Rank Rage
by Steve Winkler

While the Search Engines do their best to ensure the end user 
receives relevant search results, you should do your part to
protect against marketing bullies. These inconsiderate marketers 
have difficulty positioning their sites properly so they turn to
techniques, tricks and tactics that have been banned or 
prohibited by the prominent and popular Search Engines. Only a 
few years ago Highway Patrol units and Police departments began 
profiling our roadways for "aggressive" drivers in an attempt to
curb the phenomenon of Road Rage. More than a few drivers take 
out the stress of their daily lives on the roadways causing 
hazards to all other drivers. The connection between Road Rage 
and overly aggressive marketing are related in their common lack 
of regard for other individuals.

Road rage has moved to the Internet as certain Guerilla Marketers 
have shown little regard for legitimate marketers who follow the 
rules prescribed by the Search Engines. Website marketers are 
throwing down the gloves and showing aggression in their haste 
to catalyze their Search Engine ranking processes. Much like in 
the situation of Road Rage this new anomaly of Rank Rage has 
potential risks to the initiator of unscrupulous marketing 
techniques as well as to ethical marketers such as you and I who 
do play by the rules. 

DEFINITION:

Rank Rage can be defined as aggressive marketing that circumvents 
common and prevalent Search Engine requirements in order to gain 
an advantage in the Search Engine ranking process. 

ORIGIN:

The adult and gambling industries have pioneered, dominated and 
essentially destroyed the opportunity to circumvent the rules 
and regulations of the major Search Engines. It was not too many 
years ago that a doorway page you thought would lead to a page 
on 4 Head Hi-Fi VCRs actually led you to the front page of an 
adult site. Redirect pages and doorway pages were the first 
incarnation of Search Engine Spam. 

THE PROBLEM:

Rule conscious marketers lose business to less legitimate 
marketers looking to gain an unfair advantage and to make a 
quick dollar through the use of prohibited Search Engine ranking 
techniques.

Analogous to being broadsided by a truck at an intersection, the 
work of an unethical Search Engine Marketer can leave you with a 
mess to clean up. The reason that you are not ranked as well as 
you should be may not be entirely your fault. 

The practice of Search Engine Marketing/Search Engine 
Optimization (SEM/SEO) has lately become a function of what not 
to do as much as it is a function of installing the proper 
components of factual information into a site to create 
positioning. In defense of the honest business person who simply 
wants to have a fair advantage in the online marketing game, the 
major Search Engines have offered "Dos and Doníts" and general 
rules of conduct in order to position well within their indices. 

Google states that they can and will manually remove violators 
of their stringent requirements. Once removed there is no 
guarantee of being included again in the index even if the site 
is cleaned of violating factors. As a marketer, the cost of not
being top ranked in Google can be devastating. A recent study 
states that Google now controls over 50% of the Search Engine 
market. To lose your chance of reaching such a large portion 
of the Search Engine market is not a worthwhile risk. 

Whether it be through the use of generic doorway pages, user 
invisible text, link farming or cloaking, certain marketers find 
it more important to obtain results than worry about the risk of 
being removed from indices. 

Recently, I have noticed that firms within the SEM/SEO industry 
now have 0/10 or "current page is not ranked by Google" messages. 
This is unfortunate and should send a red flag to potential 
customers that there is more than just a slight chance that 
rules have not been adhered to in order to obtain positioning. 

As a marketer being disadvantaged by the lack of adherence to 
the rules, you will perhaps have legal footholds in the future
with which to retaliate against those that unfairly steal 
business. 

RECOGNIZING OVERLY AGGRESSIVE MARKETING:

While SEM/SEO has been viewed by many as the ultimate tool for 
guerilla marketers, the environment of SEM/SEO is now more mature 
and requires attention to detail and consideration of others 
seeking to use this medium for business promotion. In fact and 
theory this has been true throughout the history of online 
marketing. In the past 2 years the Search Engines have taken 
great strides to ensure relevant search results by establishing 
rules of entry into the major databases. 

Spam in the email world typically refers to UCE (Unsolicited 
Commercial Email). In the Search Engine world Spam refers to any 
separation from strict adherence to the rules of positioning set 
forth by the Search Engine. Fortunately, legitimate marketers 
and SEM/SEO firms recognize what to do and what NOT to do. The 
practices which had worked and had been state of the art even a 
year ago may not be so today and understanding the rules which 
you need to follow in order to maintain proper positioning may 
be best handled by a professional Search Engine marketing firm. 

While Rank Rage takes many forms it typically includes the 
following techniques:

* Cloaking
* Hidden Text
* Nearly Invisible Text
* Doorway Pages
* Plagiarized Text
* Link Farms or Link Schemes

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

When making marketing decisions always err on the side of 
caution and closely adhere to the rules set forth by the 
engines on which you desire positioning. Below are a few 
resources that are worth paying mind to in your optimization 
process or, if you do have a professional firm conducting this 
work for you, insist that they follow these rules. 

Google: http://www.google.com/webmasters/index.html

AltaVista: http://addurl.altavista.com/addurl/new#rls 

Fast/AllTheWeb: http://www.alltheweb.com/info/about/spam_policy.html 

Inktomi: http://www.inktomi.com/products/web_search/websearch9.html#user 

YOUR OBLIGATIONS:

In order to protect your rights and the validity of Search 
Engine results, you can utilize the following contact information 
to report Spam violations and overly aggressive marketing 
techniques. Report incidences of Rank Rage as appropriate to
secure your legitimate online positioning.

Listed below are a few contacts to where you may report alleged 
Spammers.

AltaVista: http://addurl.altavista.com/help/contact/search 

Google: http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html 

Inktomi: reportspam@inktomi.com

Fast: spam@fastsearch.com 

Teoma: info@teoma.com


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Steve Winkler is the Business Development Manager of the 
www.KeywordRanking.com team of Search Engine and marketing 
professionals. Steve Winkler has experience in demographic based 
marketing, interactive marketing programs and business efficiency 
consultation. For more information, a free ranking report or a 
free in depth consultation please visit:
      < http://www.keywordranking.com/index.cfm?ref=24a >  
Steve can be reached via email: swinkler@keywordranking.com
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