What is Black Hat SEO?

By December 2, 2014SEO
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What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus solely on search engines and not on specific user search requests. These techniques generally do not obey search engine guidelines and best practices.

The primary objective of Black Hat SEO is to rapidly and drastically improve a webpage’s rank in search engines, often violating the search engine’s terms of service. Implementing Black Hat SEO strategies can result in your site being banned from search engines all together, excluding you from the number one traffic referral source on the internet. At the same time, some Black Hat tactics are remarkably effective for a short period of a time. It’s important to have a proper understanding of Black Hat SEO and its potential consequences.

Top Black Hat SEO Strategies

Hidden Content

This strategy involves the use of content that is not visible to end-users. There are many different places to hide content, but stuffing keywords into the code and comment tags is very common. The most literal use of this strategy involves white text full of keywords on a white background. Hiding content is a way of adding an excessive amount of keyword-filled copy without affecting the aesthetics of the website. Known to have very minimal success, it is often picked up by search engines as they have become more sophisticated and aware of this technique over the years.

Keyword Stuffing

Probably one of the most widely abused forms of SEO spam, keyword stuffing can have lasting affects on the search success of your website. Essentially this is when a targeted keyword phrase is used excessively in hopes that the search engines will read this as relevant information for the web page. Keyword stuffing occurs when a web page is loaded with keywords in the Meta tags or in content of a web page. In order to offset the fact that this text generally reads horribly it will often be placed at the bottom of a page and in a very small font size. If a Meta description is incorrect or is not relevant to the webpage through keyword stuffing, then the website will increase its chances of being penalized or blacklisted, as it is a spam technique that is aimed at improving page rank. This method is completely outdated and adds no value to rankings today. In particular, Google no longer gives good rankings to pages employing this technique.

Link Farming

A link farm is a website or a group of websites created only for the purpose of increasing the link popularity of another site by increasing the number of incoming links. Those that use this tactic believe they can cheat search engines and obtain a better search engine results page (SERP) ranking. A link farm is a form of spamming the index of a search engine and that Google and other search engines can be fooled into thinking that your site is worthy of ranking higher in search results because of the set of sites that link to one another and also link to your site. Link farming is certainly a Black Hat SEO strategy and strongly discouraged by all search engines, especially Google.

Doorway and Gateway Pages

Doorway or gateway pages are pages designed for search engines and not for the human user. They are basically fake pages that are stuffed with content and are highly optimized for 1 or 2 keywords that link to a landing page. The user will never actually see these pages because they are redirected to the target page. Now, search engine spiders are being enhanced to continually detect these pages and flag your website as being spam, therefore being penalized.

Sure, trying unethical SEO can be tempting for fast and high-ranking search results. However, these results will not last. SEO is a long-term investment. Abiding by White Hat SEO tactics will enable your website to achieve high rankings slowly but surely. The odds of your website being banned as a result of Black Hat SEO practices is pretty high. It’s not a matter of if you’ll be caught, but when. Search engines, particularly Google, are continuously advancing their spam detecting technologies. In conclusion, stay away from using all of the Black Hat SEO strategies mentioned above, you will be better off in the long run.