If you’re just starting out with SEO, you may not know what techniques to use, much like a deckhand on his first voyage on the open sea.
That’s why you need to know and avoid the black hat SEO, a set of negative tactics that are intended to manipulate the search engine algorithm to improve a site’s ranking in the SERP (the search engine results page).
But not even the bravest pirate is able to violate the rules of the Kingdom of Google!
That’s because black hat tactics can have some pretty negative repercussions.
So let’s see which ones to avoid in order not to be penalized by the algorithm and continue to surf in peace. Are you ready to set sail?
The risks of black hat SEO
First of all, the name of these tactics refers to the American westerns of the twentieth century in black and white where the black hat was the symbol of the bad guys!
Today, this word refers to a set of practices used to increase the ranking of a site or a page in search engines through means that violate the terms of service of Google and other search engines.
The use of these tactics therefore carries significant risks such as lower rankings and, thus, decreased organic traffic. But such violations can also lead to the complete removal of a site from Google’s index.
In short, if you used any of these techniques you could be banned forever from the realm of Google and say goodbye to your doubloons.
To help you better understand the risks of black hat SEO pay attention to these points:
- Black hat SEO can negatively affect your site’s ranking and visibility;
- although some techniques initially prove to work, the results are often short-lived;
- the goal of SEO is to consider a user’s experience on a site and work to provide them with the best content, but black hat tactics often result in a poor user experience, greatly reducing possible conversions.
Black hat SEO: what to avoid
The more you know about bad tactics for SEO, the easier it will be to spot and avoid them.
So here are the tactics you should NOT be using:
- Keyword Stuffing
- Hidden keywords
- Multiplied content
- Paid links
- Sneaky redirect
Consists of continually repeating the main keywords on the page. It often occurs in random blocks or within paragraphs that make no logical sense.
I mean, imagine having a parrot over your shoulder repeating the same words over and over again!
Manipulating your ranking by including keywords unnaturally won’t help you rank, but it will definitely lead to the opposite effect.
The hidden keyword technique consists of using text of the same color as the background, inserted off-screen or behind an image, thus preventing users from seeing it, or using a font size of zero.
This is an actual pirate trying to hide loot from fellow travelers.
All of this is useless, however, because search engine crawlers (Google’s bots) figure out right away if you’re trying to fill a page with hidden keywords.
This is automatically generated content with the goal of ranking the site for a large number of keywords without actually creating useful and unique pages.
Think of a multitude of local pages created with the same content but only changing the location name: buzzynerd – Nassau, buzzynerd – Tortuga, and so on.
To avoid problems caused by low quality or even duplicate pages, make sure you spend time creating SEO optimized content.
Cloaking involves the publication of content or different URLs for users and search engines., thus providing a different experience depending on the case.
The goal is to classify a page with a content created for search engines while users are directed to a different page.
It’s not black magic, but an actual deceptive practice that violates Kingdom guidelines.
Instead, focus your efforts on designing the better user experiences, search engines will also like your page.
Redirects are the best way to ensure a well-organized site is easily accessible to users and search engine crawlers.
However, similar to cloaking, redirects are often placed in fraudulent redirects To trick the engines with content other than what the user actually sees. In this way, the engine indexes the original page while users are redirected to a different destination URL.
It’s like showing a galleon to the engines and a small boat to the users!
In the Webmaster Instructions, Google specifically lists sneaky redirects as a black hat tactic.
Paid and automated links
We have already seen together the importance of a link building, the SEO technique aimed at increasing the number and quality of incoming links to a website.
If your ship is mentioned by the best pirates in the Kingdom, the search engine will only consider your content trustworthy, causing it to gain authority and allowing it to improve its ranking among search results as well as its organic traffic.
Received and submitted links should therefore be natural and spontaneous, especially considering that these are votes of confidence from one website to another. This is why you should avoid:
- paid links;
- excessive link exchanges;
- automated link building, such as the creation of spam comments with the site link by specialized software.
On the subject of links, also beware of those who try to point a large number of unnatural links to someone else’s domain, in the hope that this will cause them a penalty. Although Google is able to detect links that originate from such attacks, it is important to therefore regularly analyze your link profile.
Finally, remember that black hat SEO tactics represent a real risk for any site that uses them to rank in the SERPs.
And even though they’re not as commonly used as they used to be, there are still those who follow this misguided route or those who lead companies to believe they are ethical practices when in fact they are clear violations of Google’s guidelines.
Therefore, if you want to increase the visibility of your site make sure you learn how to rank it using the right techniques and avoiding the harmful ones.