First off, what is black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO are techniques to boost SEO that go against the search engines guidelines. These are things that may deceive or trick the google spiderbots. It is worth discussing because you may accidentally want to apply one of these principles, thinking you can cheat your way to SEO. Some of these you may have accidentally used yourself. Also, I’m sure you have seen plenty of black hat practices out there on the internet.
Another reason we should talk about it is because it’s just darn interesting. Why and how are people tricking Google? As someone who earns my position on the SERP, it’s really fascinating to see what the bad guys of my industry are doing. Let’s take a look.
1. Spam Comments
This is the one that I myself actually have to deal with. Whenever i post a new blog post or even if we release a new video on YouTube, we will get some spam comments. And they are almost always the same. Some general nonspecific comment with a link attached. I’ve never clicked the link (learned that lesson the hard way.) but the reason for this is to get free backlinks for SEO. Though the power of these spammed backlinks cannot possibly be worth the effort, it is one of the most popular black hat SEO strategies in 2021. As fast as these comments go up, you can assume there are bots and scripts written to achieve this goal. So do everyone a favor, if you get one of these comments, just delete it. Make their time and effort completely worthless.
Cloaking is another popular form of black hat SEO that is being phased out by search engines. According to Wikipedia Cloaking is “a search engine optimization (SEO) technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user’s browser.”
So for instance you have a meme page but know it is not going to be pleasant for SEO? There are different ways you could “trick” the google spiders into thinking your page deserves a high ranking on their front page.
By adding text that is SEO friendly, by hiding it or making it the same color as the background will please the google robots but not get in the way of your hilarious memes.
Flash based websites are not popular with search engines. So if the site needs to be flash base, some will present their site to search engines as html rich, but the users will receive the flash website.
There are different ways to present your site as something else. But there is no way to do this in an ethical manner that does not violate the terms of agreement with google.
3. Keyword Stuffing
Now this is one of the black hat SEO techniques that was popular, and one that you may think to use completely by accident. As you are making your site or writing your blog post, you add in your keywords, but think that it may not be enough. So you add your keywords to the alt text of your images. And the next thing you know, you’ve added your keyword into the web page’s meta tags, visible content, or backlink anchor text. Your webpage is bursting with keywords.
Search engines are becoming more sophisticated and will now penalize your sire if they find TOO many keywords in it. That’s why when you read SEO guides they will warn you about keyword stuffing.
4. Doorway Pages
This is a term that became well known in the SEO world, when large companies were caught using this technique. At the time, they probably thought of only ranking on search engines and didn’t know what the digital landscape would look like if everyone used this technique.
Here is Google Developers with a definition:
Doorways are sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user’s search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.
A popular way this was done (and probably still is done) was to create different pages or domains for specific locations and countries. Each one of these pages then would funnel the users onto one page or one piece of content. So they would make a german domain, that wold act as a doorway to your ecommerce web page. And you would make one for each country that would rank in google, but then just take you to the ecommerce page.
If doorway pages could run rampant, they would clutter the internet with pages directly targeted at you, taking you somewhere else.
5. Duplicate Content
This is another one that you may just accidentally do and hurt yourself in the process.
Say you are making your site and you make some excellent content. It is perfect and you know it is. Now you are making another page and it just isn’t stacking up to your previous work. You get the idea to just add that content to your new webpage. Sure it won’t look exactly great to have the same content across multiple pages, but it is still relevant and you know that SEO boost would be helpful in the long run.
Google likes unique content. When it sees a block of the same content across multiple URLs it will flag it, and all of the pages will suffer. Whether it may be of convenience, laziness or you are just trying to game the system, refrain from copy and pasting your content.
What Goes Around Comes Around
If you are using these or any other black hat seo practices, it will harm you in the long run. Even if you are kinda keyword stuffing, it is not a good habit to get into. Search engines are getting more and more sophisticated. You should always use honest, high quality seo practices. That way no matter hwo google changes you will not have to worry.
There will probably come a time when you see one of your competitors using a black hat seo technique. It may be disheartening, but know it will have long-term consequences. If you see spam or paid links, you can always report them to Google.
At Light Wings Promotions, we only use the best of SEO practices. We believe that the honest work you put into it will yield results for a long time. We offer Organic Traffic Generation, and will build up your website to attract visitors completely on its own merit.
Check out our blog for more tips on SEO and branding!