per year risk :-). Or perhaps it would be a good idea instead to let monkeys do the spam banning and you work on a better algorithm?

    If you’re still reading Matt, can you give us a clue as to why some sites to rel=nofollow on internal links? I can’t even look at without getting blinded by my Firefox markup 🙂

    Also – any chance of taking on assclowns like They index the “proxied” content in Google under their URL, with their ads, removing adsense, etc. See


  73. RE: “OK, now to answer that question; the answer is a “yes”, because its clear that in many cases spam techniques work, or else we wouldnt be having this discussion.”

    Oh *some* spam techniques *may* work for a while (as do many other unethical/immoral acts) but all get caught sooner or later.

  74. If you go to the web of the assclown SEO and you se the sourcecode you can see a lor of text in the “noscript” tag within a textarea…. they look like script kiddies.

  75. Hello Matt:

    According to your commentaries the process of reinclusion of a Web after being banned is dificult. I would like to know then as it is the reason that (I am sure that you know them) only returned to be admitted one week after being banned.

    A greeting.

  76. Matt,

    It´s still ranking high?

  77. I spot it at #1 for floresteria Valencia and #7 for floresteria 🙁

    So what’s the point ?
    build a throw-away site about a so called web designer or SEO, use spam to make your clients rank high and link those sites to the throw-away domain ?
    Google will only penalize the throw-away site (who cares) and won’t ban the spammy site because they feel sorry for the poor site owner ? Come on now… ban the thing.

  78. Oops, spelling misstake … florEsteria should be floristeria

  79. >build a throw-away site about a so called web designer or SEO, use spam to make your clients rank high and link those sites to the throw-away domain ?

    SEOs on the lam? Constantly looking over their shoulder for Inigo? I can live with that. If that SEO is left to just using throwaways, then he wont be in business long.

  80. >SEOs on the lam?

    My apologies to the legit SEOs. I should have said, “assclowns”.

  81. Dear Matt,

    I would like to say sorry if i have done something wrong.

    I would like to contact you to explain you something and get advice on how to solve the problems could I have done.

    Please send me an email or tell me how to contact you.



  82. Hi Matt. I have a question that I think many SEO folks would like clarification on. It is widely reported now that ODP utilizes human “editors” who often show bias when deciding who gets an ODP listing and who doesn’t. I’m sure Google is very aware, not only of the potential conlict of intereste issues, but actual examples of bias (i.e. fueled by personal economic interest) that weaken the “organic” nature of ODP listings.

    So, the million dollar question is, how much value does Google place on an ODP directory listing when it comes to scoring a site?

    Thanks in advance.

  83. The Spanish Web also uses paginas door and many, nobody búqueda that becomes for example “pisos Madrid”, gives to the result you that a page that repeat “Madrid pisos” until the infinite and quickly you redirige toé00E3CÂÃBB35C1A468FC88D344&pgFrom=1004&marca_blanca=A3&idioma=es&opcion=OperacionGrupoProv1-0-28 ajjjjjjjjjj

  84. can you recommend some good SEO companies?

  85. Don’t worry, legit SEO’s don’t waste time reading Bloggs, they read the Google guidelines every now and again and that is all they need to know. The rest of their time is taken up working.

  86. Lisa:

    Assuming it’s the site that your name is linked to, you may want to consider fixing up some of the design issues first (specifically, the one where the table is too wide to fit on most screen resolutions and creates a horizontal scrollbar.)

    No point in generating traffic that’s just gonna leave anyway, right?

    But on the plus side, that blonde at the top of the home page (in the “safe, fun and mature” graphic) is pretty hot. Gentlemen, I propose that we make the blonde The Official Hottie of Matt’s Blog. We can profile her, publish her turnons, possibly a Playboy spread, and link back to Lisa’s site (without the nofollow attribute either) so she can get some free publicity.

  87. Matt, seriously, still using 1.0.7? 😀

    1.5 is much more stable, and is faster. Most extensions are updated, and you can re-enable disabled ones with an extension called Nightly Tester Tools. What you want to do is, install 1.5 and that extension, then enable one by one the disabled extensions and restart. If one is seriously buggy, you’ll know about it 🙂 and you can just start in safe mode and disable/remove it.

    If you’re using Greasemonkey, make sure to upgrade it to 0.6.4+

    Btw, there are now a number of 1.5-only extensions out there (e..g “how’d I get here”, “tab preview”, and, er “Google Safe Browsing” :)) – it’s really worth upgrading 🙂

  88. Good advice, Ian. Maybe I’ll tackle it sooner instead of later. Thanks for the advice.

    Antonio, if you have any sway over that site, I’d remove the redirecting doorway pages from the main site before Google removes it from the index. I’d also make sure that any doorway pages for other clients didn’t have links to yourself buried in them.

  89. Hey Matt,

    Great article, thanks for opening my eyes – I can’t stop finding examples of this now I know about it! I can see why SpamHuntress is so hooked on spam hunting ITS FUN.

    Unfortunately, it’s not just ma and pa’s flowers website that seems to have been given the treatment. Look at this: who is also:

    Boots is a waaay big company in the UK and if they’re letting this trick on their site why shouldn’t ma and pa ?

    Keep up the great blogging.

    Happy Holidays and Merry Chrismakkah!


  90. Matt, thanks for the cool Spanish example! I’m sorry for Antonio and his positioning business…

    Now – what about Webpositer and Acens? Has there been a rollback of the index? How come the two biggest spammers of the Spanish ‘net are back in the SERPS at their usual positions when they were banned very recently?

  91. It’s most definitely not just ma & pa sites doing this (thanks for the example Bill!). I’m a usability analyst and actually come across this quite alot too. For example, another British website (I’m sure its not just the British!) is who are hiding stacks of text in some kind of JS disabled div hiding thing. They’ve been doing it for years. They’re a huge travel operator, maybe biggest in Britain, but seem to be getting away with it too.

    I’ve always just left these sites alone expecting Google’s algo to find them and kill them. Is there a technical way of finding these sites and cleaning up the search engines?? Is Google working on something or just leaving it to human intervention?

  92. Nice!
    I like these kind of articles and I am trying myself to find those kinds of sites.
    It is a good iniative to put up this blog.
    Perhaps when I get my show on the road I will write articles about those SEO tricks that actually works.

  93. Another good example: www_islascanarias_es_mn/
    Look with and without javascript.

    This page belongs to a company that floods all the real-estate results of the Canary Islands in google (with good positions).

    Another one: atrea_com, look with and without javascript, and all its subpages.

  94. > If you’re still reading Matt, can you give us a clue as to why some sites to rel=nofollow on internal links? I can’t even look at without getting blinded by my Firefox markup

    The SEO of the SEO Chat site is based on my work with – great seo. A link is a link, and be it internal or external, it gets a portion of the PR that any one page is able to give. So if you reduce the number of live links via rel=nofollow, then there is that much more PR for the remainder of the live links. Why have a live link for “new thread”, or “post reply”, or many other non essential links. You want as much PR to the threads and forums that have content that ought to rank high.

    Then there is what I call the same site penalty, where too many links to related sites can mean that Google only shows one of your group of sites for a particlar search term. So it you still want to keep the links, you have to rel=nofollow all but say one link. Then Google over time will turn off the “same site” switch and each will rank in its own right.

    Such logic has been applied to vBulletin from version 3.5.

  95. T2DMan: sorry, I’m not Matt, but you’ve basically validated something I suspected (and asked about earlier), and I thank you for that.

    There’s one problem with your “remove nofollow for all but a single link” idea that I can see, and I’m curious to know how you deal with it. So I’ll change my identity for a minute to give you an example:

    (Adam disappears into a closet and reappears one minute later as…)


    And I’m going to show YOU how you can lose 120 pounds in just 15 DAYS with my ultra-cool new super greatest weight loss pill ever! Now come check out my spammy crappy ugly-assed one-page doesn’t-tell-you-bugger-all-about-the-product-which-doesn’t-do-anything-anyway site at www dot some spammy site dot com !

    (Adam changes back)

    You still leave yourself open to potential forum/blog spam, which is the whole idea behind the rel=”nofollow” link in the first place. And since it’s still the first link (at some point, anyway), it would be followed and therefore gain some PR from your site.

    So the question is: how do you deal with/get around this issue?

    Second, if the PR is redistributed at full value among the remaining links, then what happens to those who spam blogs by creating them with signatures and then just fill the things with random crappy posts? They actually get rewarded for this as a result (and yes, it is occurring or I wouldn’t have thought of it.) I hate to reask a question, but I can see a real potential for abuse here.

  96. Adam, I was not suggesting that just the first post to a blog/forum should be allowed a live link. Certainly make all links from comments as rel=nofollow if that is what you need. My single live link comments were directed at the specific “same site” issue.

  97. My apologies, T2DMan. That second question was directed to Matt.

    I’m pointing out that, based on what you said and what I suspected, that there’s a spamming potential issue.

  98. Matt,

    Reading through this post and the comments, an interesting idea came to me.

    I get less referrals from Google than from Google images. I’m convinced that Google believes I am using a blackhat technique. Can you find the blackhat SEO on my site? (I’ve linked to the site in comments to some of your previous posts). If you can find it, please feel free to use the site as an example of what not to do. I’ll be the first to take your advice.

  99. Hi Matt,

    Just realised that the website with hidden spam mentioned by PRotheus in the first post of this thread, The White Company, won the prestigious NMA Best Use of Search award last year here in the UK, which was also sponsored by Overture ( Surely, if you’re handing out awards you have a responsibility of determining what a company is doing and not reward them publicly if it’s spamming the Search Engines.

    Great blog btw!

  100. Did we actually get confirmation from Matt that are in fact spamming?? I don’t think we did so it may well be a strategy that’s okay. The suggestion in the post by PRotheus is that the SEO company responsible for it said that Google said it was okay. And they’re still in Google’s index so maybe it actually is okay. Matt, can you clarify on this one once and for all??


  101. Peter, I hadn’t commented on either way. PRotheus mentioned the site first. In general, if an SEO is doing something that claims to be counter to our web guidelines but claims some secret contact at Google gave them permission, I’d be very skeptical.

  102. Hi Matt,

    I’m rather concerned with the number of blogger sites that are artificially rising to the top of the search engines. Keyword-rich names are registered and the blog then has, dotted around the copy, the main search phrase. This precludes real websites functioning on the search engines if the status given to blogger continues.

    What I really want to ask is: does Google regards such practices in the same light as doorway pages and, with links into their main site, what is the effect on that?

  103. Hi Matt,

    My mistake wasnt this big, I had four non visible links to inside sections of my site . I wont bother with the justification and plead ignorant , a gut feeling told me i was being naughty. In the eyes of google I spammed and yes I did.

    Heres the thing. Thankfully I was warned about it the day we were dropped saying to ask for reinclusion. Having reviewed the email and our site I emailed for reinclusion admitting that it was me who made the screw up , that it had been removed and would never happen again.

    Everything is geared in the reinclusion towards blaming seo companies or somebody else but i had to put my hands up if i wanted to stay honest. Overall our site has value and clients say its well constructed.

    Do self confessed people get a second crack at the the whip or have i thoroughly shot myself in the foot?

  104. if these people use an SEO company then they get what they deserve – seo companies are all cowboys, There is no degree is SEO, not even a basic qualification, but these “professionals” ask for extortionate fees on par with a solicitor or accountant.

    Its true that the majority of blogs are set up just to promote the owners URLs, or create revenue / sell ads, and they are not entirely white hat – they are more grey hat, but what can be done about it – theres no point in moaning