Black Hat SEO refers to tactics that are meant to manipulate the search engine rankings to help push your websites up the rankings to the front page or even the top of the front page instead of doing white hat strategies like video seo. These are tactics that are known for being overly aggressive, blatantly manipulative, and that focus heavily or fully on search engines as opposed to human readers. While tactics will change over time based on what is working at the moment, it’s pretty easy for Google and other search engines to spot Black Hat tactics when they see them.
Why Black Hat?
Some people try Black Hat because they’re not interested in a long-term slog involved in truly taking the time to build up a business and to do it right through thorough work and long term foundation building. Black hat is used by “experts” looking to make a fast and huge return on a short-term burst of work.
This not a viable long-term strategy, and is a good way to get a website banned from a search engine. In addition to this, if it is caught early enough then often time advertisers will bail or even withhold payment due to the TOS being broken. The Past (and some current) examples include scraping authority from expired domain purchases and re-directs, spamming backlinks, and more.
Typical Examples of Black Hat Techniques
There are many examples of different black hat techniques that are still used. Try avoiding these strategies at all costs if you want a good long term relationship with Google and other search engines.
#1: Keyword Stuffing
Keep keywords less than 2%. This was more prevalent in the late 1990s and early 2000s when search engines were loaded with pages that had one word repeated over and over again, and although search engines have improved there are many ways to try to sneak in more keywords in a way that make it less visible and make pages take longer to get punished. Avoid the temptation.
#2: Hidden Links or Hidden Text
Matching text to the same color as the background of the footer are ways this is done. Hidden links include having pictures without captions or any warning throughout the website that these are links. This is especially viewed negatively if they go to affiliate sites. Search engines are okay with websites making money – just not being sneaky about it.
#3: Never Cloak Links
Setting it up, so search engine spiders see one section of content while visitors see another. This was often done with adult websites or creates a page, so search engines see something basic and informational but the person who clicks in sees links to gambling websites, pornography, or something completely unrelated. Cloaked links may work for a while, but they do get found, and then they are punished severely.
#4: Spamming Backlinks
Backlinks are still an extremely important part of ranking in the search engines, and it can be tempting to massively collect backlinks through automated software, spamming, link farms, PBNs, or a variety of other methods. While this can still work in the short term, it is working less and less often, and Google sees this as a flagrant violation of their terms of service. They won’t tolerate it for long.
#5: Comment Spamming
This connects with #4 for sure. This is going to dozens or hundreds of blogs with comments like “Good post. Look at this URL.” Not only do these not work, but enough of these get flagged, and Google and other search engines may slap your website back into the stone ages even before there’s any seen benefit. Avoid this SEO Spam Penalties.
There are many other methods, but these five clearly show some of the most common and should be avoided at all costs if you want sustainable long term profits.