We are going to cover the Black Hat SEO in below points in this guide:
- Introduction to Black Hat SEO – Definition & Meaning
- Most Common Black Hat SEO Techniques
- Why should you avoid Black Hat Techniques in SEO
- Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Black Hat SEO Techniques
- Is Black Hat SEO Legal?
- How do I report Blackhat to SEO?
- What is White Hat and Black Hat SEO?
- What does Black Hat mean in Marketing?
- Does Black Hat SEO Still Work?
Introduction to Black Hat SEO – Definition & Meaning
Black hat SEO refers to a method or set of practices that are used to increase a site or page’s organic rank in Google or other search engines through means that violate the search engines’ terms of service. Currently, it’s used more commonly to describe computer hackers, virus creators, and those involved in performing unethical actions with computers.
Most Common Black Hat SEO Techniques
If your goal is to stay above board with Google and other search engines, then do not practice the following SEO techniques. These are considered as the black hat in SEO & are disapproved. Below are some of the major black hat SEO techniques:
- Doorway Pages
- Keyword Stuffing
- Invisible Text
- Article Spinning
- Duplicate Content
- Paid Links
- Sneaky Redirects
- Typo squatting or URL Hijacking
- Negative SEO
- Content Automation
- Guest Post Spam
We are going to explain these black hat techniques one by one:
This SEO method tricks search engines to get the desired ranks for target keywords. Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to human users and search engines.
It’s a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines as it serves people with irrelevant results.
Google’s guide about cloaking: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/cloaking
Also known as gateway pages, jump pages or bridge pages, ones that are specially optimized for targeted keywords and designed to rank high for a set of particular queries. The sole purpose of these pages is to trick the search engines and direct a visitor from a selected result to another, unrelated destination. These pages have very little value.
Read more about doorway pages, here: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/doorway-pages
This is a deceptive technique as it overuses the same keywords throughout one page to maximize its visibility and organic traffic. The content thus doesn’t look natural and it’s not user-friendly.
Here is the link you can read what Google says about Keyword Stuffing: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/irrelevant-keywords
The invisible text means using white text, a list of keywords, on a white background. In this method, keywords are made completely invisible for a visitor, but it is possible for search engines to still detect and index them.
Google’s explanation about Hidden text and links: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/hidden-text-links
Article spinning is quite a popular technique. One can observe a high- level plagiarism here as it involves using special software which takes the copied source and rephrases it for later use as a “new”, “unique” post. Such modifications easily narrow down the risk of being detected by any plagiarism tool.
This refers to the “copy and paste” content creation practice wherein across various domains and the blocks of copied content from different sources exactly match each other or look almost similar. This can be regarded as the worst black hat techniques because search engines prefer unique content and this is just a copy-paste of some already used content. It results in poor user experience. To avoid copies of your content, it is crucial to implement a canonical tag to indicate the original version of your article. This way, you can be successful to make other copies invisible for Google bots.
This includes link buying & selling of links. Manipulators send a website free product in exchange for links. Google strictly bans the buying and selling of links. They have already stated on their website that “any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s SEO ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
Considered as a good practice earlier, over the years 301 redirect then began to be used as a bad SEO technique. In case the original page has moved or changed, one can use it to send a user from a URL to another one. The webmasters/manipulators generally are redirecting the old site to their site.
Another example of a sneaky redirect is practiced on online movies sites. When one clicks on the play to see a movie, it redirects you on all kind of sites, most of them being unrelated.
According to Google, Some examples of sneaky redirects include:
- Search engines show one type of content while users are redirected to something significantly different.
- Desktop users receive a normal page, while mobile users are redirected to a completely different spam domain.
Read in detail what Google think about it: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/sneaky-redirects
Typo squatting or URL Hijacking
This black hat hijacking method is based on a typographical error which is used to create malicious domains to look similar to well-known brands. The error so made get counted as common misspelling, unnoticed foreign spelling, an abuse of the Country Code Top-Level Domain. The main reason behind this black hat SEO practice is to profit from the trademark name and brand’s fame.
Negative SEO refers to cutting the traffic and decrease SEO visibility continuously. No one wants to do that for their website but it’s a black hat SEO practice where one would false report their competitors to get them penalized.
Here the content is generally automatically and published on one’s site using tools or scripts. No efforts for content generation are poured from the manipulator’s end. Such content is generated with no intent for the user, and it doesn’t have any format or style, it is without pictures, HTML headings, paragraph spacing, alignment and so on.
To save time and efforts one might think it’s a good idea to generate ample amount of content but one might soon start to experience significant rank loss, keyword stuffing and also be at the constant risk of getting blacklisted from the search engine.
Check out here what Google says about Automatically generated content: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/auto-gen-content
Guest Post Spam
This is the most commonly used black hat technique. This is generally used to get backlinks. The manipulators usually send messages via emails to bloggers to publish an irrelevant article with a link which most of the times is a do-follow link.
What Matt Cutt from Google says about Guest Blogging : https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/guest-blogging/
Apart from these above-mentioned black hat SEO techniques, some other black hat techniques are as follows –
- Link Schemes – https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/link-schemes
- Link Farms, Link Wheels or Link Networks
- Rich Snippet Markup Spam
- Automated Queries to Google
- Creating domains, subdomains, or pages with duplicate content
- Pages with malicious behaviour, such as phishing, viruses, trojans, and other malware
Why should you avoid Black Hat Techniques in SEO
Black hat SEO might not be illegal but it does violate certain guidelines laid down by the search engines. It’s against the rules. Those who engage in black hat SEO would definitely get hit with a penalty as punishment. On getting penalised from search engines, your website will drop down in the search results or it could be removed completely. Thus, your website will gain very less or no traffic and get fewer customers.
In the current times, after being aware of the black hat SEO practices, Search engines have improvised at detecting them. Practising Black hat SEO techniques does no good for the searcher nor the search engines. One might see short-term gains from black hat SEO but over time search engines will surely trace on your black hat techniques and thus decrease your presence in search.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Black Hat SEO Techniques)
Q. Is Black Hat SEO Legal?
Ans: Black hat SEO might not be illegal but it does violate certain guidelines laid down by the search engines. It’s against the rules. Those who engage in black hat SEO would definitely get hit with a penalty as punishment.
Q: How do I report Blackhat to SEO?
Ans: You can remove the spammy backlinks with Google’s disavow tool to tell the Google that the low-quality sites are linking maliciously to you. You can file a complaint via Google’s webspam report. You can also report Black Hat strategy through Bing’s content removal feature.
Q: What is White Hat and Black Hat SEO?
Ans: White hat SEO refers to all the techniques that operate under the rules and expectations set by the search engines and their users. While Black Hat SEO is said to be the exact opposite of white hat SEO. Black hat optimization refers to a set of methods or practices that are used to increase a site or page rank in search engines through means that violate the search engines’ policy/terms of service. When compared to black hat SEO techniques which increases website traffic from search engines very fast, white hat SEO is slow in operations as it works and is depended on the standards set by Google and other search engines.
Q: What does Black Hat mean in Marketing?
Ans: Black hat marketing is the type of online marketing that use of unethical strategies to promote online businesses which become illegal sometimes. These strategies are against the rules and use deception and manipulation to accomplish their objectives.
Q: Does Black Hat SEO still Work?
Ans: It might be, but we advice – don’t do it. On getting penalised from search engines, your website will drop down in the search results or it could be removed completely by deindexing all your webpages. Thus, your website will gain very less or no traffic. It will hurt your business’s credibility and Search Engine Optimization.
Interested in Search Engine Optimization? You might be interested in below SEO related post:
On-Page SEO – The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO – The Ultimate Guide to Off-Page SEO
White Hat SEO – Introduction, Important White Hat SEO Techniques, Pros of White Hat SEO
Grey Hat SEO – Introduction, Popular Grey Hat SEO Techniques, Pros and Cons
White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO vs Grey Hat SEO – Difference between White Hat SEO, Black Hat SEO and Grey Hat SEO
Local SEO – A Simple and Complete Guide for Beginners
Ecommerce SEO – Popular eCommerce Platform for SEO, Ecommerce SEO Strategy
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