A complete guide towards techniques that you must avoid implementing on your website
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires both creativity and skills to take that creativity in front of your audience.
A clean valuable content brushed with your creativity along with deft White-hat SEO techniques helps your content to stand out in the market among your competitors.
Thus, it ultimately gets you closer to the top rankings in the SERPs of the search engines.
But, while we practice the right methods for climbing up the results of the SERPs, it’s also necessary that you are aware of the elusive unethical methods that can penalize your website.
These elusive unethical methods are known as black-hat SEO techniques.
In this article, you will be learning everything associated with Black-hat SEO techniques and why you shouldn’t be implementing it for your website.
Following are the points we will be covering under this black-hat SEO techniques article:
- What is the definition of black-hat SEO?
- What are the different Black-hat SEO techniques?
- How to report Black-hat SEO to google and Bing?
So, lets quickly start with the black-hat SEO curriculum.
What is the definition of black-hat SEO?
Black-hat SEO also known as unethical SEO is a cluster of un-acceptable techniques or strategies that is used to rank any website on Google, Bing, or any other search engines.
In a simple language, these are the illegal practices used for ranking a website and are quite opposite to the guidelines mentioned by the search engines.
Every business wants their website to appear in the search results of the search engines which is indeed a vital part of any growing business.
But if you are not doing it the right way then the search engine will not let your website appear in the SERPs.
Instead, you will be having a tough time getting your website on the SERPs at all.
So, it’s very necessary that you are well aware of the Black-hat SEO techniques and its negative impact on your website.
Thus the next point caters to the different Black-hat SEO practices that you must avoid.
What are the different Black-hat SEO techniques?
- Stuffing keywords with no relevant value (Keyword stuffing)
Keyword stuffing is malpractice of making your website reach on the top of the search engine result pages.
The keyword stuffing that we are talking about here can be anything from a single word or number that is used repeatedly throughout the content on the website to rank in the SERPs.
According to Google (the world’s largest search engine),
Keyword stuffing includes the following tactics:
- List of phone numbers that have no substantial added value.
- Blocks of text-linking cities and states a website is looking to rank for.
- Repeating the keyword or phrase throughout the website content.
Let’s take an example of keyword stuffing, bringing more clarity to the concept.
“We have the best comfy mattress for sleep.
No one in the area provides a comfy mattress as we do.
If you want to get a peaceful sleep then you can opt for our comfy mattress.
Also, you get a pillow free with our comfy mattress.”
The above sentence is a perfect example of keyword stuffing as it has the keyword “comfy mattress” repeated frequently without any proper relevancy.
It clearly indicates that the keywords are used for just ranking in the top SERPs as it brings no value to the audience.
It’s very important that you keep the keyword density of your content in check.
Otherwise, the search engine considers it as the Black-hat SEO technique, and thus your webpage may face a penalty for it or can be just deleted from the SERPs.
This way you will stay away from keyword stuffing and search engines will not categorize you under the black-hat SEO website.
- Separate content for the user and the search engines (Cloaking)
The literal meaning of the term “cloaking” is associated with camouflaging, masks, etc.
Websites following the black-hat SEO techniques go for this method in order to rank higher in the SERPs.
But what exactly does the term “cloaking” means in terms of SEO
In this method, the website has different content to show to the search engine bots and different content for the users.
This method is specifically used by the websites practicing black-hat SEO techniques to fool the search engine bots with a pretext of ranking the single webpage content for a variety of keywords.
According to Google,
Cloaking includes the following type of tactics:
- Serving a page of HTML text to search engines, while showing a page of images or Flash to users.
- Inserting text or keywords into a page only when the User-agent requesting the page is a search engine, not a human visitor.
Modifying your content for a diverse group of users is acceptable by the search engine.
For example, many websites change their display size when visited through a mobile device and have a slightly different display for desktop users.
Changing the language based on the country a visitor is visiting from, showing different ads to every individual, display size of the website, etc are the practices that are alright by the search engine guidelines.
As long as your content is of the same context for both the search engines and the audience, it would not be considered as cloaking.
Also, ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and running swiftly on all the devices.
This will help search bots to process your webpage faster than the other websites.
- Redirecting to different URL (Redirecting URLs)
Redirecting can be defined as the process of forwarding the user to a different website then he/she clicked on originally.
If used correctly it is will cause no harm to your SEO efforts but if you try black-hat SEO techniques then your website will be suffering the repercussions.
In a simple language, if you are using the redirects for your website outside the actual need as they are supposed to be used then you gonna have to suffer penalties from the search engines.
This type of redirecting of URLs serves the same purpose of cheating the search engine bots as in the cloaking method.
Following are the different type of redirects:
- 301 redirect: For permanently moved website
- 302 redirect: Website moved temporarily
- 303 redirect: Used for form submissions
- 307 redirect: Website moved temporarily
- 308 redirect: For permanent redirection of website
The above mentioned are the most common redirects used for websites.
Every redirect is designed for a specific purpose and must be used in such a manner.
Failing to do so and using the redirects for black-hat SEO techniques will be easily recognized by the search engines.
According to Google,
The following mentioned are the misuse of redirects and falls under the black-hat SEO techniques:
- Search engines showed one type of content while users are redirected to something significantly different.
- Desktop users receive a normal page, while mobile users are redirected to a completely different spam domain.
And your website will be penalized for the illegal malpractices by the search engines hefty affecting the rankings or it will not be indexed at all.
So, if you don’t want to put your website in jeopardy use the redirects as per the intended search engine usage guidelines.
- Content with no added value for searchers (Poor quality content)
Having the poor quality or duplicate content up on your website will affect your website negatively among all the black-hat SEO techniques in the livelihood of the website.
According to Google,
Examples of non-malicious duplicate content include:
- Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
- Store items are shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
- Printer-only versions of web pages
“Quality content” is the first point that comes in the scenario when we talk about SEO.
Well, it’s very prominent as without the existence of content there is no use of SEO techniques in the first place,
Let it alone be a white-hat SEO or black-hat SEO techniques.
Until a decade ago, malpractices such as content scraping from other websites (duplicate content) might not affect the ranking of your website.
But with time search engines like Google updated their search algorithm (Google panda) for eliminating such black-hat SEO techniques.
Now, they are more conservative towards such malpractices and thus pays more heed into this.
Nowadays, search engines are much better in recognizing and locating the duplicate or poor quality content than it was way back then.
The ultimate solution for higher ranking in the SERPs is creating a quality content then optimizing it as per the white-hat SEO guidelines.
This not only makes your website rank higher but also helps you win the trust of your audience.
On the other hand, black-hat SEO techniques bring your website ranking down, increase distrust of your audience in you, affect the brand image, and in the worst scenario search engine stops indexing your website completely.
So, it’s only smart enough that you follow the search engine guidelines for a ranking of your website in a healthy way.
You can refer to Google’s webmaster guideline for complete detail on the indexing and ranking of your website.
The guidelines for search engines are pretty much the same, we are referring to Googles’ guidelines as it’s the largest search engine in the world.
- Paying for links rather than organically earning it (Paid links)
Search engines have strictly laid down rules for not opting for paid links for stimulating websites ranking.
According to Google’s webmaster guideline, the following is one of the violations of their ranking law
“Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links, or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.”
As mentioned, neither paying or exchanging free products is acceptable as per the search engine guidelines and if you do so, it will just affect your website ranking in a negative way.
Using such black-hat SEO techniques will surely help you rank in the SERPs in the short term.
But, if you are looking towards achieving a long term effect, then you might want to move forward following the proper rules of the search engines.
Links earned organically are the clean and best method for increasing domain authority, gain the trust of the audience, and ultimately secure a top place in the SERPs.
So, if you are using such black-hat SEO techniques unknowingly you must immediately disrupt it now.
Also, if you are not able to remove the links from the indexed pages instantly, you can make use of a disallowing link tool to inform the search engine bots about such links.
- Providing misleading information in the structured data snippet (Violate structured data snippet)
Structured data snippets are the information that is displayed below your website link in the search engine result webpages.
The job of the structured data snippet is to provide the users with an informative overview of what they can expect once they click on the displayed link.
This helps your website stand out in the competition and attract the attention of the users.
You can add the reviews for your website and are probably the most used white-hat SEO techniques for garnishing your authenticity to the audience.
Take a look at the guideline for structured data by Google.
Also, the review snippet guideline.
These same review tactics comes under the black-hat SEO techniques when one includes a false review of their product, service, etc.
Such malicious black-hat SEO practices are used just keeping the ranking perspective in mind somehow and have no value for the audience searching keyword.
This can be also be reported to the search engine which will penalize the website or even disallow from appearing in the SERPs.
Ensure your website has a properly structured data markup with the help of google structured data testing tool.
- Spam commenting on various blogs comment’s section (Blog comment Spam)
You may be familiar with such kind of black-hat SEO techniques that includes leaving the website link on other website’s blog comment section.
Well, such practices are not much prevalent nowadays but still, some people make use of such black-hat practices.
After the rollout of Google search engine algorithm update - penguin, such spammy practices became almost of no value to the rankings.
As per google’s new algorithm, such spammy links are not considered as “do-follow” links and thus no authority is passed to the website.
If you are making the use of such black-hat SEO techniques we would recommend you stop the process at the very instance.
Webpages with spammy links appearing on the SERPs are removed completely from the search engine for a more cleaner experience to the audience.
- Buying websites just for link building
Black-hat SEOs buy a bunch of authoritative websites for the sole purpose of link building.
Such websites are the expired domains with an already build-up authority.
These websites are not linked to one another but are linked to the website that black-hat
SEOs want to rank in the SERPs.
Now, they write the content for the website revolving around the already existing subject
And insert the link of the main website in that content.
At a glance, this seems to be easy and effective way of getting your website to the top of
SERPs but unfortunately it’s not.
Search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, etc have updated their algorithm to a much
advanced level and thus it can detect such black-hat SEO techniques instantly.
So, it’s safe to say that none of the websites that still rely on the black-hat SEO techniques will be making it to the search engine result pages.
How to report Black-hat SEO to google and Bing?
Even though the search engines are having an advanced algorithm for detecting such irregularities and eliminating the websites ranking with the help of black-hat SEO techniques in the SERPs.
But still, there can be a slight chance that such websites appear in the SERPs.
A low authority website that is far behind in the SERPs is linking to you.
Then in such cases, you can always report such websites that you find unusual or fishy.
Following are the links for the 2 search engines where you can report any webspam:
So, this was a complete go-through guide on black-hat SEO techniques.
We would highly recommend you to ensure that none of the above-mentioned black-hat SEO techniques are ever used for ranking your website.
Instead, always opt for the white-hat SEO technique for a healthy ranking that will help your website in the long run.
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