Black hat SEO is the practice of increasing a site’s authority or ability to rank on Google and other search engines through techniques that violate their terms of service. Black hats are the bad guys. In some industries, black hats are referred to as hackers.
Unlike its counterpart white hat SEO, black hat SEO should be avoided because it can be detrimental to your website and your business. A list of these tactics has been denounced by Google, Bing, and other search engines as well.
Why is Black Hat SEO Bad for Your Website?
Black Hat SEO is bad for your website because not only does it provide no value to your customers and users, but it can get your website deindexed by Google and other search engines.
When Google recognizes a black hat technique being used, a manual action may be taken on your website. What this means is that Google has recognized that your website may be spam. If these manual actions are not addressed or fixed, Google will remove your website from its index.
What does this mean? It means that you cannot be found on Google!
What Are Some Black Hat SEO Tactics?
Keyword stuffing (also known by Google as irrelevant keywords) is the practice of overloading keywords into content to increase the frequency of the targeted keyword mentioned and increase the ability to rank.
Examples of keyword stuffing include unnaturally inserting a targeted keyword into content and metadata, and listing cities and states to gain local SEO relevancy.
An easy way to avoid this is to simply focus on creating quality content. Quality content will naturally avoid keyword stuffing, and remove the ability to use black hat SEO tactics.
Cloaking occurs when one redirect with certain content is showed to the crawlers and Google via HTML, while other content is being served with Flash to the user. Another form of cloaking is the creation of a page or content that is only shown to the crawlers and not intended for the user.
An easy way to avoid this black hat tactic is to always create content for users and always utilize HTML. HTML and HTML5 are what Google can easily read and utilize, and it is what both the user and crawlers can see. By providing a good user experience for users and crawlability for the crawlers, this black hat SEO tactic will never be a worry.
Similar to cloaking, sneaky redirects can be avoided by using HTML5 and providing a good user experience to users and crawlers.
Low-quality content has become more and more harmful to websites since the Google Panda Update. According to this update, sites with poor quality content are unable to work their way to the top of Google searches.
An easy way to avoid this black hat tactic is to avoid keyword stuffing and create high-quality and relevant content.
Paid Links & Link Farms
Paid links are backlinks that you purchase from another website in order to pass PageRank. Buying and selling links include exchanges of money, goods, services, products, etc. for links.
Link farms are websites created to link to a target page or set of pages in an attempt to grow the link value of that website.
Together, paid links and link farms are considered being link schemes that can negatively affect your website’s ranking.
Comment Spam, also known as user-generated spam, is content created by users or bots in an attempt to generate more traffic or links back to a certain webpage or website. This can include spammy accounts on free hosts, spammy posts on threads, and comment spam on blogs.
An easy way to avoid this is to not participate in it. Comment spam can negatively affect your website’s ranking ability and manual actions may be taken against your website.
What is the difference between Black Hat and White Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO tactics are those tactics that negatively affect your website’s ability to rank in Google searches, while white hat SEO tactics do the opposite. In fact, black hat SEO tactics tend to cause Google to take manual actions against your website, which can cause your website to get deindexed.
White hat SEO tactics help increase online visibility and keyword rankings for your website. Some examples of white hat SEO tactics include creating quality content, keyword targeted meta tags and authoritative link building.
What is Grey Hat SEO?
Somewhere in between black hat and white hat SEO is grey hat SEO tactics. Although not as risky as black hat SEO, there are still some negative results that can come from participating in grey hat SEO.
Similar to black hat SEO, it is safe to just stay away from grey hat SEO.
How to Avoid and Report Black Hat SEO
The best way to avoid black hat SEO is to simply not partake in the practice. Whether it be an internal team or an SEO agency, ensure that your SEO specialists are well aware of what the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO is. Remember, black hat SEO techniques can negatively impact the long term success of your business.
If you do come in contact with a manual action or black hat SEO, it is important to report it Google through Google Search Console (GSC). In GSC, you can report several types of black hat SEO (or webspam), including paid links, malware, and poor quality content.
By getting ahead of the issue, you will not be tagged with the manual action and you will be given the opportunity to fix the issue. Not only does this provide you with time to fix the issue, but it also gives Google the indication that they need to recrawl your site. Understanding this, it will give you the opportunity to capitalize on a free crawl.
Has your website been tagged with a manual action? You deserve better. Find a way to fix it with a free proposal today!
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