Ranking of website elements with a negative effect on visibility to search engine crawlers.

Weideman, M.

Poster in Proceedings of the 10th annual Conference on WWW Applications. 3-5 September. Cape Town, South Africa.

Weideman, M. 2008. Ranking of website elements with a negative effect on visibility to search engine crawlers. Poster in Proceedings of the 10th annual Conference on WWW Applications. 3-5 September. Cape Town, South Africa. Online: http://web-visibility.co.za/website-visibility-digital-library-seo/

ABSTRACT
Introduction. Research has proven that high rankings in search engine results are imperative for the success of mission critical websites. This poster reports on empirical research having been done on the identification of webpage design factors which negatively influence the visibility of a webpage to search engine crawlers.

Method.
A number of theoretical models were identified, all attempting to classify and rank these elements. Some of these models were based on empirical work. Furthermore, a trustworthy model of SEO practitioner viewpoints was found, and a scoring system designed to allocate point values to all the elements identified and ranked in these models. Equal scores were given to each of the academic and the practitioner models.

Analysis.
Both sets of models produced a large number of positive and negative elements. In many cases, different titles were used for the same element. In some cases no ranking was done, and the scoring system had to be adapted to cater for these cases. Eventually a single ranking series was produced, where a higher score indicated a more negative effect.

Results.
A total of 17 factors were identified. The top five had a much higher score than the remainder, which seems to indicate that a designer could apply more focus to those five than to the remaining 12. The most important element to avoid is link spamming, where the designer attempts to create a set of false hyperlinks pointing to a certain website. Second on the list is keyword spam. Similarly, a designer could load a webpage with a large number of important keywords, to the point where a search engine will flag it as spam. In both cases, the website could be penalised by the search engine in terms of ranking, or even dropped from its listings.

Conclusions.
It is imperative that website designers be aware of this ranking, and they should ensure that they do not implement any of these elements in a mission critical website design.
REFERENCES
  1. Dye, K 2008. Website abuse for search engine optimisation. Network Security. 7(2):4-6
  2. Chambers, R. 2006. Search Engine Strategies: A model to improve website visibility for SMME websites. Masters thesis, Cape Peninsula University of Technology Cape Town.
  3. Visser, E.B. 2007 The effect of search engine optimization elements on website visibility: The Western Cape real estate SMME sector. Unpublished MTech thesis, Cape Peninsula University of Technology Cape Town.
  4. Weideman, M. 2008. Website Visibility: The Theory and Practice of improving Rankings. Chandos Publishing: Oxford. ISBN: 9781843344735
Full text of Conference Poster No 0139: Ranking of website elements with a negative effect on visibility to search engine crawlers.

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