A closer look at black hat SEO (and why we should avoid it).

seoBlack Hat SEO is a no-no for all SEO agency employees and should be kept away from any content marketing strategy. It uses aggressive, manipulative tactics and tricks search engines into believing sites have great value, when in reality they don’t. Black Hat tactics are all about pleasing search engines and not about captivating and engaging the human audience. All digital marketing companies should be focusing their SEO efforts on the end-user and not their Google position. Of course, moving up the Google rankings is important but it shouldn’t be the main aim of your strategy or project. Many SEO agencies have employed these tactics in the past, despite them being completely disreputable, but they should be avoided in all instances as Google is becoming wise. You will have seen many sites drop down in the rankings and many site owners don’t even know why. Here’s a closer look at some of the most regularly seen black hat techniques.

Black Hat Techniques

There are plenty of different techniques being used by disreputable SEO ‘specialists’:

Link Farms

This is where a group of sites all link to each other which results in the spamming of the index of a search engine.

Code Tricks

Many sites have found their code packed with ‘hidden text’ designed to boost their ranking position but highly unethically.

Scraping

This is basically plagiarism and is where SEO agents take content from other sites to appear more valuable to search engines.

Doorway Pages

These pages are fake and are designed with the intention of enticing visitors from search engines using phrases completely unrelated from the site’s purpose.

Blog Spam

Many black hat strategists use the comments box on both blogs and forums to link back to their site and generate higher search ranking positions.

Parasitic Hosting

This is when a site is hosted on somebody else’s server without the permission of the owner.

Cloaking

This is a complex technique through which the search engines spiders see different content to the end-user viewing through a web browser.

Unethical SEO

Black hat methods are highly unethical and the majority of web professionals agree with this. Their techniques promise quick returns on investment and can result in higher rankings very quickly. However, when Google and other search engines catch on a company’s reputation can be damaged irreparably. Black hat methods mean a site can get results very quickly in comparison to white hat but it also means the internet is packed out with spam and low quality content. Black hat techniques can lead to the threat of legal action and when used alongside PPC it can result in heavy penalties from the advertising host.

Using black hat techniques should be against everything a reputable SEO agency portrays. Content mills and other unethically based businesses are already seeing their rankings drop considerably, which is giving ethical companies and practices a chance to shine.
Google and the other leading search engines want a cleaner, junk-free web where all bad practices are removed. Whilst this may be an impossible dream their algorithm updates and search engine spiders are doing a good job weeding out those disreputable black hat strategists. This can only be a good thing.

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