In many ways, Search Engine Optimization is like a game. Google, Bing and other search engines award points to those who perform the best. In the case of Those points add up, and the ultimate prize is a better search engine ranking, which translates to a higher position on the search engine results page (SERP).
However, as with most games, there are always those looking for a way to skirt the rules to gain an unfair advantage. These questionable approaches are referred to as black hat SEO tactics.
If you’re caught breaking the search engine guidelines, they can penalize your site. In some cases, simply revising or removing the offending content will rectify the situation. In others, you may have to wait until the search engine does a major algorithm update for the negative seo effects to be negated. Meanwhile, you’re losing money because customers are not finding your site when they search.
Yet, there are digital marketing companies who are willing to take the risk with these sketchy SEO practices. If you’re a business owner or marketer, they will gladly take your money. You may even see some positive short term results. It can take the search engines web crawlers some time to catch on and identify the black hat SEO techniques. But, when they do, you’re left in a worse position than where you started. This can be tough to rebound from, especially for small businesses. Before you fall prey to them, learn some of the standard techniques that they use.
Utilizing A Link Farm For Backlinks
Link building (when done properly) can be a staple of an excellent white hat SEO strategy. High quality backlinks pointing to your website from other reputable sources on the web are one of the best ways to increase your authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines. When other sites and pages are linking to you, that signals that you have quality content likely to lead to a good user experience.
However, there are “link farms” that will manufacture a backlink portfolio by posting mass links on very low authority, shady sites. Again, these link schemes may give you a short term bump, but it will catch up to you in the form of penalties and negative SEO effects.
While not all paid links are necessarily bad, if you have paid for most of the links on your site, you have a problem. Google takes this one very seriously. Ensure every link you purchase directs users to content they’ll find useful and relevant. The ultimate goal should be to attain a backlink profile that is organic and natural with diverse anchor text.
Black hat SEO tactics may involve something as simple as filling a webpage with keywords without providing any real content. Since the earliest days of the internet, black hat spammers have used this technique. Some black hatters have tried to modernize this spamming technique by offering relevant content at the top of the page and hiding a paragraph stuffed full of keywords at the bottom where they think users won’t notice. Others may try keyword stuffing in the footers of a page.
Since Larry Page invented PageRank while still a student at Stanford University, spam content has not worked. Google built its business model and reputation on sending users to the most relevant content, and it is not found on pages full of web spam.
Black hatters often create doorway pages, which are pages with no real value other than to rank for a specific group of keywords. The purpose is to funnel customers to a particular page on a website via sneaky redirects. The tactic is used in an attempt to dominate the SERP for a group of keywords. However, it often results in users becoming frustrated if the intermediate doorway page did not provide the information they were promised.
Fortunately, as Google’s pagerank algorithm becomes more sophisticated, it is better able to detect these black hat seo techniques, and rank such content accordingly.
You may have noticed doorway pages with companies operating in multiple cities. The website contains pages for each town filled with keywords that users might type or speak into a search engine when looking for that service or product near them. It’s not always indicative of intentional black hat SEO strategy, but it can have negative SEO effects nonetheless. While having pages about different areas you serve is a great idea, make the extra effort to create a unique page with original content for each community.
Another black hat SEO strategy that is sometimes used is the intentional creation and distribution of duplicate content, which is defined as any identical content that is found on the web in multiple places. It doesn’t have to be an entire webpage or even appear on your own site.
Content being displayed in multiple places is not always a bad thing. However, if a specific piece of content is blasted on several URL’s is a short window of time, it can confuse the search engines’ crawlers, causing them to ignore the duplicated content and improve the pagerank of competing content.
Even if the black hatter has taken the time to create quality content, having that content in multiple places can negatively impact your rankings.
A rather simplistic black hat strategy that is sometimes employed is placing invisible text on pages, which is undetectable to the visitor. This hidden text is basically a variation of spamming, since the content The most common way to do this is to create a list of keywords and place them on the web page in the same color as the background. Google’s AI will eventually catch this, and a Google penalty is nearly inevitable.
Another trick used by black hatters is cloaking. This technique often goes hand-in-hand with spamming, and can be implemented in a variety of ways. Generally, the webmasters prepare two sets of web pages. One will be served to bots and contains the relevant keywords and a decent amount of information on the given topic. Meanwhile, code takes users to a spammy site that they will not find useful. If you’ve ever performed a Google search and clicked on a result that ended up being entirely irrelevant, then cloaking may be occurring.
Have you ever looked at a picture of a home on an interior designer’s website and found it tacky and gaudy because the designer used “too much”? The same thing happens to a website when a web design company stuffs their keywords onto a webpage excessively, and the result is the same. You turn potential customers off.
If a local used car lot has 500 words of copy on their homepage, but they use the keyword “used cars anytown, USA” 50 times within those 500 words, that is obviously unnatural and will be detected and penalized. 11
You should think of your keywords as accent colors in a room. They’re important, but they should fit the natural context of the content and tie it together. Useful, high-quality content should always be the primary focus.
Dominate The Search Engine Optimization Game Fair And Square
Avoiding black hat SEO techniques is easy when you work with a professional to develop a solid, integrated SEO strategy. You should base it on showing your niche market expertise, proving you are an authority in your field, and conveying your credibility. When you do that on your website, you will create a site that Google and other search engines will want to rank higher. Your conversion rate will then grow as you lead customers each step of the way through the sales funnel. Contact us today to make sure your SEO strategy is on firm footing.