Let’s get it straight – Google is strict about its Webmaster Guidelines and wants everyone, from SEOs to web developers, to know the rules of Search Engine Optimization. This is done to deliver its users the most relevant and useful search results. Despite this, there are plenty of digital marketers who follow black hat SEO practices as the shortcut to success.
The unethical SEO practitioners understand the rules of SEO, but they misuse this knowledge to get their websites to the top Google search engine rankings – and quickly. This is because SEO takes time to deliver proven results. However, this can backfire, impacting your SEO efforts and website rankings.
So, if you have been practicing these 6 black hat SEO practices – knowingly or unknowingly – or just getting started, make sure you avoid them right away. Otherwise, they can land you some serious manual and algorithm penalties.
Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid
1. Keyword Stuffing
Unnaturally stuffing your primary keywords in a page will not help improve its rankings in Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Keyword stuffing is pretty clear because you’ll find them unnecessarily included in paragraphs where they do not make any sense, or in random blocks that are not relevant to the content.
Since Google focuses more on content relevance and quality, it takes keyword stuffing seriously. This may pull down your page ranking and even get your website penalized.
2. Buying Backlinks
A high-authority, a quality backlink can drive increased traffic to your website, boost your page rankings, and ensure improved visibility. It tells Google that your website is trustworthy. However, the search engine prefers backlinks that are credibly sourced, i.e., through methods like guest posting, etc.
But often, marketers use black hat SEO practices such as buying backlinks. This is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and if you get caught buying links, it can get you a manual or automatic penalty.
3. Hidden Links
This is another unethical SEO practice that is against the guidelines laid down by Google. Often, marketers would hide a link in the content or make it look the same color as the background. Another black hat practice is to include numerous irrelevant links and force the readers to click. However, this dilutes the relevance of the page.
Additionally, Google considers it a way to deceive people and make them click the link even if they do not want to. This means you should avoid:
- Using a 0 font size
- Hiding texts behind an image
- Using CSS to keep texts off-screen
4. Using Duplicate or Automatically Generated Content
High-quality, engaging, and relevant content remains to be one of the top three search engine ranking factors. But creating one, and getting ranked for it, is not easy.
Therefore, marketers use a black hat SEO technique of automatically generating content that can help them rank for several keywords – without actually putting the effort to create high-quality and useful content. A common example is to create multiple location pages where the marketer uses the same content for every page by only changing the name of the location.
Duplicate or low-quality pages can pull down your Google search results, affecting your traffic and conversions.
5. Spamming in the Comment Section
Many black hat marketers adopt the technique of sharing the link to their website in the comments section of another website. But Google suggests avoiding it completely if it is not relevant to the content on the page. Elsewhere, you may be marked as a spammer and your SEO effort will go in vain.
6. Misleading Redirects
To improve organic SEO, SEOs often use redirects to ensure the website is well-structured and easily accessible by search engine crawlers and users. It is a common part of site migration. However, black hat SEO practitioners often use this technique unethically by placing sneaky redirects. This is done to deceive Google as it indexes an original page, but users are redirected to a different URL. This black hat technique violates Google’s guidelines.
If you want to improve your organic SEO rankings, we recommend avoiding the common black hat SEO tactics discussed above. Use white hat techniques and it will help you achieve proven SEO results.
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