All About Black Hat SEO
There are many forms of “Black Hat SEO” techniques which can be doing more harm than good for your site. Below we will go through the steps you can take to clean up past Black Hat Strategies used and how to spot SEO companies (& competitors) from doing this type of work to your website in order to prevent future issues or penalties.
First off, What is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO is an internet term used to describe the use of manipulative strategies to rank your website. These usually come in the form of cheap/mass link building and link spamming as well as content and meta-tag manipulation to gain rankings on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). It can also be a powerful negative SEO technique that a competitor can launch against your website which can badly hurt your rankings. Google, Bing, & Yahoo have wised up to these strategies and using them will more often than not lead to your site being banned from search engines and well as blacklisted from certain sites!
What are some Black Hat Techniques?
There are literally hundreds of different types of Black Hat SEO Techniques but here are some of the most common:
- Spamming Blog Comments with Links
- Link Farming
- Hiding Content
- Keyword Stuffing Meta Tags and Descriptions
- Duplicate Content
Why do people use Black Hat SEO Strategies?
Black Hat SEO used to be (and still can be for very shortsighted people) a quick way to get your site ranking quickly and can even get your site traffic as well as income! By spamming links you create an image for Google that your site is important on the web and when it works it is a cheap way to start ranking you better based on these links. For people owning temporary sites or selling products for a short amount of time than it could be somewhat beneficial. These techniques were very popular amongst almost all SEO agencies for many years, because well, they worked. They worked so well that those attempting to do proper white-hat SEO were seeing themselves at the bottom of the search results (this is still somewhat of an issue but has been fixed dramatically). For people who want to start businesses and or a blog that they could have for a life-time than you should stay far from the use of any Black Hat techniques.
I do not recommend anybody using black hat techniques
Why should I avoid using Black Hat Strategies?
Black Hat strategies will get you ranking quickly and you may even notice your website gaining traffic for a few weeks to months, so why not use them? Search Engines use Spiders (a robot that crawls websites for information) to extract information on In/Out-Bound links, anchor text, HTML, content, audience, keywords, h1, h2, meta tags, and even Schema. These search engine spiders are given algorithms or rules to find the sites with the best content for the keywords people use in Search Engines.
As time goes on these Spiders pick up on Black Hat Strategies the complex algorithms begin to notice the spammy links that lead to sites that have no similar content to yours and your rank starts to drop very quickly. If you use enough Black Hat Strategies you can actually get banned completely from an entire search engine! Some of the biggest algorithm updates that affect Black Hat strategies are Penguin & Panda, but there are also times where even if these algorithms somehow miss a black hat site through their spiders Google will still penalize your site through a Manual Penalty. Manual Penalties are a form of penalty where an employee from Google personally reviewed your website and penalized it manually. These are very complex to remove and usually involve several tries. If you have received any Manual Action Penalties or have been affected by Penguin, Panda, or other algorithm changes please contact us to see how we can help. We have eliminated these penalties for several clients and can help you as well, although it can be a complex and long endeavor.
Please note – Google is always updating to better their Search Engine Results and want their audience to reach the content they are looking for, write good content and make valuable links to rank for the long term.
How do I know if the company I am employing for SEO Services using Black Hat Strategies?
Unfortunately the SEO industry is still very full of deceptive and manipulative companies who will be very dishonest in how they present their services and will often employ black hat strategies under the guise of white hat techniques. A few red flags are:
- They are offering the world for 499$ a month, you get what you pay for in this world and it is especially true for SEO. Paying less than 500$ a month to rank a website for any type of competitive keywords, local or national, is not realistic. If you are looking for a bargain, you are also usually going to find yourself working with a black hat agency and getting your site penalized.
- They are not using any form of content to rank your website (not adding value to your website.)
- Their reporting is full of random links that make no sense for your website, or are not showing any work at all. If the company you work with is presenting work that you don’t approve of, or is showing little transparency in the work they do, it is safe to say they will be using black hat strategies.
Should I be worried if I used Black Hat Strategies and its working?
If you are noticing a positive change in your rank from Black Hat Strategies you should be prepared for a quick downfall when Google’s Spider red flags you. The complex algorithms may not pick up on your black hat strategies just yet, but before long you will start getting blacklisted and/or penalized by Search Engines and sites.
If you haven’t noticed a negative change in rank but want to start taking the steps to become a White Hat Website than you’ll want to start disavowing some links. Get organic links and write organic content to get organic links naturally to start ranking without worries of penalties!
Please note – Sharing your good content is the best way to get others to share, don’t be afraid to give out quality information for free. The links will add value to your Domain and everybody wins!
What is Disavowing and how do you Disavow links?
Disavowing links is a way of telling Search Engines that certain websites linking to you are no longer of value, this will tell google not to count these links against you and begin removing the removing penalties process.
Please Note – Google Webmaster Disavow Links Tool will allow you to communicate to Google what sites you don’t want links from
Please Refer to Moz’s Blog http://moz.com/blog/black-hat-or-white-hat-seo-ask-better-questions for more information!