I felt it was important to cover the history of internet marketing because as the quote goes “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. In the world of internet marketing this is something that could sink your website and greatly hurt your business. I want to show people what people were doing as early as the mid 90’s through recently. Anything on this page is generally considered something that will get your website penalized by the major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing. So if you see it listed on this page best practice would be to just remember what it is and avoid it.
From early on website developers learned the more times put a keyword they wanted to rank for in their page, the higher they would rank for it. Many pages would just have their pages filled with their keyword, and it was obvious what they were trying to do. A less obvious way was for them to stuff the meta description and meta keyword with the keywords. Its this reason that neither of these help much if at all in ranking a website. I would even argue that you gain more leaving the meta keywords empty. Again at this point in the internet there is only a slight advantage if any to using it. What you gain by leaving it blank is that your competitors need to work a little harder to identify all the keywords you are trying to rank for. No reason to do the keyword research for them is there?
Another common trick that I noticed back in the 90’s when I was learning HTML was that at the tops and bottoms of pages there would be a lot of text or links that were the same color as the background of the page. This was so that the site developer could do more keyword stuffing, and not have the content of the site hurt, but still rank highly just because of the number of times the words appeared on the site. This has not worked for some time, and so you not see much of this anymore as most sites that do this will not appear in the search results because of it.
Long ago people realized that they could show the spyders the search engines use one page, and users another. This is called cloaking. What a spyder does is it goes around the internet following links on pages so that it can find, identify and index pages on the different sites. So people would set up a page just for these spyders so when they came to the site they would see something very optimized to make them think it was a great page on something. The user that would go to this site might find anything else, even completely unrelated to what they were searching for. It was this reason that the search engines penalized these sites hard. It is still possible to do this to a limited degree, but again the price for getting caught means that any time and money you have invested in the site is lost as it might never be seen again on the SERPs. It is just not worth doing this as there are far better ways to rank sites.
For a long time the way sites were ranked was on the sheer number of links they had to their sites. The way it worked was each link to your site was a vote for how good your site was. As you can guess, this was a very easy metric to game. Software was developed that could blast out millions of links to your site in a very short amount of time. Depending on some factors this can work now, but only short term. It does not take long for the algorithm to catch it and deindex the site completely. This is why payday loan sites get dumped so much. It is a technique called churn and burn where they clone a working site and simply blast it with links to rank it. A few weeks to a month later once it has been deindexed they strip any content off of it and let its registration end.
Anchor Text Ratio
Back in the day (not that long ago really) you could just spam your website with whatever anchor text you wanted to rank your website for. So if you sold dog toys, the majority of the links to your site would be dog toys, fuzzy dog toys, squeaky dog toys, or whatever you were selling. This method worked about as well as keyword stuffing did a decade ago. Now the way the Google algorithm is set up, doing this will make your site sink like a rock in water. I’ll go over what they’re looking for in the state of things today section.
Many professional marketers are now regarding page rank or PR as it is often referred to as an out dated metric. Do not confuse this with a press release, often referred to also by PR. They are two very different things. Many domain sellers use this to mark up the domains they sell to several times what their real value is. The truth is there are other better metrics that we talk about on this site regarding what you want to look for. For most of us marketers all page rank is now is a vanity plate for our site. “Look what the PR is on my site”, and that is about all its good for now. Do not pay more for this. Even when Google was updating it on a regular basis it was still not the most accurate measurement for how good the domain was at passing link juice. Feb 2013 was the last time this metric was relevant.