Visitors are more likely to find your website if it’s ranking high in search engines, but landing on the first search engine results page doesn’t happen overnight. Certain businesses realize the amount of time and effort it takes to build an established website and turn to blackhat SEO techniques for quicker results.
Learn what blackhat SEO techniques are and how they can potentially ruin your online growth if you are caught using them.
What is Blackhat SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a process in which you improve your site to gain more visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). Just about 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, making SEO extremely important to increase the amount of online traffic going to your website.
You can consider using white hat SEO or blackhat SEO methods to increase your site’s ranking. Both techniques can help your site’s performance, however, blackhat SEO techniques often have severe consequences that can negatively impact your overall strategy.
Only 5.7% of articles will end up ranking as a top result in the first year they are published. The competition is fierce when trying to grab the top spot which is why so many marketers turn to blackhat methods. Blackhat SEO techniques are looked down upon by search engines, like Google, who use specific parameters to measure a site’s value.
If your site is caught using blackhat SEO techniques, Google and other search engines could ultimately ban your site from ranking, eliminating potential opportunities to gather online traffic and sales. Your site might not be completely banned but if you are using suspicious blackhat SEO tactics then you may undergo huge traffic losses from Google’s algorithm updates.
Google is constantly improving the way it finds results for its users’ searches and makes technical updates that help it determine which sites should be ranking higher. These updates often include systems to find and penalize sites that are using strategies that go against its terms and conditions. Before you start your next SEO campaign for your online business, make sure you understand what blackhat SEO techniques are to avoid using them and cutting your growth.
Blackhat SEO Techniques
Below are several unethical methods used by marketers and business owners to get their sites ranking highly in SERPs. Proceed with caution as using these methods can potentially ban your site from Google and other search engines.
Incorporating Bad Links
As a site becomes more popular, visitors will often copy your links to relevant information and share it with their own audience. This process is known as backlinking, and it helps Google and other search engines determine which sites are helpful and popular. Backlinking is a simple way to increase traffic; however, over 66% of pages on the internet have no backlinks whatsoever.
In some cases, backlinking can negatively affect your website’s growth if you are failing to provide good content and follow Google’s policies. For example, your site could face penalization if your site is utilizing blackhat SEO tactics, like exchanging money for links.
You may also become flagged by search engines by using a private blog network (PBN) to incorporate fake URLs linking back to your website and dramatically improve your ranking. This kind of activity can negatively impact your business by creating long-term consequences. When in doubt, it’s best to stick with white hat SEO methods to keep your site ranking highly.
Placement of links is also an important consideration, and blackhat manipulation of link placement could also negatively affect your site’s SEO value. The footer is a value area to place links because footers appear on every page of a site, which provides many different links to the page. However, some marketers add footer links with commercial anchor text at scale to manipulate their results. This is considered a blackhat practice, and Google will penalize you for it. So when choosing which links to feature in your site’s footer, be strategic and reasonable about the pages you select. Link to your main pages, and don’t attempt to gain an upper hand through deceptive or manipulative practices.
At one point in time, it was easy for marketers to post comments on a website’s blog and drop a link to their website in the comment. This would ultimately provide a backlink for the site and cause the site’s ranking to go up.
SEO marketers who don’t want to put in the actual time it takes to rank highly and create valuable content will focus on stealing that content from others. By taking the top-performing sites in their niche, disreputable marketers will copy and paste the content directly into their own article. Boosting them to the top of the front page results without actually doing the work.
This type of blackhat SEO tactic is known as duplicating content and is highly scrutinized in SEO, yet some people are using this blackhat SEO technique solely for the purpose of outranking their competitors. It is wise to avoid publishing duplicated content on your website no matter the percentage of material copied.
When duplicated content started receiving big penalties in the SEO industry, a new form of content was formed. Article spinning is when you take previously written content and make slight changes to it in order to avoid using the same words and phrases.
With minimal modifications, marketers can take advantage of this blackhat SEO tactic without getting caught for duplicate content. Article spinning may not go unnoticed for too much longer, as Google is updating its ability to catch this type of blackhat SEO technique.
Cloaking is when a site owner creates specific code so that when a Google crawler searches the page it receives completely different information than when a human visitor sees the same page. Essentially, it’s tricking Google into thinking there is different content on a page than what is actually available to visitors.
Google does not like being tricked in any situation and will assign penalties to any site using this blackhat SEO technique. Every piece of word, image, or another element you put on your site must be the same experience for both the Google algorithm and your site visitors.
Back in the early days of SEO, you could find a popular search word and use it over and over again in your article to rank highly in search engines. Keyword stuffing has long since been outdated with various Google updates that allow the algorithm to read articles more effectively.
If you are stuffing your articles with your keywords, search engines will be able to tell and penalize your site. Causing long-term consequences on being able to rank for specific keywords. Instead of stuffing your articles with keywords, write copy that is relevant to your audience in a voice that aligns with your brand.
Another area to be mindful of keyword stuffing is alt text. Remember, the purpose of alt text is to be read aloud to visually impaired users, be displayed if an image fails to load, and help search engines understand images. Stuffing these with keywords constitutes a misuse, and it inhibits them from fulfilling their purposes. Therefore, Google may penalize you for keyword stuffing in alt text, lowering your site’s rankings.
Invisible Text and Links
If your site has a white background and you change your font color to white, you won’t be able to see any of the wording. This was a blackhat SEO tactic marketers would use to stuff their keywords without their audience knowing that the information was on the page. This practice can also be used for links.
As the Google algorithm grew, developers helped it decipher the invisible text on a page and now sites implementing this strategy will be punished. In general, it’s bad practice to try and trick search engines into thinking what you want them to. You should consider focusing on producing high-quality content and material that helps your website rank high in search engine results pages.
Overused Anchor Text
Overusing the same anchor text may not seem like a problem, but it could get you flagged for blackhat SEO tactics. For instance, while it’s logical to use a page’s title every time you link to it, it could look like spamming to Google. To avoid penalization for overused anchor text, keep each one brief and highly relevant to the page. Never stuff with keywords. Try to use unique anchor texts for each link. This approach will help incorporate anchor text naturally into the content, .
Choose SEO Best Practices
Using any of the blackhat SEO techniques above can negatively affect your brand and risk the future development of your website. Incurring any of Google’s penalties can undermine your site’s SERPs ranking. Don’t ruin a possible source of income and stick to white hat SEO methods for your site.