What is black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is a technique that violates search engine guidelines. Black hat Seo Techniques attempt to make a website rank higher on Search engines like Google, and Bing by manipulating and abusing Search engine algorithms.
While some marketers may think by using Black hat SEO techniques they can improve their website visibility quickly and cheaply, even if they can rank higher the results are temporary.
Search engine algorithms detect such practices and penalize them. Consequently, repeated violations can get your website banned from Google and other search engines.
Black hat Seo techniques to avoid:
cloaking refers to the technique of presenting a different version of a webpage or URL to users and another to search engine crawlers like Bingbot and Googlebot.
Providing customized experiences or content to users is acceptable for eg. changing language according to country, or a different layout for desktop and mobile users. Showing users and crawlers different content just to improve search engine rankings is not acceptable under search engine guidelines.
2) Keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing refers to stuffing specific keywords in your content with the sole intent to increase the probability to rank higher for specific keywords on search engines. Always create content for users and not just to improve your content’s search engine rankings.
Keyword stuffing is the most common black hat SEO technique used. It may have worked in the past but it does not work anymore. Today Search engine algorithms are too sophisticated for this technique.
3) Poor quality content
- Creating content with the sole purpose to rank higher rather than creating user-consumable content.
- Duplicating the same content to different URLs of your website to attract search engines
- Using scrapped/copied content from other sites and publishing it by modifying it or using synonyms.
- Automatically creating content to rank higher for a large number of keywords
Search engines want to provide rich content to their users, and always create rich consumable content for users. All of the above techniques violate search engine guidelines and may result in a penalty.
4) Paid links
Google strictly bans buying and selling of Links. According to Google “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.”
Paid links may increase your inbound links but will not bring quality inbound links to your website. Such Paid links will not improve your search engine ranking.
5) Sneaky redirects
Redirecting refers to sending users to a different URL than the one they initially clicked. Similar to cloaking, this technique redirects users to different URLs and search engine bots to another. Such a technique is considered deceptive since it attempts to display different content to users and search engines bot, and may take the users somewhere that they did not intend to go.
Redirects are common practices of SEO to improve the end-user experience, they should be used for what they are intended for. For instances such as moving your website to a new address or when combining many pages into one, redirects are acceptable.
6) Abusing structured data
Structured data is the standardized format to provide information regarding the webpage to search engines. Add structured data to your page to classify your page content and to change how your content is displayed on search engine result pages(SERP).
Providing incorrect information to the structured data to stand out on search results and manipulate rankings is considered a Black hat SEO technique.
7) Hidden text & links
Hiding text or links in your content that is completely invisible to the users and only visible to crawlers to add as many keywords as possible to the page is a tactic you should avoid.
- Using white text on a white background
- Locating text behind an image
- Using CSS to position text off-screen
- Setting the font size to 0
- Hiding a link by only linking one small character—for example, a hyphen in the middle of a paragraph
8) Doorway pages
Doorway pages are similar to cloaking, they are specifically created to rank for particular keywords but redirects the user to another page.
Creating doorway/gateway pages to target specific high-volume search queries that act as a funnel to bring users to a specific page. For Example, having multiple domains name or pages to geographically target users that funnel to one webpage.
Always create original, quality content for users not for search engines.
Black hat SEO Techniques may help you to rank higher but they won’t drive long-term results. For a long-lasting business to survive you need predictability, which such techniques cannot deliver. Avoid using Black hat Seo techniques and instead, focus on techniques that adhere to webmasters’ guidelines.
With SEO you try to provide rich content and the best UX to your users. But Black hat SEO techniques do the exact opposite by optimizing your page for search engines rather than for users.
With search engine algorithms getting smarter it is best to avoid using Black hat SEO techniques that abuse the webmasters’ guidelines accidentally or intentionally and instead focus on white hat SEO techniques.