Black Hat SEO Techniques: What They Are and Why You Should Avoid Them

Mar 29, 2019 -- Posted by : desiree

The goal of a winning content marketing strategy is to increase brand visibility across social media channels and drive organic search results. To accomplish that end, successful content marketers may don a variety of different hats: Creative writer and editor; social media strategist and search engine optimization (SEO) specialist; email marketing guru and pay per click advertising manager – and the list goes on.

If you are the content manager tasked with delivering meaningful results for your company, you may be interested in learning ways to increase your brand's SEO standing quickly and easily. However, as the saying goes: There is no substitute for hard work. Utilizing "black hat" or other manipulative SEO techniques may yield quick results, but that could come at a tremendous expense.

While not prohibited by law, black hat practices do violate search engine guidelines and can result in penalties that cause your website to drop significantly in search rankings or be left out entirely which translates to losses in web traffic and potential conversions.

Bad Practices: Black Hat SEO

In a nutshell, black hat SEO refers to an unethical practice of working against established search engine guidelines to artificially inflate a site's ranking in search results.

Appearing at the top of users' search results is essential for driving site traffic and increasing conversions, but there is a right and wrong way to pursue a successful search engine optimization strategy. Black hat SEO practices are the absolute wrong way.

Rather than earn top ranking positions in search results through consistent and technically sound content, black hat SEO utilizes underhanded techniques to manipulate search engine algorithms. Keyword stuffing and invisible keywords are two primary examples of the types of unethical practices that black hat SEO employs to boost site rankings artificially.

Keyword Stuffing

Smart use of keywords can help users find your content more easily and push your site higher in search rankings. Keyword stuffing is a crass manipulation of this principle to manipulate a site's rankings. These keywords can appear in a list, block text, or entirely out of context.

Google offers these examples of keyword stuffing:

  • Lists of phone numbers without any substantial added value
  • Blocks of text listing cities and states where the site wants to rank
  • Repeating the same keywords or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural

Not only does keyword stuffing create a poor site experience for the users who do find themselves on your site, but it can also backfire and diminish your site's search result rankings.

Here is an example of keyword stuffing for an antivirus company: "We sell antivirus protection. Protect your computer with our antivirus protection. If you would like to buy antivirus protection to protect your computer from viruses, contact us to speak with one of our antivirus protection specialists about antivirus protection for your computer."

This doesn’t sound very natural or appealing to the target customer.

Invisible Keywords

Sneaking in keywords on your company site may seem like an innocuous way to boost your search rankings but try to think of invisible keywords as a kind of bait and switch. Black Hatters will hide keywords on the web page by making them the same color as the site's background. When search users arrive at the website, they may not find the content that they were searching for.

If you are creating content that speaks to your users, you won't need to resort to this type of manipulative technique to drive site traffic.

Best Practice: White Hat SEO

In the battle of white hat SEO vs. black hat SEO, white hat practices should win every time. It is the ethical practice of creating compelling custom content and enjoyable user experiences that boost your site's search rankings and drive web traffic and conversions. Consistent creation of content, informative and engaging web copy, and smart use of keywords may not yield instant results, but without a doubt, it is the best way to execute your brand's search optimization strategy.

Developing your brand's search engine optimization strategy doesn't have to be difficult. If you find yourself "wearing too many hats," consider partnering with an SEO agency to begin growing your site’s online presence. Contact us today for more information and free digital consultation.

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