Written by Annie-Mai Hodge on 08.05.2020
Risky Black Hat SEO: Why Should You Avoid Using It?
Search engines are becoming increasingly more intelligent all the time, but there will always be people who try their best to outsmart the algorithms and boost their rankings quickly using underhanded tactics.
It’s important to ensure your website is visible in search engines in order to help your business grow, but using shady tactics will eventually damage your SEO, meaning it will take a long time for your site to recover.
Black hat SEO is bad news, not only is manipulating search engines unethical and creates a bad user experience for those who land on your page, it also puts your page at risk of being deindexed.
SEO can be hard work, and it can take time to see results, so it can often be tempting to engage in unscrupulous practices to get a quick and easy fix, but going against search engine guidelines is unlikely to end well for your website in the long run.
These are the most commonly used black hat tactics that you should avoid at all costs to ensure the long-term success of your website.
This is the practice of overusing target keywords to the point that it becomes unnatural or cramming as many SEO keywords onto a page as physically possible until it is no longer user-friendly.
It’s generally defined by Google as repeating the same words over and over, listing phone numbers without substantial added value and using blocks of text to list cities and other areas that a page is trying to rank for.
Search engines are sophisticated enough to spot when content sounds unnatural due to overusing keywords. So, you should focus on creating content that is useful to the reader and focuses on topics, rather than overusing irrelevant keywords in an attempt to increase search engine visibility.
Article spinning and duplicate content
Search engine algorithms prefer unique content, as it makes for a much more user-friendly experience than having several different domains with identical or almost duplicate content.
The practice of copying content over domains, or ‘article spinning’ where special software rewrites content to modify it slightly and mask it as a ‘unique’ post to manipulate rankings, is frowned upon.
Duplicating content or spinning articles will most likely result in your page being picked up by Google’s plagiarism tools which will cause you to receive a penalty that will be difficult to recover from in the future.
Cloaking is a deceptive practice that some webmasters use to deceive search engines, defined by Google Search Console as the technique of presenting different content or URLs to human users than to search engine crawlers.
This shady SEO method tricks search engines by delivering a different version of the web page on the server-side script while having completely different content visible to users on the page, mainly giving users irrelevant and unrelated results from their searches.
This is absolutely against Google Webmaster Guidelines and could result in a cloaking penalty if Google decides that your intent to cloak is suspicious, which will seriously damage your long-term success.
Buying links and link schemes
Buying links is a trap that many webmasters can fall into because, on paper, it takes all the hard work out of link building.
Participating in any kind of link scheme, whether through buying and selling links, making multiple domains to link to another page, linking to someone who you know will provide you with a backlink in exchange or using automated services that generate links, is an unethical practice that is against search engine guidelines.
Links are intended to be a recommendation from one website to another, but when links are being traded and bought, it is no longer an honest recommendation.
Backlinks have a profound effect on a website’s ranking, and having so much control over where your website’s backlinks come from and what anchor text is used for the link can seriously manipulate your rankings, so it is important to ensure you have a clean backlink profile.
Participating in link schemes is a sure-fire way to damage your link profile, as if the sites linking to you also link to spammy or low-quality websites, this will discredit the link pointing to your page as well.
If Google’s algorithm decides that your site has too many spammy backlinks pointing towards it, your site will get a penalty and may even be deindexed.
Black hat link building is extremely risky, so if you want to ensure that your next link building campaign is done correctly, iGuestBlog has plenty of affordable SEO packages for white hat link building with genuine manual outreach to suit all types of businesses.
Spam comments are an outdated tactic that some misguided SEOs still try to use to create free backlinks, either manually or with tools that automatically leave spam comments across the web.
However, this tactic is a complete waste of time, because any links from comments are ‘nofollow’ and give no positive ‘link juice’ to your website.
This black hat technique is as simple as it sounds – writing white text on a white background or behind an image, usually a list of target keywords, in an attempt to rank for them.
By writing in invisible text, this cannot be seen by the user, but can still be picked up by search engine crawlers. If the keywords hidden are unrelated to the content on your website, you are not solving the search for the user and therefore creating a bad user experience.
When this is done in an attempt to manipulate search rankings, it is considered deceptive and will be picked up by Google’s crawlers and will result in the offending site being penalized.
Use white hat SEO to future proof your website
If you are serious about your website’s long-term SEO, it’s essential that you only engage in white hat practices. These may require more time and hard work, but ensuring you avoid the above practices will ensure you avoid any penalties and preserve the long-term success of your online business.