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Now thats not playing nice

SEMRush Hidden Text Doorway Pages?

So I’m not a big user of SEMRush, have played with it and that’s about it. It currently shows  about a 90% drop in my company websites organic traffic from August to September of 2013, which Analytics has us up 20% in the same span. The traffic on internal pages and conversions supports the 20% increase, so not in a hurry to bank on that for accurate numbers.

But enough about me, let’s look at what I stumbled into today on their website.

So I am reading a blog post about SEM Rush here:
http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/semrush-review/

Which has a glowing review which redirects the click off of this URL:

http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/loves/semrush/

then to a SEMRush.com landing page:

http://www.semrush.com/sem.html

semrush-landing

 

So While I am looking at the robots. txt file of this blog and trying to see if they are hiding the affiliate link from the search engines in this folder, and looking at cookies I receive to see if the page stuffs a cookie (didn’t find either, they are cool), but I did find this little nugget of not so white hat SEO.

We take a look at the signup landing page I am served here which is a signup form and footer with about 10 links total.

Then I look at the source of the page to see if it passed an affiliate code in some other way I didn’t check yet like a hidden field in the form.

And looky looky I found hooky.

The source code is exactly 1662 lines long.

semrushcode

861 of those lines (52% of the source code) is inside of a CSS DIV named .landing_cloud

This div consists of about 287 links to dynamic pages like:

  • Keyword tools
  • Seobook keyword tool
  • Keyword spy
  • Keyword elite
  • Keyword tool adwords
  • Webceo
  • Analytic.com

And (drumroll), here is the CSS for that page showing all 287 links to competitors names and niche keywords as display:none;

semrush-display-none

There is spammy CSS hidden text, then there is really spammy hidden text.

I also checked the robots file/meta tags and this is not a blocked page. This is a page that shows the breakdown for that keyword then JavaScript redirects the viewer after a time period to a credit card signup page.

In short, a doorway page.

The landing page indexed:

semrush-indexed

 

The pages linked to from the hidden div indexed right below Aaron Wall’s website (Aaron is cool)

seobookranking

 

About author

Todd Kron

of Sellaholics is a veteran of Analytics, PPC, Display, video, UX, conversion optimization, affiliate programs, web design and web programming since 2002. My background includes affiliate sales to 6 figures, director of a web design agency, and currently the digital manager for a leading energy company located in Huntersville, NC. From search to sale 1000 different ways is my background. Sellaholics is a Google Partner Agency.

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