You’re a young woman searching online for an abortion clinic in one of Florida’s major cities. After entering your search, you expect to see results such as Planned Parenthood, some local independent abortion clinics, or possibly an OBGYN. But instead, WomensCenter.com, an abortion clinic specializing in late-term abortions, is your top result. In fact, when you search on any host of abortion-related terms in any of these cities, WomensCenter.com owns the #1 spot every single time.
Maintaining the top search result with uncanny consistency does not occur by mere happenstance. The truth is that WomensCenter.com has launched an aggressive campaign to game Google and achieve the number one search position. In other words, they are violating the Google Content Guidelines, which in the past, has resulted in companies being penalized when they have been found in violation of these stringent policies.
To understand how WomensCenter.com consistently garners the top search result, it is important to understand how the algorithm behind Google works. While there are a number of ranking factors, Google’s search results are primarily driven by the quality, quantity, and anchor text of inbound links to a site. In other words, if you own a website about cupcakes, your site’s rank will improve as other cupcake-related sites link to it. And so, in an effort to climb the tier in Google’s search results, many websites will build links from other websites by contributing quality content to the web. This practice is perfectly permissible, legitimate, and even encouraged in the world of search engine marketing.
What’s not permissible, and clearly falls outside the boundary of ethics, is using what many refer to as “black hat” optimization, the effort to build the link profile of a website with methods that Google considers tantamount to cheating. WomensCenter.com has consistently achieved their top tier spot in the results by implementing these link schemes.
One of the more unsophisticated tactics that Womenscenter.com has used on a regular basis is comment spam. Using automated tools, they leave generic comments, specifically targeting second term abortions, within the comments section of blogs.
An article among hundreds was from a student at Case Western Reserve University—full of comments from irrelevant sites including real estate agencies, pornography, sex toy retailers—and none other than WomensCenter.com—specifically targeting the keyword “second trimester abortion clinics”.
WomensCenter.com is also very aggressive in article marketing, a tactic where content with links is distributed to a number of sites. There are literally thousands of these around the web linking back to WomensCenter.com. But the abortion mill takes it a step further by simply stealing articles and claiming them as their own. Take for example this article on gestational diabetes, which has a clear plagiarism warning.
As users browse the web, they might find this article on another site—a website called Anti-Semite of the Week, in which the article is claimed to have been written by Center Director, James Pendergraft (pictured right).
WomensCenter.com’s tactics to gain the top position in Google search results are unethical, dishonest, and should result in the same penalization from Google experienced by other websites who have tried to skirt moral internet marketing practices.
But even beyond the underhanded means by which WomensCenter.com is gaining online traction, there are the questionable marketing practices in which they engage.
Currently, according to their website’s donation page, WomensCenter.com claims that they are a comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare facility for women, listing STD testing, Family Planning, Cancer Screening, Gynecological Exams and Breast Exams as services. However, when performing an online search for any one of these services, only twice does WomensCenter.com come up as the number one result. Compare this to the search results for a second or third-term abortion in the same geographical area. As pointed out earlier in the article, WomensCenter.com consistently outperforms all other websites, always achieving the top search result when it comes to abortion and abortion-related terms.
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There is only one conclusion to draw from this comparison: clearly WomensCenter.com is using the dark art of black hat SEO to drive their abortion services. Considering that a 24 week abortion rakes in anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500 per procedure, is it any wonder that WomensCenter.com is investing all their effort to ascertain their number one spot, even if they have to circumvent the strict Google Content Guidelines to do so?
WomensCenter.com is deceiving donors and patients. On one hand they claim to be about comprehensive “women’s health,” but on the other hand they are deceitfully channeling their marketing dollars into the unethical practice of gaming the Google search results specifically targeting the lucrative late-term abortion, while neglecting the “comprehensive women’s health services” that they claim to be the mainstay of their facility.
LifeNews Note: Tommy Swanson is a pro-life advocate and marketing consultant for non-profit organizations. Swanson provides expertise in the strategic design of online marketing campaigns. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having built and sold several large online businesses in his early teens.