Search Engine Optimization or SEO refers to the process of improving the quality of a website traffic to another website or a web page via search engines. It mainly focuses on unpaid traffic rather than paid or direct traffic. There are mainly two types of SEO techniques that are used to improve a website traffic – the White Hat SEO and the Black Hat SEO. The white hat SEO refers to those tactics, strategies and techniques that are approved by Google for website optimization. These techniques include right keyword research and usage of specific keywords, backlinking, link-building, rewriting meta title and description, etc. Black Hat SEO is just the opposite. It refers to those techniques and practices that are mainly used to attain search engine rankings for a short period rather than for the long term. These techniques include keyword stuffing, paid blog posts and content spamming, inserting hidden texts and links, etc.
To get faster results, most of the website owners, bloggers, and even the digital marketing companies practice the black hat SEO strategies. They used to see good results initially, but ultimately ended up with Google penalty after Google introduced the Panda update.
The immediate change was visible in the SEO industry and it mostly hit the content marketing strategies, where SEO experts used to publish high volume of low-quality content on third-party websites just for the sake of link building.
Here are 20 Black Hat Techniques That Can Kill an SEO Campaign
- Guest Blogging just for Link Building
- Stuffing Keywords in the content
- Link Schemes
- Paid Links
- Doorway Pages
- Scraped Content
- Selling Links that pass pagerank
- Keyword stuffing on ALT Image Tags
- Plagiarized Content
- Article Spinning
- Referrer Spam
- Page Swapping
- Footer Link Spam
- Comment Spam
- Link Farming
- Link Baiting & Switching
- Invisible Content/Text
- CyberSquatting/Domain Squatting
Guest Blogging just for Link Building
Bloggers and website owners do guest blogging as part of their outreach, to improve their page ranks and brand name. But, things change when some do this for the sole purpose of link building. Guest blogging on low-quality websites with an intention to build links can land you in website penalty by Google, which is a great trouble indeed!
Stuffing Keywords in the Content
Proper Keyword research and inserting them on your website content is a great way to improve your website ranking. But, again, things can go worse if you do it a lot! Well, optimal insertion of keywords can do the good but, if you stuff keywords on your website content, then it becomes a black hat SEO technique. Maintain the keyword density marked by Google. Use only the targeted keywords and avoid stuffing thin keywords just for the sake of ranking.
Link Schemes include any links that are intended to manipulate the PageRank in Google SERPs. It will be considered as a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, including any behavior that hoax links to your site or outgoing links from your site.
Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to users and search engines, and this practice is against the WebMaster guidelines. Hence, it becomes a black hat SEO practice. Example: you show a page with images to the users while a HTML text page is served to search engines. Cloaking provides the users with a different result from what they had actually searched for.
There is no shortcut for link building and it takes a lot of time and effort to do it and to reap results. It is one of the best ways to make your website rank on search engines. But, paid links can make things easier. There is no check on the content quality, one can put any keyword as anchor text, and even can place a link in the desired content for the desired anchor text.
Doorway Pages or otherwise known as Gateway Pages are those pages that are having poor content quality, but stuffed with rich keywords of low proposition value. Such pages will not carry any relevant information as well. This page will be stuffed with keywords to make users land on the website and then they are sent to another page!
Scraped content is created when a website crawls another site and creates a duplicate content without creating an original content. This activity comes under black hat SEO. It can be avoided by using tools like copyscape, which helps to identify the scraped content in the article, and remove it.
Selling Links that pass Pagerank
In Google’s document, it reads this one word line – Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results. A do-follow attribute can lead to black hat SEO. Instead, you can add no-follow attributes to the anchor text.
Keyword stuffing on ALT Image Tags
There is a tendency among the bloggers and a few website owners to fill the ALT image tags with all the possible keywords. Over optimization of images with keywords can result to black hat SEO as it brings in negative user experience and can be tagged as spam.
When someone copies the exact content from another website and publishes it as their own content, it is called plagiarized content. Google gives huge penalties for such content, where even the entire website can face crisis. Once can check for plagiarism using the plagiarism checker to avoid any penalty.
Article spinning is yet another black hat SEO technique that is followed by many. This is a little different from plagiarism where the article from a website is copied and spinned, means the words are changed at places to form a new one, and then it gets published on another website. A single article gets spinned a number of times and appears as new content. This is also considered under black hat SEO.
Referrer spam is yet another black hat technique where the spammer makes repeated web site requests using a fake referrer URL to the site which he wants to advertise. In short, these are fake website hits created by the spammers to get more traffic.
In page swapping, you first index a page for a particular niche and later on, you change the content to something completely different. This means, when a user lands on a page after searching a particular keyword, they will find an entirely different content from what they had searched.
Footer Link Spam
Footer links help the visitors to navigate through the website easily. But in some cases, bloggers or seo experts place links on the footer as well. If those links are useful to the users, then it is not spam. But, if the link is placed with the sole purpose of ranking, then it is better to remove it as it is a black hat SEO strategy.
Leaving comments in blogs with links inserted on various blogs is yet another way of black hat strategy. The main intention of such link insertion is to generate maximum backlinks to improve the rankings. But, the fact is that you cannot hide Google.
Link farming involves the process where you seek links from poor quality websites and link to such websites. This can get you more backlinks but you will gradually lose your website value and rank.
Link Baiting & Switching
In this process, the writer creates an article or post with the right keywords following the Google norms. Once the article page gets ranked, the writer changes the content of the page to another product or article. So, when the visitor lands on the page, he will find irrelevant content from what was searched.
This means hiding text or links using CSS to position text off-screen, by using the same color font as the background. This is visible only to the search engines and not to the users.
Cybersquatting/Domain Squatting has become a very common practice these days but, it is a black hat SEO practice. Cybersquatting means registering domains similar to branded or popular businesses with the intention of getting financial benefits.
So, to conclude these are the most common black hat SEO techniques that you should avoid doing. Your motive should be to create links naturally and not to make your links look natural.