Black Hat SEO is a practice against the guidelines of the search engines, which is used to obtain a higher ranking in search results (SERPs). These unethical tactics do not solve the search engine and often end in a search engine penalty. Some common black hat tricks, tactics and techniques include cover-up, keyword stuffing, cloaking, and use of private link networks.
Appearing in the results of search engines is vital for business growth, but there is a right and a wrong way to optimize your website for the search engines. The dark art of black hat search engine optimization (SEO) is the wrong way. Black hat SEO searches for game search engine algorithms, instead of solving the queries for the user. Instead of earning the right to get a high score on search engine results pages (SERPs), the black hat uses suspicious tactics and tricks to get there. The sustained use of black hat techniques can most-likely damage the presence of your website in search engines rather than improve it.
Finally, We can say: These practices are towards the google algorithm or search engine’s term of provider and can result in the website being banned from the search engine and affiliate or paid sites.
Black Hat SEO vs. White Hat SEO
Black hat search engine optimization goes against the guidelines set by search engines and manipulates their bots to gain higher rankings in SERPs. It can lead to being wiped completely from search engine result pages or gaining a lower position in the ranking. White hat SEO is a more ethical way of doing search engine optimization by creating a good user experience, quality content, and good quality links.
Black Hat Techniques in SEO
1. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing or keyword filling refers to the practice of stuffing your content with irrelevant keywords in an attempt to manipulate the place the page occupies on search results pages. Adding multiple variations of keywords where they don’t add value creates a bad experience for users. You can also have your page ranked for irrelevant queries.
Google explains keyword stuffing as:
Lists your phone numbers without substantial adding value to it.
Blocks of text listing states and cities a web page is trying to rank for
Repeating the same phrases or words so often that it sounds unnatural.
Here’s a perfect example of stuffing of keywords for a website selling outbound marketing software:
“We’re one of the best business in selling outbound marketing software or paid tools for creating automatic outbound links. Outbound marketing software is what we provide to our customers. If you want to get outbound marketing software get in touch with our outbound marketing software consultants.”
I think you will agree with my point that sounds like a broken record. It is pretty easy to spot and Google bots will be able to tell that this type of content sounds unnatural.
There is a common joke which says that “a copywriter walks into a pub, bar, grill, public house, Irish, bartender, beer, drinks, wine, liquor”. This joke is about the stuffing of keywords and it is another top example of this malpractice. The keywords are all similar to each other, but they are not adding any value as they do not even string up a sentence.
You can do keyword research in order to find out what people are looking for, but excessive use of all these keywords in your content is not a good idea. Instead of filling your content with irrelevant keywords, you should focus on creating useful content that only focuses on keyword issues.
Cloaking involves showing a piece of content to users and a different piece of content to search engines. Websites that practice black hat SEO will do so. so that the content is classified for a plethora of irrelevant terms for their content. Spam websites often do this to try to prevent a search engine robot from discovering or indexing the spam content that users serve.
Adapting your content to different user groups is acceptable. For example, you can reduce the size of your website when someone visits it from a mobile device. You can also change the language of a page depending on the country from which someone is visiting. An editor like Forbes or Inc could change the ads that appear on a page to fund its content. These examples are completely acceptable. As long as it’s not just changing the content that appears for search engine crawlers.
While there is no strict and fast rule to determine what is acceptable and what is not, my best advice is to ask yourself: what do you intend to solve for the user? If it does, then it is acceptable. You should treat search engine robots that crawl your site in the same way as any other user.
If you are curious to know how Google sees your website, you can use the search tool as a Google tool and compare this with what users see.
To Learn More About Cloaking Watch This Video:
3. Sneaky Redirects
A redirect comprises sending a different URL to someone than the one they initially clicked. Black hat SEO uses redirects outside the purpose for which they are intended. In the same vein as the cover-up, this could include redirecting a search engine crawler to one page and all other users to another page.
Another perfect example is to redirect a highly authorized page with many backlinks to another irrelevant page, just to increase its position in the search results. A 301 redirect passes most of its authority from one page to another page. This means that someone who practices black hat search engine optimization could use redirects solely for the purpose of manipulating search results.
Redirects should only be used for the purpose for which they were designed. It could be in case you change the website domain or consolidate two pieces of content. It is also acceptable to use JS to redirect users on some occasions. Take, for instance, LinkedIn that redirects you to the full profile of someone when they are online, instead of showing you the public version of a profile of users when they are offline. On the other hand, sneaky redirects should be avoided. They violate the guidelines of search engines such as Yandex and Google.
4. Poor Quality Content
Low-quality content that has no value for the search engine is also a common practice in black hat search engine optimization. This includes content extracted from another website by a bot or a person. At one point, search engines such as Google were not good at recognizing content that had been copied from other websites. The Google Panda update in 2011 solved this problem. Many sites with duplicate content had instant success in search rankings. Since then, Google has greatly improved by recognizing duplicate and low-quality content.
In addition to this, adding invisible keywords to the content is a prohibited practice. Some web apps that engage in black hat search engine optimization do this by making the text the same color as the background of the page. This means that the page may appear in the search results of those invisible keywords, even if there is no visible content on them on the page. When a user clicks on the result thinking that it is going to be the topic they searched for, they cannot find the content they were looking for because the keywords are invisible. If you are resolving the user, there should be no need to hide content on your website.
One of the most common methods of black hat trick or technique is “Bait & switch” which is widely being used by spammers to fool different search engines. This involves creating content around a topic for which you want to rank. Once the page is ranking in results for this topic, the content is changed to something else. This creates a negative experience for search engines since the content they click to view no longer exists. These practices fool users and search engines and are not a good way to do search engine optimization.
Writing original and quality content is an important part of white hat search engine optimization. Not only is it necessary to avoid a search engine penalty, but it will also distinguish your website. Creating high-quality content builds trust with your target audience and turns visitors into customers.
5. Paid Links
Search engines such as Google & yahoo strictly prohibits the purchase of links. These search engines claim on their web app that “any URL which is intended to manipulate their bot or the classification of a website in search engine results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of their Webmaster Guidelines.” This includes sending free products to a website in exchange for links. If you’re not sure what an acceptable exchange is, Matt Cutts, the former head of the Google webspam team recommends consulting the FTC guidelines.
You should avoid paying to any other site to link to your content. Google asks users to tell them about cases of people who buy or sell links. They claim that they will penalize both the buyer and the seller of links once the practice is detected.
If you are reading this after buying links without realizing that it is a black hat search engine optimization tactic, you should remove them as soon as possible. You can also use the link rejection tool if you cannot have webmasters remove links. This tells Google to ignore paid links when calculating your Pagerank.
6. Abusing Structured Data & Rich Snippets
Structured data is also known as rich fragments and schema. It allows you to change how your content is displayed on search engine results pages. It makes your content stand out from the competition and also gives you more space on the results pages. You can add structured data to a page that shows a podcast, recipe, book, among other products and services. Revision scheme marking is probably one of the most popular types of structured data.
Black hat SEO involves providing inaccurate information in structured data to trick search engines and users. For example, a person practicing SEO in black languages can earn five stars from a fake review site and add structured data to highlight it on search results pages. This is a risky practice, as search engines like Google encourage users to report websites for misuse of structured data.
Have a look at some other popular blackhat SEO techniques:
7. Linking Over-Optimization
This black-hat technique of SEO happens when you forcefully place some internal links on the homepage for pages like “Contact us”, “About us”, “Products” to name a few. It is not only impractical but also useless as these pages have a lot of traffic as they’re, and it is better to have deep links in order to strengthen your internal links.
8. Content Automation
It means using scripts or tools in order to generate content automatically and then publish it on the site without any effort. The type of content is written with no intent for the user, and does not have any format, information or style whatsoever.
9. Malicious Active Content
10. Web Rings
There are multiple websites that are connected between them in a circular network in order to rank and get traffic from various related websites to create backlinks. To be a part of any webring, you need to receive approval from the website master.
11. LinkBait & Switch
This blackhat SEO technique happens when you “revitalize” the content into a commercial one. The trick behind this technique is to gain links for any particular article and then change it completely with a commercial one having no connection with the first topic.
12. Link Exchange
This blackhat technique happens with an agreement between the two sites to rank in Google. Some blackhat experts exchange the links in order to enhance their backlinks. It is also considered a blackhat technique to rank.
13. Blog Comment Spam
It occurs when someone tries to generate links by commenting on different websites and blogs in order to link back to your website or blog, despite the fact that the websites are relevant or not to your activity profile or niche.
14. Spammy Footer Links
It is called junky, spammy, or scammy footer links as it is written with the purpose of cheating and ranking your way up to the top. In an article, these links are not written naturally, showing the connection between you and the site you are linking towards.
15. Directory Listing
If anyone is registering and/or buying placements on low-quality directories, then it’s considered blackhat practice. The only thing that is important here is the value of that directory and if it appears to be a link scheme, it can be penalized by Google.
Therefore, don’t try to use the following the above black hat/shady SEO techniques or tactics for fast website ranking that can be banned in Search Engine in a short time.
Note: For a better and long term SEO result and ranking on SERPs you should use only White Hat Search Engine Optimization, SEO Technique, that will give you organic results for a long time.