Web / SEO practice

I've been trying to determine if this is a legitimate practice or something that is frowned upon by Google, etc...

So, for example, a Company is located in Rego Park/Queens (neighborhood/borough).
On their website, they state that the company is located in Queens along with other text and their actual street address stated in the footer of the page. Seems pretty normal for a business website.

However, just below the footer is a div container with hidden links (black text on black background). This links point to sub-directories that are labeled as keyword / neighborhood. For example:

example.com/accounting-services-astoria-queens/index.html

Sub-directories contain a full copy of the main website (10 pages at least) with the only difference being, on the home page, the location reflects the neighborhood in the URL. So it would state that company is located in Astoria/Queens while their street address still shows them located in Rego Park.

They have about 30 such sub-directories, targeting neighborhoods around the city, where their competitor companies are located. –imo

The closest answer I found through Google is that this is similar to 'doorway spam pages'. However, those mostly described as a single page targeting a specific keyword… and mostly act as a redirect to another website.

So, can anyone chime in?

The folks in this thread may be able to help

I've been considering looking for some help for one of my sites as well..

Nei, us this something you're doing, or something you saw someone else doing?

@groan: I saw that thread, but I didn't want to hijack farley3k's thread.

mateo wrote:

Nei, us this something you're doing, or something you saw someone else doing?

It's done by another company that is in the same services field as the company I work for. My employer asked me if this something we should be doing -- on the side of caution, I said that this seems like something search engine would frown upon. However, I don't want to give wrong information... and my research didn't give me anything definitive.

Okay. I am NOT an SEO expert but have been working as a web person for an SEO heavy company for the last twelve years. This is experience and over a decade of accumulated knowledge, with the only "practice" being watching sites get burned for pulling dangerous stunts.

Nei wrote:

However, just below the footer is a div container with hidden links (black text on black background). This links point to sub-directories that are labeled as keyword / neighborhood. For example:

Okay, this alone is horrible practice. It may work for a very brief amount of time, but not for long. This is actually so dangerous that your site could get penalized, and end up losing a lot of rankings until someone with enough savvy is able to fix the problems and communicate with Google.

Footer links are old news. They have been discounted for so long that they rarely get used by anyone who knows what they are doing. Ideally they exist to link your visitors to important parts of your site.

Nei wrote:

Sub-directories contain a full copy of the main website (10 pages at least) with the only difference being, on the home page, the location reflects the neighborhood in the URL.

Duplicate content is supposed to be ignored. If the only thing that changes is the name of the neighborhood then, again, don't count on that site ranking for very long.

Whoever is trying to sell this SEO service should be selling something else. The person is plainly a natural salesman. Unfortunately, for whatever motivations that person may have, these practices are not what a long-term website needs. I think what you want to search for is:

SEO hidden links
SEO footer links
SEO duplicate content

Optimizing is a smart idea. It can only help as long as you don't do anything risky.

If you want this site to rank well over the course of years instead of weeks, then avoid the kind of SEO this person is selling. The services being offered to you right now are not good.

You may also want to read up on Google's best practices. https://support.google.com/webmaster...

@MrAndrewJ: Thx for the info.