Have you ever been playing a video game where the game is so hard that it isn’t fun anymore? Maybe you’ve played a game and beaten it, and you want to go back and play with cheat codes where you never run out of health or ammo. Black hat SEO is a little like that, except it is entrenched in your business and your livelihood. If you’re wondering what types of bad SEO to avoid, look no further. I’ll share with you the ins and outs of trying to one-up Google, and why you really shouldn’t do that at all.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Whenever you try to game the system and beat Google, Yahoo or Bing, it’s considered to be black hat. It’s the dark side of SEO, which is kind of like the analogy above. You’re basically trying to cheat or jump ahead of other businesses to take a higher spot than you deserve.
Black Hat Techniques
There are all types of sneaky and tricky things you can do to beat the system. I’ll name a few, and it is important to remember that you should not do any of these techniques. There’s no way to outsmart a billion dollar entity like Google. Some Black Hat SEO tricks are:
- Buying backlinks to your website to outrank the competition.
- Cloaking backlinks in a web page that point to your website to boost your rankings.
- Blasting your competitor’s websites with a ton of backlinks to make them appear spammy, so you shoot to the top.
- Keyword stuffing, which is cramming a bunch of keywords into a page.
- Hiding text or links in the page of your website with the color being the same as the background of your page.
- Copying or cloning a website or a web page to siphon traffic from it.
- Article spinning to create spam blogs crammed with keywords.
- Placing comment spam on other websites that link back to your website.
There are new black hat techniques popping up everyday. Someone creates a new piece of software that works its way around the boundaries of search engines or tricks them into ranking a page or an entire website, when it really shouldn’t be. The rule of thumb is to use your head. If it sounds sneaky and underhanded, it’s probably black hat, or at least grey hat.
Why you should avoid Black Hat SEO
Who doesn’t want to soar to the top of search engines? The goal is to get more business, but the entire endeavor is risky. Doing these techniques can get your website banned or at least penalized, which can take weeks, even months to recover from.
Is it really worth your business and your reputation? Google is going to figure it out eventually that you are doing something you’re not supposed to do. Techniques like these can also get your domain blacklisted. What this means is that when someone clicks on your site, a browser like Chrome will show a message that your site isn’t trusted. You have to fix the issues on your website and request to have that removed.
While this isn’t an impossible process, it just means you have to get rid of your black hat SEO techniques anyway. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like wasting my time. I know that you can remove the stigma from your website by putting in a request. Besides being a web designer, I am also an entrepreneur, and I’ve purchased domains with negative connotations before, which I recovered fully and ranked for key terms.
Another thing is, even if you do happen to slip by the system, or you do something to workaround the system, Search engines like Google have regular algorithm updates, which are meant to catch that stuff. You’re basically running on borrowed time. Then, once their update hits, and you’re caught, they’ll pull the rug out from under you like SEO firm Traffic Power, which you can read about here.
Focus on the good
In reality, it is much easier, and a much better strategy to focus on good SEO. It is mainly about quality, instead of quantity. Structure your website well, and build backlinks naturally. Don’t try to beat the system, because you’ll get caught, and you’ll be penalized or banned.
Good SEO is algorithm friendly. If you’re not doing anything sneaky or underhanded, you don’t have to worry about algorithm updates. When updates hit, you won’t see much movement or adjustments to your rankings. Sometimes, you’ll even see your rank jump upwards, because they caught someone doing something they weren’t supposed to do.
Do you have any questions about black hat techniques or bad SEO? I definitely want to open the floor to questions and thoughts, so post them in the comments section below.