Black hat SEO practices are those techniques that violate the search engines’ terms of service. In the early years of search engines, it was possible to adopt various cheap tricks to drive your website to the top of the search results. You may still perceive SEO to be a form of ‘black magic’ that can be applied by those with the technical skills to rise up the rankings. Whilst there are several technical improvements that you can apply to a website to improve user experience and therefore, SEO, it’s important to understand the black hat techniques you should avoid. Google’s algorithms are employed to search out and penalise websites that go against its terms of service. If your website is identified as using black hat techniques, you could be blacklisted and lose all SEO rankings.
Examples of Black Hat SEO Techniques:
Keyword Stuffing: Filling your content with a repetitive keyword and unnecessary multiple variations of a keyword in order to rank higher. Overusing keywords and phrases in the text offers no value and a bad experience for users.
Duplicate Content: Copying content from other websites and pasting it onto your own website. It also refers to publishing the same or very similar content across multiple pages on your website so you can rank for variations of a keyword. Users expect to see unique content across different pages.
Doorway Pages: Low-quality pages (or groups of pages, or entire websites) that are optimised to rank well for specific keywords. These pages only act as a doorway to other website pages. The doorway page doesn’t provide any valuable content or original information.
Link Schemes: Back links are an important SEO signal to improve rankings. However, the buying and selling of links (including sending free products) is prohibited by search engines. Avoid seeking back links from poor quality websites, exchanging back links or buying/selling back links. Guest blogging is OK as long not seen to be excessive. Ensure you are blogging on relevant websites.
Cloaking: This is when a search engine is shown one piece of content (in order to rank the page or website well) but the user sees completely different content. Sneaky redirects are a similar black hat technique in which a search engine crawler indexes one page, but users are sent to another page. Both are ways to serve low quality/spammy content to a user whilst fooling the search engine to rank the page.
Avoiding Blackhat SEO:
Beware of any SEO providers offering you any of these types of black hat services. They may promise you great results without much effort. However, these are short-term tactics that could cause long-term harm to your website and online presence. SEO is not about cheap tricks, its about long term investment in your website and online marketing presence. If you focus on providing high-quality content and excellent user experience, search engines will notice your relevance and promote your site in the rankings. Taking short cuts such as those listed above will likely do more harm than good to your SEO.
A Fresh Approach to SEO:
At FreshOnline we believe in holistic and sustainable SEO. Put simply; this means avoiding blackhat SEO techniques and focussing on improving all on-page and off-page factors that are known to affect rankings. Our SEO experts stay up to date with Google and other search engines’ latest guidelines to ensure we can offer the best advice. We want to ensure that our clients attract attention for the right reasons and reap the long term benefits of customer-centric search engine optimisation.