Search Engine Bytes
 by Casey Markee

Question of the Month

Two of the Newest and Sneakiest Search Engine Tricks

"Bait & Switch" and the "Food" technique...

Question:
"Sometimes when I click on a top rated search engine page link, I get a webpage that is obviously different than the one described in the SE summary. Frequently the "file byte size" does not match and often the page does not have any Meta tag's, keywords, or any other features that would merit a high ranking in my chosen keyword search. How can this be?"

Answer:
Most likely you have encountered a "bait & switch" page. Simply put, the webmaster creates a "search engine optimized" web page designed specifically for that search engine. Then, once the page is indexed, the webmaster "switches" pages. Frequently this is done simply to keep others from viewing the source code and sometimes they do it for aesthetic purposes due to the possibility that the "optimized" page is inappropriate for actual viewing by potential site visitors. Regardless of the reason, the result is that the SE was "baited" with one page designed for indexing and the webmaster made a "switch".

We have seen instances -- particularly with Infoseek -- where this trick is being used somewhat often. In addition, we have also heard numerous stories where competitors are "resubmitting" these switched pages in the effort to "help" their competition's page disappear from the top rankings.

Please understand... we are not advocating nor endorsing these types of search engine battles. However, due to the nature of this publication, we feel an obligation to report what is going on.

Another Question:
"...when doing a search, I sometimes find a page in the top ...

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