Black hat SEO utilizes unethical and unscrupulous methods to achieve high rankings in the search engines (see The Black Hat of SEO: Unveiling the Bogus Claims of Bad SEO Firms). As you seek to optimize your site to improve your ranking with the search engines and help potential clients or customers find you, there are several practices you should avoid:
- Linking to sites that violate acceptable SEO practices or use malicious software.
- Offering links to Web sites that are not related to the content and purpose of your Web site.
- Participating in link farms.
- Providing links to sites that are currently under search engine penalty.
- Purchasing links.
1) Hidden Text
Hidden text is text that is invisible or barely discernible to a human eye. Hidden text may take the form of text that is written in a font that is the same color as a Web site’s background, it may be text that is written in a font size too small for the human eye, or it may be hidden in your site’s source code. Hidden text tactics fill your site with keyword rich text that helps your Web site rank high on the search engines. But it is an unethical way to achieve such results.
Hidden text is unethical because you are essentially building your site for search engine results rankings and not for the people that actually visit your site. You are beefing up your site with material that will never be viewed by the people that come to your site. Search engine spiders see text that is not visible to your site’s human visitors; thus, you can achieve a higher ranking by tricking the search engine spiders into thinking that your site is more keyword rich and relevant than it is.
While this strategy may work in the short term, it is ineffective for long-term results.
2) Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is related to hidden text in that you are creating a page that is saturated with keywords; however, this information may be visible to people that visit your site or used features such as meta tags and no-script tags. When you stuff your Web site with keywords, you are using terms repetitively throughout your site without developing strong and relevant content.
Sometimes, black hat SEO firms will target keywords that have nothing to do with your site—but are popular among search engine users—just to generate traffic to your site. This is unethical and does not provide you with the results strategically targeted traffic can afford you.
3) Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is when you develop content that you continually use verbatim on various pages of your Web site or when you develop several Web sites that use the same content. The reason black hat SEO firms utilize this technique is because search engine spiders rely heavily on the keywords found in the content of a Web site to determine page ranking.
By using the same content in different URLs (Web site addresses), black hat SEO practitioners try to get all of their Web sites to populate at the top of search engine results pages. They do this in hopes of knocking out their competition by securing the first page of search results for their keywords. This ensures that search engine users will have to click on one of these black hat optimized sites since these sites saturate the top results for a given search.
Duplicate content can also take the form of stolen content. Sometimes, black hat SEO firms will see what Web site ranks #1 on a search engine for a particular keyword search and then copy the content from that successful site for their own use. This is not only unethical, but it’s illegal. If your SEO firm suggests using content from someone else’s Web site, be sure to receive written permission from the site before publishing it on your own. If you don’t receive that written permission, it is best to put some elbow grease into developing your own unique content.
Cloaking is the process of developing a Web site for the purpose of search engine submission and indexing; a separate site is then developed that is not accessible to search engine spiders but only humans. In this way, black hat SEO practitioners can achieve high rankings for keywords that are not relevant to the actual content that humans see on their site. And the actual content that humans see on a Web site is never seen by search engine spiders. This is an unethical practice. Remember, the purpose of search engines is to provide users with access to information. When you try to manipulate search engines you are obstructing people’s ability to find the information that they need. This will ultimately hurt you as users will associate your business with unethical marketing practices.
5) Doorway Pages
6) Bad Linking Strategies
Bad linking strategies include the following:
While links have been shown to improve a Web site’s ranking with the search engines, the quality of the sites that you link to is important when it comes to determining page rank.
Practicing black hat SEO may generate significant results for your firm, but they will not be lasting. And using any of these black hat SEO practices can get you penalized by search engines. Penalties for using black hat SEO range from decreased page ranking for key word searches to being completely banned from search engine indices. These penalties may thwart your online marketing efforts and prevent you from achieving an edge over your competitors.
Knowing the strategies of black hat SEO is important when you are developing your site and trying to select a firm that can optimize your site for your targeted audience. If an SEO firm tells you they will utilize any of these practices, you should search for another firm. The SEO firm you choose will affect the success of your Web site and you will be held accountable for the tactics they employ.
If you are hiring a firm to do your SEO, it is important that you understand exactly what strategies they will utilize to optimize your site. To create a lasting impression with your future clients and establish sustainable returns on your Internet marketing campaign, it is important that your site is optimized according to the standards of acceptable SEO practices established by search engines.
Call SonicSEO.com today at 888-437-3737 to get your site listed above your competitors on the search engines like Google and Yahoo!