Black hat SEO is a tactic that violates search engine policies and is used to raise a site’s position in search results. These dishonest methods don’t provide a solution for the searcher and frequently result in a penalty from search engines. Keyword stuffing, cloaking, and the use of secret link networks are examples of black hat tactics.
An Introduction to Black Hat SEO
For a firm to thrive, it is essential to appear in search results, but there are proper and improper ways to conduct search engine optimization. The incorrect method is black hat SEO. In contrast to helping the user, black hat SEO aims to manipulate Google algorithm. Black hat SEO employs dubious methods to push you to the top of search engine results pages rather than through earning the right to do so. Use of black hat SEO strategies over time is more likely to hurt than help your online presence.
If you’re new to the world of search, you should know that search engines like Google are designed to deliver the best results once a user completes a search. They make sure the results they offer don’t contain spam since they want users to have a nice search experience. They accomplish this automatically by using google algorithms or human procedures designed to identify and penalize SEO practitioners who use black hat techniques.
Due to the increasingly complex nature of search engine algorithms, black hat SEO and the most common SEO myths as well should be avoided at all costs. A much superior approach to search engine optimization is white hat SEO. It’s a more moral strategy that adheres to the rules and regulations established by search engines. White hat SEO focuses on producing unique content and improving the entire user experience for site visitors.
Keep reading this complete guide provided by SEO Agency.
What’s the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO violates search engine guidelines and manipulates them to improve rankings. It may result in getting completely removed from search results or moving down the rankings. White hat SEO is a more moral approach to SEO that emphasizes producing high-quality content and a positive user experience.
In order to ensure that you do not use black hat SEO strategies when creating your organic search strategy, this blog will describe what they entail.
What are the black hat SEO practices to avoid?
1) Stuffing keywords
The technique of cramming your content with unrelated keywords in an effort to control where the page appears on search results pages is known as keyword stuffing. When keywords are added in several variations even when they don’t bring any value, users are negatively affected. Additionally, it can make your page rank for unrelated inquiries.
Keyword stuffing is defined by Google as telephone directory lists with little extra value.
Text blocks that list the cities and states that a website is attempting to rank for. Using the same words or phrases in an unnatural number of repetitions.
For a website providing outbound marketing tools, consider the following instance of keyword stuffing:
“We sell outbound marketing software as our line of work. We supply outbound marketing software. Get in contact with one of our outbound marketing software advisors if you’re considering purchasing outbound marketing software.”
You’ll probably agree that it repeats itself a lot. It’s fairly obvious, and Google can determine that the material doesn’t sound natural.
You’ve probably heard the joke about the SEO copywriter who enters a bar or pub and orders beer, wine, or liquor from the Irish bartender. This joke, which addresses keyword stuffing, is another excellent illustration of the technique. Although the words are all similar to one another, they are useless because they can’t even be used to link together a sentence.
To figure out what people are searching for, you can conduct keyword research, however, it’s not a good idea to overuse these keywords in your content. Focus on producing helpful content that prioritizes subjects over keywords rather than stuffing it with unrelated keywords.
When using cloaking, consumers see one piece of content, while search engines see another. In order to rank for a number of terms unrelated to their content, websites using black hat SEO will do this. In an effort to prevent a search engine bot from discovering the spam content they are serving to visitors, spam websites frequently take this step.
It’s permissible to modify your material to appeal to various user groups. For instance, you might make your website’s size smaller for visitors using mobile devices. A page’s language can also be altered according to the nation from where a visitor hails. To pay for their content, publishers like Forbes or Inc. may alter the adverts that show up on a page. These are all very acceptable examples. if you are not only altering the information that is visible to search engine crawlers.
The best advice I can give is to ask yourself whether what you intend to do will solve for the user. There is no hard and fast rule to determine what is acceptable and what is not. It is acceptable if it does. You ought to handle web crawlers from search engines the same way you would any other user.
Use the fetch as Google tool to compare what users see to how Google perceives your website if you’re wondering.
3) Discreet Redirects
When someone is redirected, they are taken to a different URL from the one they originally clicked. Redirects are used by black hat SEO techniques outside of their intended context. Similar to cloaking, this can entail sending a search engine crawler to one page while sending all other users to a different one.
Another example is to redirect a page with a lot of backlinks and high authority into a page that is completely unrelated only to improve its ranking in search results. The majority of authority is transferred from one page to another using a 301 redirect. This implies that someone using black hat SEO may employ redirection for nothing more than to rig search engine rankings.
4) Low-grade Content
Another widespread tactic in black hat SEO is the use of low-quality content that is useless to searchers. This comprises a material that has been manually or artificially scraped from another website. Search engines like Google used to struggle to identify information that was plagiarized from other websites. This problem was fixed by the 2011 Google Panda update. The search rankings of numerous websites containing duplicate material were immediately lowered. Since then, Google has significantly improved its ability to detect duplicate and poor-quality information.
Using hidden keywords in your material is also against the rules. Some websites that use black hat SEO do this by having text that matches the background color of the page. As a result, even though the page doesn’t include any content directly related to those invisible keywords, it can nonetheless show up in search results for those terms. Because the keywords are hidden, when a person clicks on the result in the mistaken belief that it will be about the subject they looked for, they don’t see any of the content they were looking for. There shouldn’t be a need to hide anything on your website if you’re providing a solution for the user.
A further unethical technique for tricking search engines is the “bait and switch.” This entails producing material about a subject you want to rank for. The content is changed once the page starts to appear in search results for this subject. Searchers are given a bad experience because the content they clicked through to view is no longer available. These SEO techniques are bad because they deceive both users and search engines.
White hat SEO includes the creation of unique, high-quality content as a key component. In addition to being necessary to prevent a penalty from search engines, it will help distinguish your website. High-quality content helps you establish trust with your target market and converts site visitors into paying clients.
5) Paid Links
The purchasing and sale of links is absolutely prohibited by search engines like Google. Any links “designed to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be deemed part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines,” according to their website. This includes providing free goods in return for referrals to a website. Former Google webspam team leader Matt Cutts advises consulting the FTC rules if you’re unsure of what constitutes a proper trade.
It’s best to refrain from bribing other websites to connect to your material. Google requests information from users regarding any instances of link buying or trading. Once the activity is identified, they promise to sanction both the buyer and the seller of links.
If you read this and you’ve bought links without realizing it’s a black hat SEO technique, you should get them taken down as quickly as you can. If you are unable to convince webmasters to remove the links, you can also use the disavow links tool. This instructs Google not to take the purchased links into account when determining your Pagerank.
6) Abuse of Rich Snippets and Structured Data
Other names for structured data are rich snippets and schema. You can modify how your material appears on search engine results pages thanks to this feature. It gives you additional space on results pages and helps your content stand out from that of rivals. A page showing, among other things, a podcast, a recipe, or a book can have structured data added to it. Probably one of the most well-liked forms of structured data is reviews schema markup.
Giving false information in structured data to trick users and search engines are known as black hat SEO. To make themselves stand out on search results pages, a person using blackhat SEO can give himself five stars on a fictitious review website and include structured data. Because search engines like Google encourage users to report websites that abuse structured data, this is an extremely risky strategy.
This should not deter you from accurately and truthfully marking up content on your website. In fact, I urge you to add structured data in an ethical manner.
If you give users accurate information that is beneficial, you don’t need to worry. In addition to providing a useful tool for checking your structured data, Google has outlined the guidelines for adding structured data to your website.
7) Spam in blog comments
This black hat method, as the name implies, is posting a link to your website in blog comments. As search engines like Google altered their algorithms to discount any links in blog comments, this tactic is less common today. Nowadays, links in blog comments are nofollow by default on the majority of reliable blogs. This indicates that neither the link nor its authority is followed by search engines like Google.
There are still many people on Fiverr offering their blog commenting services, despite the fact that the number of people engaged in the practice has decreased. Commenting on blogs with links to your website is a spammy approach to get links to your website, so we strongly advise against it.
If you own a website, forum, or community that accepts comments, you should take precautions to make sure that neither humans nor bots can spam your comments section. Search engines like Google will degrade or eliminate entirely from the search results any pages that include spam. One strategy to reduce the risk of spam user-generated material is to employ anti-spam tools, such as Google’s free reCAPTCHA tool.
8) Chain Farms
A website or group of websites created specifically for link building is known as a “link farm.” Every website links to the website or websites that it hopes will rank higher in search results. Among other things, search engines rank websites based on the number of links pointing to them. White hat This is taken advantage of by SEO, which employs link farms to artificially boost a site’s number of backlinks.
Low-quality content and a lot of links are common in link farms. The anchor text of the links typically includes the keyword they want the website to rank for. Link farms should not be used since search engines like Google can readily identify them. Instead, you should employ white hat SEO strategies like producing incredible content, infographics, data, interviews, or any other type of content that enables you to gradually build up backlinks.
9) Networks of Personal Blogs
A collection of trustworthy websites used only for link building makes up a private blog network (PBN). In that they both try to inflate the number of links referring to a website, they are comparable to link farms. Although PBN sites do not link to one another, they all link to the website that they aim to improve in search results.
White Hat SEOs that wish to create a private network will typically purchase expired domains with established authority. They will add links to their own website and compose content that is identical to what was previously on the domain before it expired. They are hoping that by hiding the fact that they are in charge of a network of websites, search engines would place their primary website considerably higher in the list of results.
PBNs are now more easily detected by search engines, and if you use them to boost your site’s search visibility, you risk receiving a harsh penalty. Focus on producing high-quality content for your own domain rather than exerting effort to create phony websites. Keeping all of your information under one roof will make your website very authoritative because all links will point to the same domain.
Examples of Groupon’s Bait and Switch in Black Hat SEO
San Francisco Comprehensive Tours charged Groupon with using a bait and switch tactic. The tour operator conducted a single deal with Groupon, but long after it had ended, the voucher website kept promoting it on Google. There was no discount available when users clicked on Groupon’s page since the content had been changed. This bait and switch occurred in a PPC ad, but they frequently occur on organic results as well.
Links from Black Hat J.C. Penney
From “skinny jeans” to “home decor,” J.C. Penney appeared at the top of search results for a huge variety of keywords. The retailer’s outstanding performance in search results coincided perfectly with the holiday shopping season. This exceptional performance in search results was made possible by black hat SEO link building strategies that eluded Google’s attention.
Doug Pierce found that there were just over 2,000 backlinks. The exact keywords J.C. Penney wished to rank for were in the anchor text of these links. Many of the links led to pages that had nothing to do with J.C. Penney. These websites covered everything from casinos to cars. In an interview with the New York Times, J.C. Penney stated that it was not responsible for the links that were discovered.
Google acknowledged that J.C. Penney’s actions violated their webmaster guidelines and disclosed that they had previously broken the rules three times. When J.C. Penney was penalized by Google, they lost over 70 spots for keywords like “living room furniture.”
User Generated Spam from Sprint
A user by the name of Redleg x3 explained in a 2013 post on Google’s Webmaster Central forum that Sprint had received a Google warning about user-generated spam on their website. In a response to a thread, Google’s Matt Cutts stated that he could see that most of the website’s spam had been eliminated. The organization should “attempt to catch the spam a little faster or check if there are any ways to make it a little difficult for the spammers to publish a huge volume of messages on the community pages,” he said, according to his explanation.
Selling Links on Forbes
On the Google Webmaster Central forum, a person posing as from Forbes asked for assistance with a link violation notice. In the notification, Forbes was notified that there were some artificial links in the site’s content.
Google’s Matt Cutts said in a thread remark that he had repeatedly confirmed that bought links convey PageRank. For the penalty to be lifted, Cutts advised Forbes to remove the paid links that are PageRank-passing. According to TechCrunch, Forbes started to remove the paid links in 2011 after being fined.
Paid Link for Google Chrome
Even Google occasionally botches their own SEO.
On one occasion, a sponsored post about Google Chrome contained a follow link. Given that the link was added as part of sponsored material that the business paid for, this is considered black hat SEO. For a period of sixty days, the Google webspam team penalized www.google.com/chrome by lowering its Pagerank. Google Chrome’s negative reputation prompted it to fall in the rankings for the phrase “browser” in search results.
Reasons to stay away from black hat SEO
Black hat SEO is not illegal, but it does go against search engine webmaster standards. In other words, it continues to be forbidden. This means that if you use black hat SEO, you must be prepared to suffer a severe penalty as a result. If you receive a penalty from search engines, your website may appear lower in the search results or, worse yet, it may disappear entirely. As a result, fewer people will visit your website, which will lead to fewer sales.
Search engines are becoming more adept at identifying black hat SEO tactics. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to escape getting caught using black hat SEO techniques. Both the searcher and the search engine are not served by black hat SEO. While you might get short-term improvements using black hat SEO, over time search engines will catch on, hurting your online presence.
The Ambiguous Boundaries of Grey Hat SEO
Grey hat SEO can be found anywhere between black hat and white hat SEO, but not in the middle of a Robin Thicke song. It’s certainly a grey hat strategy if you have trouble classifying a particular SEO tactic as either black hat or white hat.
What is GREY Hat SEO?
Grey hat SEO uses a few dubious SEO techniques. They are slightly unethical and might one day be restricted, even if they do not violate search engines’ prohibited practices.
Grey hat SEO closely resembles black hat SEO. Grey hat techniques are typically not stated as prohibited activities in webmaster rules, although they are somewhat doubtful. Over time, as search engines learned about them, many grey hat techniques have evolved into black hat techniques.
How To Stay Away From Black Hat SEO
Without a doubt, black hat SEO is a dangerous endeavor that is not worthwhile. To avoid black hat SEO, follow these recommendations:
Search engines and users should both be treated equally. Do not “cloak” or mislead search engine crawlers by sending them to a different page. Your efforts should always be directed at providing solutions for the searcher and enhancing the user experience from the search engine to the website.
Write only original, high-quality content; refrain from filling it with keywords and choosing the right keywords for SEO. Never copy, rewrite, or scrape content that belongs to someone else. Our content creation kit and Google’s content standards may be useful. When adding structured data to your website, follow the rules. Make sure any schema markup you include is correct and doesn’t deceive users.
Never purchase or sell links, and keep in mind that a black hat deal involves more than just the exchange of money. Additionally forbidden is giving away goods in return for links. Consult the FTC endorsement rules and this in-depth blog post about Google’s paid links if you’re unsure whether an arrangement might be unethical.
Do not create a private blog network with the intention of obtaining links. Make your website and content stand out from the competition so that links to you come naturally rather than being forced. That always goes south. Keep up with webmaster guidelines so you can steer clear of black hat strategies that are forbidden by search engines. These are Google and Yahoo’s webmaster policies.
Avoid asking “how can I get rid of a Google penalty” in your next search. If something requires discussion as to whether it is a black hat or not, it usually is. Search engine optimization is significantly more effectively accomplished with a white hat tactic. Long-term, it will pay off, and you can rest easy knowing that there won’t ever be a drop in your ranks as a result of a harsh penalty. Therefore, never do black hat SEO for the love of search engines. They are the ones who keep us SEOs in business, after all.