Every business, brand and blog is battling for the top rankings on search engines – the holy grail of being number one on Google and some aren’t afraid to dabble in underhand search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to try and get there. In the industry these ‘hacks’ are known as Black Hat SEO.
Google became wise to Black Hat SEO a number of years ago and will take steps to penalise you if you’re discovered using such techniques, even going so far as removing you from search results if found to be flouting.
We’re going to take you on a journey through the world of Black Hat SEO – from Link Farming to something less exciting than it sounds ‘Cloaking’. Sit tight as we explore the dark side of Search Engine Optimisation.
Most people will have heard of keywords. Keywords are one of the most important parts of SEO. Keywords and phrases within your web content are what make it possible for people to find your site via search engines when they are searching for the ‘key words’ they are interested in. Hence these keywords are often crammed into a piece of writing for the sake of SEO, not because the keywords add anything to the content itself – other than a lot of keywords.
See what we did there? What you just read was a perfect example of Keyword Stuffing – and how unnatural it sounds. Most search engines can detect it and stop them ranking at all. Google loves relevant, original and well written content so don’t even waste your time keyword stuffing.
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Also known as cloaking, this sneaky tactic is rather simple… All you have to do is change the colour of your text to the same colour as your background – making it invisible to your user but not Google. Until, that is, somebody highlights it and all is embarrassingly revealed…
Bait & Swap
One of the deepest darkest secrets in SEO. Just kidding, but it’s a pretty disreputable way to try and get people onto your site. This technique involves writing a whole page with the purpose of getting it to rank in Google – usually with the use of Keyword Stuffing. Once your page is up there with the big boys, you erase the old Black Hat content and replace it with a real web page or product. What could possibly go wrong?
Everybody loves a link! Why not try and get as many links as possible from other websites back to your site, as you’ve heard links are great for SEO? They are, BUT only when relevant. You have to be careful or your company could end up like this well-known firm of injury lawyers and find yourself de-listed from Google.
Black Hat SEO doesn’t sound so appealing now does it? Aside from Google penalties, potential lawsuits, disappointed clients and frustrated potential customers, the main issue with taking advantage of Black Hat SEO techniques is that they don’t actually work. Google’s algorithm will sniff you out no matter how crafty you are.
The best way to rank higher on Google organically and build awareness of your brand is to team up with digital and PR specialists who are passionate about the growth of your company and are experts in quality written and digital communications – like us.
Put content on your website that people want to read and share – that’s ultimately what will improve your search engine rankings.