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07 Dec

Are You Still Using Black Hat SEO?

Are You Still Using Black Hat SEO?

Many clients may not know their SEO strategies are outdated or just out right ineffective.  As SEO professionals you have to question your methods.  Some newbies or “do it yourself” website owners could applying SEO that qualify as “black hat SEO tactics.”

Black hat SEO are aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics.  These SEO “tricks” are focused only on search engines.  Many consider these strategies outdated and will be penalized by Google’s algorithm which has long since caught up with these tactics.  Applying these methods to your website are considered ineffective.

What Are Common Black Hat SEO Practices?

Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are designed to manipulate search engines into giving the website a better rankings.  I know, what’s so bad about that?  The “black hat” part of this, has to do with context and value. Essentially doorway pages contain no valuable content for the user/visitor.  Google determines a doorway page by a page’s bounce rate.  Google has additional ways of also determining doorway pages.  When users consistently click a link when searching then immediately closes out of the tab, it figures the search term(s) aren’t relevant to that page.  Yes, we know.  Some users are just indecisive haha.

Whats a better option?

Landing pages with rich keywords directed to your audience.  This also must be relevant content to your website.

Invisible Text

Crazy right?  That just seems pointless, exactly why this is a black hat SEO tactic.  Before 2004 when Google had not quite perfected their algorithm, this was used often.  This black hat SEO practice utilized placing keywords in the body text of a page but would be invisible to visitors.  Violations like this will result in your website penalized.  Really when you think about it, doesn’t help your end user/customer either.  When caught, you’ll likely be removed from googles index.

Keyword Stuffing or Keyword Spamming

Keyword spamming is “stuffing” keywords that have no context and have small relation to either the body content, the page title, slug, or meta descriptions. With Google’s ever learning and evolving algorithm, it can understand context.  This black hat SEO tactic is no longer effective as it once was and hasn’t been for more than a decade.

“There are all kinds of weird and wonderful ‘rules’ about keyword density in content,” writes SEO expert Claire Broadley in her article 50 Reasons Your Website Deserves to Be Penalized By Google, “The truth is that none of these rules are proven, and a very high keyword density is a flag for poorly written content.”

As we said Google can now understand context which makes keyword stuffing is easy to spot.  When caught you are penalized accordingly.  This is the Brandy algorithm update by Google in 2004.  One of the many changes in the algorithm increased attention to anchor text relevance.  This is when link “heighborhoods” concept started.  More on this later.

Cloaking

First thing to know, search engines uses “spiders” which are programs that visits sites, reads their pages and creates entries for a search engine index.  So what is “cloaking”?  It is the practice of highly optimized pages only shown to search engine spiders.  Site visitors won’t see these pages, which is what makes it a black hat SEO practice.  Content is not necessarily relevant to the visitor.

You may have been able to see by now that most, if not all, these black hat SEO strategies started out as white hat SEO.  With any business, it’s a sport and the whole point is to “win”.  Cloaking isn’t always a bad thing and sometimes necessary. The whole way it is good or bad is the way it is used.

Link Farms

Crazy right?  That just seems pointless, exactly why this is a black hat SEO tactic.  Before 2004 when Google had not quite perfected their algorithm, this was used often.  This black hat SEO practice utilized placing keywords in the body text of a page but would be invisible to visitors.  Violations like this will result in your website penalized.  Really when you think about it, doesn’t help your end user/customer either.  When caught, you’ll likely be removed from googles index.

So here’s the thing about SEO…

Optimizing your site for search is really just common sense.  Understand your audience and give them what they are looking for with the correct content.  Be relevant, make it useful and add value.

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