www.warehouse-video.co.uk are another UK based company ranking in Google thanks to black hat techniques, this time using hidden text.

The site looks reputable on first look, nice design, clean, crisp and easy to use. They also are pulling in some natural traffic, e.g. number 1 for ‘dvd jewel case’ and 5 for ‘VHS Tape Packs’ but to do this the site uses a black hat technique of hiding a H1 tag at the top of most pages.

The coding is simple, a div at the top of the page called ‘top’.

Wedding DVD Cases - Blank DVDs - DVD Jewel Case - VHS Tape Packs – Warehouse Video, Middlesex, UK

In the style sheet its hidden, not using the popular display none but using text-indent:-5000px. This is basically displaying the text 5000 pixels to the left of the screen.


#top h1
{
main.css
margin:0;
text-indent:-5000px;
}

If you want to see this hidden text there’s a couple of options, view the Google cache of the page, click on text only. The other way is to use the web developer toolbar plugin for Firefox and turn the css off, the text then appears.

The text appears on every page, with the text just changing depending on what the page is about. At the moment they seem have avoided any penalisation from Google most likely due to them being under the radar, not being a big enough site to get spotted. This will most likely not last, Google will catch up them which is way black hat methods of hiding text are not a sustainable way of getting rankings in Google.

There’s a little link at the bottom of www.warehouse-video.co.uk to www.castus.co.uk whom I’m guessing are responsible for the hidden text. As ever I’ll keep tabs of the site to see if they remove the text or drop out of the rankings.

I’ve been in the SEO industry for around 2 years I still don’t fully understand what UK based company “I have a website now what” are doing. On the face of it they are a SEO company, that rank number 4-5 on “SEO”, so they know what they are doing. When you look into the website a little more they seem to have a strange way of doing SEO.

They place copies of clients sites on there own site. Links are placed at the bottom of their home page to these ‘mini sites’. (note index2.htm which is duplicate home page with different links)

Today the first link on there is sunglasses and links to an inner page called sunglasses.


sunglasses

The sunglasses inner page isn’t great when you get to it, it’s a splash page with a list of key phrases.

That links then to a site, all of this is located in the inner folder called /sunglasses/ but there are then some links out of the site to what I can only guess is the clients site – www.sunglasses-by-mail-order.co.uk.

So what are I have a website now what trying to do? Well they have plenty of links pointing at the home page of the site. The idea is the page rank flows from the domain to the inner pages. It’s similar to how reputation marketing works, set up a profile on a strong site, e.g. facebook and then get the ranking on the sub folder.

Is it working well, yes, search for ‘cheap cutlery’ and you’ll find one of these mini sites ranking at number 3 on Google.co.uk (the sunglasses one isn’t ranking yet so I’m guessing its new). So the client can then reap the benefits and maybe make some sales or enquirers from the incoming traffic but maybe after a bit of time on the site they 301 to the clients site to pass on the rankings and page rank.

This type of SEO isn’t black hat people can put what they want on their own site, it might be grey hat depending on you point of view. It might not yield the same results as a white hat campaign but seem to be working for I have a website now what.

I’ll be checking the site over next few month to see if http://www.ihaveawebsite-nowwhat.co.uk/sunglasses/ gets re-directed to the clients site!

I”ve only been reading Joost de Valk’s blog recently and have found it immensely useful. The main topic is SEO but Joost is also a really good WordPress plugin developer. It doesn’t end there, he’s developed Firefox plugins, grease monkey scripts and SEO general tools.

Generally if your into WordPress and SEO you can’t go wrong with any of his suggestions or plugins. This site is running 3 plugins from Joost and made some changes to the architecture of the site thanks to some of his suggestions.

I have to admit from reading the articles and looking at the plugins he’s created you can’t but be jealous of his talent and expertise in SEO hence the link on the blog roll. So get over to yoast.com and subscribe.

Google is celebrating 10 years as search engine and as a little treat they’ve released their index from 2001!

It’s fully search able and it’s interesting to see which sites ranked ten years ago when the algorithm wasn’t as advanced.

– The results for SEO have nothing to do with SEO as we know it knower days.

– http://www.search-engine-optimisation.co.uk/ ranked number 1 for search engine optimisation, that now re-directs to Receptional.

– Best of all Wikipedia was just starting, and didn’t rank number 1 for wikipedia never mind any other key phrases.

So head over to www.google.com/search2001.html for a little play.

This is the first spam post. The idea is to clear up UK websites. I have nothing again the companies mentioned but they have websites that break the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

To start www.hammonds-uk.com from a company called Hammonds UK a bedroom and office furniture company. They’ve got a nifty little flash site which means pretty much no search engine traffic. But they’ve added some hidden text behind the flash in an attempt to bring in some search traffic.

So the text hidden behind the flash is.

Hammonds bedroom furniture and home office furniture

This is done using css setting the text as hidden.

hidden {
display: none;
}

In some instances hiding text behind flash is ok, providing the text hidden is exactly the same as the text in the flash file. If the text differs then your breaking the guidlines. If you are placing text behind a flash file, then hiding via CSS isn’t your best option, I would go with the noscript tag.

It doesn’t seem that the site is banned, it comes up for “Hammonds bedroom furniture” the hidden H1, but the hidden text method isn’t sustainable and Google will catch up on Hammonds UK.

Next on the blog roll list is one of my favourite SEO site’s and one I’ve learnt the most from, SEOmoz. SEOmoz essentially is a company that provides SEO, but the are also committed to helping others via their blog and paid informations section.

The blog is updated pretty much every day along with YouMoz, blogs from SEOmoz members. The paid service gives you access to tools, SEO guides and most importantly the chance to ask questions to some of the SEOmoz team. The picks from the blog have to be the Thursday round up e-mail which rounds up internal and external Internet marketing news and the Whiteboard Friday Video.

So if your just starting to dable in a little SEO then SEOmoz has to be your starting point, for something a little more advanced sign up for the paid service and subscribe to YouMoz.

Posted in SEO.

Rather than just having a blog roll I’ve decided to add blogs on a weekly basis with a post about why each blog deserves to be linked. So to start the ball rolling it’s Mr Google himself Matt Cutts.

matt-cutts-blog

Matt is the head of the webspam team at Google, after joining the company in 2000 Matt has been at the forefront of communication with webmasters over the years coving a wide range of subjects but mostly on spam. He created the first ever version of the SafeSearch filter and now works on search quality / web spam.

Matt’s blog was the first blog I added onto my Google Reader account when I came into SEO, and if your new to SEO you should really read the achieves, you might not understand everything but it will give you a good grounding. If that gets too heavy for you then the video posts are a good place to start.

There is a the odd off topic post on the blog about Linux and his cats but overall everything that Matt posts is going to help you and generally will be understood if your new or experienced SEO. So head over to www.mattcutts.com/blog/.

Posted in SEO.

I’ll be doing a few posts about WordPress Plugins for SEO but I’ll start with the three that are essential. I’ll list them in order of importance.

All in One SEO Pack
The all in one SEO pack uses WordPress’s custom fields to create a friendlier page title and meta description and allows you to add into certain pages to reduce content duplication.

The default set up on the All in One SEO Pack seems to do the trick, for the titles and descriptions you leave the boxes blank on your post page and it will create the meta title from the blog title and take around the first 160 characters for the meta description. All you need to do is remember to try to have a good opening sentence for your blog. For example this post I’ve mentioned the title of the article again so it’s included in the description.

Google doesn’t look at the keywords tag so I keep this blank, but you can tick a box to make the plug in use the categories as the keywords.

The options to reduce internal content duplication allows you to add the noindex, follow tag to the archives, categories and tag pages. I leave the default settings so Google’s isn’t indexing the archives and categories.

Link to download

Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator for WordPress
Not essential but helps to get some of those older blogs in WordPress cached. Each time you edit a post the site map is rebuilt, this means once you’ve set it up you don’t really need to do anything. The newer version of this plug in does all the work installation work for you creating the XML sitemap file.

Link to download

Alinks
Alink essentially is a text replace script. It will replace a word in your blog with other text. E.g. every time you mention GWT it can replace it with Google Webmaster Tools. But, it will also replace text with links, so each time you mention contact us it will replace it with contact us. This is great for creating relevant internal links to deeper pages in your site. Many blogs also use the plug in to add in affiliates links.

Really this is a time saver plug in and means content writers and clients don’t have worry about linking to the correct pages with the correct anchor text.

Link to download

So get those three plugins into your WordPress blog and you can’t go wrong!

I’m a big fan of Gmail, I converted from Hotmail to Gmail about 6 months ago and have never looked back. This afternoon I saw a really misleading advert on Gmail. Your average Gmail advert will look something like this.

Anchor text for the link with a description.

This afternoon i saw an advert that used (1) Message as the anchor text for the link.

Obviously the anchor text of the link is there to entice the user to click the advert but putting that will just trick the user to the clicking the ad as it makes you think that you’ve got a new message. Pretty smart really of getting the click, but really an easy way to burn a lot of spend on the content network.

The site went live late last night, after development time on a subfolder. I’ve added a XML Sitemap using the WordPress Sitemap Generator which is a nice little plug in. Thats been submitted off to Google and we await for the site to be cached for the first time.

There’s still plenty of work to be done, the individual blog pages are HTML invalid and the search box doesn’t display correctly in Safari. It’s important to get this points correct from the start otherwise you’ll be already be putting of potential readers from day one.