Black Hats and SEO Blues: Forums Heat Up Over Search Engine Tactics

What will be the outcome of Microsoft’s latest controversial approach to high ranks in Google’s search engine? SEO expert forums are buzzing over these alleged “black hat SEO” tactics.According to the Information Security Glossary, White Hat hackers are those who perform hacking for legitimate reasons — like testing security systems for flaws and holes. Black Hats, on the other hand, perform clandestine activities for malicious reasons.

The recent discovery of alleged “doorway” pages to Microsoft’s regional sites has the SEO community asking what Google will do with a “big boy” that doesn’t play by the rules. The pages, which reportedly employ JavaScript to redirect human visitors from the keyword-laden nonsense pages to standard Microsoft pages, retain the SE bots. The robots only see the keyword pages and are not redirected which improves the site’s ranking.

Google’s own guidelines state that sites may not “employ cloaking or sneaky redirects” and warns against “hidden text or hidden links…’doorway’ pages created just for search engines, or other ‘cookie cutter’ approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.”

Forums frequented by SEO experts are calling Microsoft’s activities “Black Hat SEO” and await response from the primary search engines.

Some feel that Microsoft should be banned completely, no favors. Others say only the offending pages should be removed, saying the SEs won’t remove Microsoft because they are too big and by removing them from the engines, they would be lowering the quality of the search engine itself. And yet others say this is much ado about nothing.

Despite the controversy, these pages are still live, at the time of this writing.

If you would like to read more, or join the forum conversations, visit or the forum at And, you may want to visit Google’s Guidelines to ensure your own pages are in compliance before submitting them.

© Copyright 2004 by Angela Allen Parker of Wicked Wordcraft


This article first appeared in the November 2004 issue of the IVAACast – official newsletter of the International Virtual Assistants Association.