A client of ours asked us to make a few changes to her website which we of course, obliged. Whist updating her site, I came across a random link that wasn’t part of the normal menu structure which once clicked, takes you to a hidden page of a random, bullet-pointed list of keywords that had no relevance to her site (arts and crafts):
- Electrical supplies, accessories and fittings :: Melbourne, Australia
- Mattresses-r-us, quality innerspring mattress and base ensembles, Melbourne, Australia
- strategic partnerships, vendors, partners, citrix, legrand, novell, syncit
- property management, residential property, debt reduction, home consultations
- Exciting problem solving exercises to help unleash the power of your teams.
- Web Design Melbourne, Internet Design Melbourne, Graphic Design
- Whitepages.com.au – Search for Australian Postcodes, Maps, World
- Out From The Blue, Swimming Pool Design, Pool Landscaping, Landscape Design, Spa Pool, Melbourne, Australia
- MP3.com – the source for digital music!
- split system units, installation, maintenance, zoned ducted heating, panel heaters
Furthermore, when you scrolled down further, there was a blank space and then low and behold there was more! The keywords were listed again with a description underneath and a link to the company’s website.
For example: Electrical supplies, accessories and fittings :: Melbourne, Australia In this age of multi national "mega corporations" and increasing pressures on local manufacturers, it is pleasing to see an Australian owned company producing locally made products that are still widely regarded as the best on the market. ^top
At the bottom of the page in a font that is barely visible, there is text that reads, “The sites linked hereby are not endorsed by the owners of this site.” But of course they’re not. The owner of the site had no idea that this was even on her site! This company of course had keywords and a link to their site as well (using a different domain name that redirected to their website):
Web Design Melbourne, Internet Design Melbourne, Graphic Design Power Linking Strategies and Website Promotion Secrets ^top
To assist you in understanding what is going on, Google likes external links that point to your website. If you think of it in terms of people, it’s like Mr. X vouching for Mr. A stating that Mr. A really is who he says that he is. Google hold this in high regard. So for this web development company to add keywords and links on hidden pages in the websites that their clients pay them to develop is poor form and borderline unethical but they cover themselves with the virtually hidden statement at the bottom of that page that states the 'links are not endorsed by the owners of this site’. The truth of the matter is that they shouldn’t be there in the first place! There is also another page that is not listed anywhere on the menu that has the following text that links to their web developer’s site:
We are building a reputation for ourselves as being the most driven and innovative web design company in Australia. Our dynamic web design team gravitates around creativity and innovation. A web site is a waste of
We then work with you long term to evolve your web strategy based on needs, target market feed back and metrics.
It should be noted that our client paid $6000 for this company to develop her 6 page website, that's $1000/page which is a lot of money to be paying for the company to then use dodgy SEO tactics! It is a shame that seemingly reputable companies will take advantage of their own customers especially knowing that their client is unsuspecting. NOTE: We have blurred out any reference to this company in the screenshots. The aim of this article is to make readers aware, not to name and shame this particular company.