What is Black Hat SEO?
Many years ago, some people looked at SEO as a way to trick Google into ranking websites higher. The people practising shady SEO tactics often got away with their shenanigans because Google’s algorithms were less advanced than they are today. But, underhanded SEO tactics are still being used and they’re called black hat tactics or simply black hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO Explained
Black hat SEO consists of using non-Google approved tactics in an attempt to drive traffic to a site. When someone uses a black hat tactic, they are violating Google’s terms of service.
Google makes it very clear what types of practices go against their terms of service. They’re also very clear on the potential outcomes if these terms are violated.
When someone uses black hat SEO to rank a site high, the website can be penalised. This means the site will be given a lower ranking position in the search engine ranking pages or SERPs which results in a decrease of organic traffic.
Black Hat Tactics to Avoid
If you’re not experienced with SEO, you may not know what tactics you should and shouldn’t use. Here are a few tactics that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines that you should avoid using.
Keyword Stuffing: This black hat tactic involves repeatedly using your targeted keywords within a block of content on a page. This practice of unnaturally using a keyword on a web page results in content that doesn’t make much sense when read aloud.
Link Schemes: Links should be earned honestly. Any links intended to manipulate page rank or a website’s ranking in search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s guidelines. Examples of link schemes are:
- Buying or selling links
- Excessive link exchanges
- Blog comment spam
- Automated link building
- Spammy directories, bookmarking sites, and web 2.0 properties
Doorway & Gateway Pages: Doorway and gateway pages are filled with content that holds little or no value to the user. When someone does this, they create pages that target specific search queries with content intended to only act as a funnel to one page.
While it may take Google a while to find doorway and gateway pages, it will penalise the site using them by reducing the site’s domain authority and deindexing every page on the site.
Clickbait: This blackhat tactic involves creating deceptive titles to get more clicks and drive more traffic to the site’s domain with the hope of increasing rankings. When a user clicks on a clickbait title, they’re taken to a page that has nothing to do with the title.
These are just some examples of blackhat SEO tactics used to trick Google. Black hat SEO poses a real risk to any website that uses these tactics as a way to rank well. To keep your site in good standing with Google, only use white hat SEO techniques that don’t violate the search engine’s guidelines.