I spend a lot of time reading newsletters and forum postings about Search Engine Marketing. More often than not, people are asking about methods used to improve Search Engine rankings: what works, what doesn't, and what will get you in trouble.
Search Engine*: A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of documents where keywords were found.
Algorithm*: A formula or set of steps for solving a particular problem.
Frankly, no one can predict what will happen from day to day with Search Engines. Only Search Engine companies themselves know if algorithms will change from one day to next. Even Search Engine rules change from month to month, sometimes daily. Think of changes that have happened since pay for inclusion and pay-per-click have taken over market for Search Engine results.
It seems so simple to try and comply with Search Engine rules. Even though optimization adds to basic content of a site and source code, there are ways to approach this without stepping over line.
We personally do not use methods mentioned below (methods to avoid, methods to be wary of) in order to play it absolute safest way, using a long term plan in providing you optimum ranking in Search Engines.
Methods to avoid
Keyword stuffing. "Stuffing" keywords into places where keywords don't belong, such as comment tags, image ALT tags where keywords have nothing to do with specific image
Invisible text. Text color same as background color
Automated submissions. Using automated tools to deliver huge numbers of pages to submission pages of Search Engines Submissions to "thousands" of Search Engines. A waste of time, since major Search Engines/Directories drive majority of traffic to websites FFA (free for all) links. Link popularity is good, but only when links are relevant; a link from a page of random links is not worth nearly as much as a link from a site that is relevant to your site
Search Engine Marketing companies hosting your pages on their server. The marketing company "owns" your pages, and if you decide you want to move them, you may have a hard time wresting them away. (This is not always case with marketing companies that also provide hosting, but you need to carefully choose when using this option.)
Methods to be wary of
Cloaking Doorway pages Maintenance programs
Also known as stealth, a technique used by some Web sites to deliver one page to a Search Engine for indexing while serving an entirely different page to everyone else.
Cloaking is very difficult to do correctly, if you do not have an expert providing this service you could well be banned by Search Engines. There are ways for this to be done that are accepted by some Search Engines. In general, cloaking is not always accepted by Search Engine rules and can be a gamble unless you are certain your service provider knows what they are doing. Check credentials and get referrals from people who have used their services.
A page made specifically to rank well in Search Engines for particular keywords, serving as an entry point through which visitors pass to main content.
Doorway pages are not accepted as they used to be by Search Engines. A carefully crafted doorway page done by hand is entirely different from an automated doorway page generated by software. A few well-designed pages are a far cry from mass generated automated pages sent in large numbers through Search Engine submission page, which are often considered as spam. Again, check credentials and get referrals from people who have used their services.
There are times when a page drops from Search Engine listings or you re-design page which might give you a reason to re-submit page to Search Engine. Re-submitting your pages every month is not always necessary. Having a log stats program in place will help you see which pages are still listed, along with a monthly ranking report. If you have these tools you should be able to see if any of your pages have changed. Be wary of people who consistently re-submit your pages, since re-submission can sometimes cause your pages to be dropped if they are already listed in database.
My own experience with a very large website I did Search Engine marketing for, showed that older (longer) pages were in Search Engine results, better for link popularity and ranking. Of course, paid inclusion can give you more security in having your web pages stabilized in Search Engine results.