There are two types of SEO strategies: Black Hat and White Hat. As you can tell by the name, Black Hat SEO techniques are considered dishonest or bad while White Hat SEO techniques are ethical or good. During the dawn of the Internet, Black Hat strategies were common and were used without penalisation as people competed for the top positions on search engine result pages.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is defined as techniques that are used to get higher search rankings in an unethical manner. These techniques usually include one or more of the following characteristics:
- Breaks search engine rules and regulations
- Creates a poor user experience directly because of the SEO techniques utilised
- Content is presented unethically in a different -visual way to search engine spiders and search engine users
Much of what is now considered to be Black Hat SEO was once legitimate SEO methodology. However, these techniques are now frowned upon because they were proven to be detrimental to site quality and search result relevancy. They may provide short-term gains in terms of rankings, but if site owners are discovered, they run the risk of being penalised by search engines, which impacts their traffic and ranking.
Essentially, Black Hat SEO is a short-sighted solution to the long-term problem of creating a website that gives the user what they need.
Some of the Black Hat Techniques are as follows:
At the top of the list of Black Hat SEO techniques is hidden content. While hidden content comes in many forms, it essentially involves stuffing the actual code of the site with keywords that are not visible to the user. There are tools that can scour your code for this junk, which, if detected by Google could permanently ban your site from search engine results pages (SERPs).
Meta Keyword Stuffing
Two meta tags are usually used to inform search engines about page content. When used incorrectly, they can alert a search engine that a site is using spam techniques to improve its ranking. If you’ve repeated the same word two or three times in a sentence, you already understand how this works.
Meta keywords are a short list of words that tell a search engine what the page is about. Meta keywords have been so misused in the past that few search engines pay attention to them. However, they are still a necessary evil so ensure that yours are brief and topical.
Doorway or Gateway Pages
These types of pages are designed for search engines; not humans. Ultimately, they are ‘fake’ pages. These are stuffed with content and loaded with one or two keywords that link to a target or landing page. The customer never sees these pages. This is because they are automatically redirected to the target page. They are as unethical as hidden content.
Link farming involves building a network of sites designed to link to each other to build link popularity. It used to be an easy way to boost rankings. The only purpose of link farms or free-forall (FFA) pages is to list links of unrelated websites. The traffic they deliver can get your website banned permanently.
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