Do a quick search online, and you’ll find scores of ways to improve your site’s SEO ranking. They often refer to a range of on and off-site techniques that comprise ethical practices. But, there are some folks out there that follow the quick and dirty or unethical “black hat” SEO methods.
You may have heard about black hat SEO when learning more about the topic. The thing is, you might not realise just how negative such strategies can be for your website. In today’s blog post, I’m going to talk a bit more about black hat SEO and why you need to avoid it like the plague.
Just what is black hat SEO in a nutshell?
Black hat SEO refers to a variety of spam techniques to boost a site’s search engine ranking. They are methods that all search engines discourage, as you can imagine. Plus, some search engines like Google even penalise sites for actively using them!
Marketers frown upon black hat SEO as such methods deceive search engines and visitors. They also hate them because rebuilding trust in sites that used them in the past is a nightmare! Here are a couple of examples of typical black hat SEO techniques that some people elect to use:
Everyone knows that to use a search engine, you must type in some keywords. The results pages show content from sites that are relevant to those keyword searches. So, if you search for “cat collars” you will usually see results for pet stores and online shops. And, of course, product pages and reviews about cat collars!
To boost their SEO efforts, black hat marketers stuff pages full of keywords. They do so in a variety of ways, such as unnaturally spamming the content with the keywords. They might even go so far as to put them in pages and make the text invisible to human visitors!
Another sneaky and underhand way of promoting a website online is by using cloaking. How does that work, I hear you ask? Well, black hat marketers inject code in each page’s HTML.
What it does is redirect people from the page they thought they were visiting to an unrelated one. Some people often get redirected to inappropriate websites (i.e. pornography). Why do they do that? The answer is simple: to make money from affiliate income.
How to avoid black hat SEO
If you are carrying out your site’s SEO work yourself, just stick to ethical techniques. Even Google has published a guide that shows you what you should be doing!
What if you want to hire an agency to do the work for you? Well, it’s vital you hire the right firm. Don’t choose one that happens to be in another country due to cost. Instead, think to yourself, ‘I must use a local SEO company near me‘! There are many advantages of doing so, for example:
- You can speak to the people you hire face-to-face;
- There are no communication (language) barriers;
- You don’t have to wait until the evening before you can discuss your SEO needs.
If you are intent on doing the SEO work yourself, here are some pointers to help you get started:
- Make sure you don’t have any duplicate content on your website. You can use services like Copyscape to check for you;
- Keep all content relevant and easy to read. Even legitimate pages can sometimes look spammy due to the way they got written;
- Avoid spamming other sites with links back to yours, especially on blogs and forums.
By following the above advice, you can ensure that you only stick with ethical SEO techniques. Good luck!
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