To rank on top of the Search Engine Result Pages is beneficial for businesses, as it offers a lot of growth opportunities. But having said that, if you use the wrong SEO techniques, you’ll be responsible for destroying your search engine ranking instead. Several years back, most people assumed that SEO was a way to exploit search engine algorithms so as to rank their websites higher. Tricking the algorithm to outshine your competitors and rank higher is called black hat SEO.
Several marketers used black hat SEO tactics to rank higher on SERPs. However, the landscape has considerably changed due to the advancements in search engine algorithms to a level where illegal blackhat SEO techniques can worsen websites' situations. It might look like a quick solution, but you’ll get the disapproval of search engines and lower your rankings quickly.
If Google discovers that you’re using black hat SEO, they might penalize your website. Getting a penalty from Google will initiate an update to the website’s PageRank algorithm so that your website’s ranking performance will be downgraded or, in the worst case, completely delist your website. You can learn more all about SEO and its role in marketing by clicking here.
To avoid getting penalized by Google, make sure to avoid any of the twenty risky black hat SEO tactics listed below. Still, before moving on, let's first understand what is BlackHat SEO.
Looking for Premier SEO Services?
Black hat SEO is a set of unethical practices used to rank a website on SERPs, but these practices violate search engine guidelines. Blackhat SEO techniques try to maneuver search engine algorithms to increase a site's rankings on the search engines.
Search engines, like Google, Bing, etc., clearly define which practices violate their terms and make it clear about potential outcomes if anyone goes against their guidelines.
Although, what are the worst possible cases if any website makes use of black hat SEO to rank?
Suppose you dig deeper into Google's Webmaster Guidelines. In that case, it clearly states that these violations - might result in a site being obliterated from the Google index or instead getting affected by an algorithmic or manual spam action - Guidelines also state that - a site that has been affected by a spam action may no longer show up in search engine results on Google or on any of Google's partner sites."
Whilst Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about improving a website's organic traffic and visibility. Still, black hat SEO tactics can result in the opposite. To make it easier for you to understand why you should avoid such practices, here are important reasons -
Primary reason for not practicing black hat SEO tactics is that it’ll eventually end in your website losing search rankings, visibility, and traffic. A website no longer drives traffic and loses visibility usually means conversions and sales follow a similar trend. Simply put, it means a decrease in businesses’ income and can result in job loss or business closing.
When a business gets a severe decline in organic traffic, it must be supplemented with a higher investment into PPC or other paid media. Thus, Black hat SEO techniques can decline a website’s performance either due to the result of a manual action or algorithmic filtering. Use these top 10 SEO techniques to enhance site’s visibility.
Even at times when website rankings and organic performance increase initially using these ill practices, these results rarely sustain. Once Google notices that a website is practicing illegal ways, traffic loss is unavoidable.
SEO strategies requiring considering a user's experience on a website and working their best to serve customers with the best content and UX. And the black hat SEO techniques do the exact opposite; they optimize for search engines instead users, which is problematic. “Trust” is very important in the search for success.
Do you know?
If web pages aren’t crawled and indexed by Google or any other search engines, the site will never appear on search queries; this means no ranking, traffic, leads, and conversions. So, do you want to know what indexed pages are and how to get a web page indexed by google? Click here.
Are you just getting started in Search Engine Optimization? Then it's often not easy to know which practices you should and shouldn't use. Hence, the more you learn about the techniques that could harm your website, the easier it’ll be for you to spot them and stay away from them.
Let’s have a look at 20 risky tactics that breach Google's Webmaster Guidelines that you should avoid using:
1. Buying Links- Earn the links and not buy them! Google invalidates links generated from sponsored content or paid guest posts but validates PageRank or “link juice” to the domains that are linked to based on the quality of their content. Your backlink strategy should be - organic. Your backlink portfolio starts to improve by producing honest, unique, high-quality content that benefits your readers after engaging with them. If you can achieve that, the organic backlinks will naturally pour in over time.
2. Keyword Stuffing - Keyword stuffing means repeating a particular keyword within the web copy, although it’s irrelevant. It could be a good idea when you wish to optimize the post for search engines. But when you’re more concerned about keyword density than writing the content for humans, it’s a black hat SEO technique that’ll quickly decrease your site’s ranking. Keyword stuffing can make your audience lose interest in reading your content because it looks like a language that bots can understand. It can earn you a penalty. A best practice is to include keywords in the web copy several times and ensure they make sense in context.
3. Comment Spam by Bots- Although blog comments have become infrequent, way back in a time when comment sections used to be flooded with comments written by bots to generate backlinks. Search engines like Google have since then updated their algorithm to remove and discredit links that generate from spam or bots. No matter what, links created from comment sections bear a “nofollow” HTML tag that won’t impact your website’s ranking performance.
4. Article Spinning - Just like duplicated or plagiarized content, article spinning is a method that includes re-writing content by adding synonyms, modifying sentence structure or re-writing text entirely that communicates the same information as the source material. It can be performed either manually or with the help of technology. At the same time, automated article spinning has advanced to a point where the articles are readable, but Google will still penalize you for spun articles. For your brand to scale quickly and generate leads consistently, it's essential that you must learn how to generate leads. Check out this guide by SEO expert, generating leads, which helps you with everything you need to know to generate quality leads.
5. Negative SEO - Negative SEO signifies the practice of using black hat SEO tactics to disrupt a competitor’s rankings in SERPs. The steps included are
6. Rich snippets Spam - As you know, rich snippets help provide more information about the content present on a website. It's possible to change the snippet so that your content excels from the rest on the SERP. However, this tremendous opportunity is currently being incorrectly used by spammers exceedingly, and Google has issued a strict ‘report rich snippet spam’ tool. Hence when website administrators mark up content that isn’t visible to users or gives misleading and irrelevant content, reviews, or videos, it’s considered as rich snippet spamming. Adding false reviews and ratings, wrong or deceptive information, and fake or nonexistent videos in rich snippet content is an ideal example of black hat SEO techniques.
7. Free Products for Links - Regardless of whether you’re offering or taking, or exchanging free products or discounts for links, it’s considered a link scheme by Google.
To not be considered a link scheme, make it a no-follow link, i.e., a link with a rel=“nofollow” tag. These links ensure that the link doesn’t affect the search engine’s ranking algorithm.
Click here to learn more about Google’s SEO ranking factors.
8. Footer Links- The footer is important for a link since footers appear on every web page. If you’re adding footer links along with commercial anchor text on a large scale to manipulate results, Google will likely be able to find them and penalize you for it.
9. Hidden Links - You might think that you can easily hide a link in your website’s content or by making the link appear the same color as the background. Still, Google will identify and penalize you for trying to violate the guidelines. Furthermore, if you add ample irrelevant links, you’ll give Google less reason to direct traffic to your target audience because you are trying to dilute your relevance. Hence deceivingly hidden links are considered a violation of search engine guidelines. I.e., it’s important to
10. Overused Anchor Text - It might make sense to match your webpage’s title every time you share a link to it because the title is what your page is all about, and consistency implies relevancy. But from Google’s point of view, this might look as if you were casually spamming. Alternatively, you must make anchor text brief and relevant to the page to which it has been linked, but it should be unique and not stuffed with keywords; this makes sense, and the anchor text would be like a natural part of its domain. The same applies to both -internal as well as external links.
11. Malicious Backlinks - A few back hat SEO specialists try to use the penalty system of Google to evolve their strategy by having sites that you don’t want to be associated with a link to you to pull down your page rank. Because of this practice, Google has designed a form to help you to deny connection with the links. This way, you can quickly free yourself from unwanted domains while going through your backlinks.
Learn everything about page authority - one of the most vital factors contributing to website ranking on SERP.
12. PBNs - PBNs are websites that are linked to each other. They used to be more widespread during the 90s and early 2000s, commonly among fan pages for various TV shows, movies, musicians, etc. PBNs aren’t necessarily bad, but web rings are assumed as a link scheme when developed to violate algorithms.
13. Hidden Content - Similar to hidden links, hidden content is made using the same color as the background. It’s a practice that aims to add many keyword phrases, long tail keywords, and pragmatically linked words to a webpage. No doubt, search engines algorithm can explain the difference between keywords inside a paragraph and keywords hidden in the background. Using several ways, hidden content could end up on your website without being intentionally added by the website owner.
However, not all hidden content is banned; according to a standard guideline, content is acceptable provided that it is visible to the user and the search engine. For example, content that’s visible only to mobile users is hidden from desktop users.
It's impossible to master SEO skills without using the best SEO tools. Check out the comprehensive guide on the best SEO tools that are fast, free, easy to use, and highly recommended by leading industry experts.
14. Plagiarized or Duplicate Content - Occasionally known as scrapping, duplicating, or plagiarizing content can breach copyright or trademark laws as search engines wish to share quality content; plagiarism is cause for a penalty charge.
15. Cloaking - It’s an old black hat SEO trick that’s still being used today - i.e., using a flash or animated page to hide information from your visitors, but the search engine can only see that in the HTML. If Google finds you cloaking, you’ll be panelized.
16. Doorway Pages - These are cloaking types designed to rank for a specific keyword but redirect visitors to another page. Doorway Pages are also called Bridge pages/Portal pages/Jump pages,/Gateway pages,/Entry pages.
17. Hacked Website - Having an insecure website didn’t technically get you a Penguin or Panda penalty; it might lose your valuable rankings. If a website gets hacked or injected with malicious code, and if Google finds out, they could block your website for other people who are using Google as a search engine. It’ll not only cause you to lose the trust of visitors who visit your website using organic search, but it will also cause your website to drop in the rankings, similar to a Panda or Penguin penalty.
Let SEO Experts at our SEO company help your brand by planning and implementing multichannel digital marketing solutions that are easily approachable, cost-effective, and relevant to your unique business needs.
It’s true that you might receive a notification from Google Analytics that your website has been hacked, but it still could mean a real penalty for your website if Google finds that your website contains malicious code.
18. Link Spamming - Link spamming is posting irrelevant links on websites, discussion forums, blog comments, guestbooks, or any other online venue that displays user comments. It’s also known as comment spam, blog spam, or wiki spam.
19. Spamming in Blog Comments- This strategy involves adding comments on blog pages and a link to their website, and it’s intentionally done with the expectation of getting a backlink from that specific website. Google has now started disregarding such blog links, and the site owners set these links as no-follow by default. When link-building and content marketing are used in tandem instead of standalone elements gives desired results!
20. Incorrect Redirects- Redirecting is the best technique to redirect visitors to a properly functioning page if the existing page is facing problems. Site owners use 301 redirects in such situations. But having said that, the black hat SEO “experts” use them to lead the visitors to a different page altogether. In such a manner, they trick both the Google bot and visitors by showing them a webpage with a bad URL that they didn’t want to visit.
Interested in our White Hat SEO Services?
Now that you know risky Black Hat SEO techniques that you should avoid let’s look at how to avoid them.
It's not easy to grab people's attention to your website as it needs a lot of strategies and consistent work! High-quality content and an expert SEO services can significantly help build more than just links.
There’s no doubt black hat SEO techniques are risky for businesses and are not worth engaging in. These techniques go against the guidelines defined by search engines and violate them to rank higher on SERPs. It can result in being completely wiped out from search results or gaining a lower rank.
Here is the list of top SEO companies providing excellent support in SEO techniques.
Look at these black hat SEO examples of big brands that got penalized by Google
1. Groupon’s Bait and Switch
Groupon was blamed for doing a bait and switch by San Francisco Comprehensive Tours. This tour company launched a campaign with Groupon. Still, the voucher website continued advertising the campaign on Google long after it ended. Hence when visitors clicked on Groupon’s page, no discount was found because the content had been alternated. It happened in a PPC advertisement, but they frequently happen on organic results too.
2. J.C. Penney’s Black Hat Links
They ranked at the top of search results for several keywords, from “skinny jeans” to “home decor.” Their outstanding performance in search results was well timed during the holiday season. This extraordinary performance in search results was due to black hat SEO link-building methods that escaped Google’s radar.
Doug Pierce found just more than 2,000 backlinks containing anchor text with the very keywords the retailer wanted to rank for on SERP. A lot of links were found on websites that are irrelevant to J.C. Penney. These website topics ranged from casinos to cars.
Google confirmed that the retailers’ actions went against their webmaster guidelines and disclosed that they’ve also violated them on three previous occasions. J.C. Penney received a penalty from Google that saw a drop-down close to seventy positions on Google for search terms like “living room furniture.”
3. Forbes Selling Links
Someone portraying as being from Forbes posted on the Google Webmaster Central forum looking for help with a link violation notice. The notice asked Forbes to delete irrelevant links from their website’s content.
In the thread, Google’s Matt Cutts commented that he had repeatedly confirmed paid links that pass PageRank. In order to have the penalty reversed, Cutts recommended that Forbes remove the paid links that pass PageRank. TechCrunch reported that Forbes started removing the paid links in 2011 after receiving the penalty.
You must have come across many individual opinions related to the most efficient ways to perform website optimization, regardless of the business and its size. We saw black hat seo tectics and why you should avoid them. There are other SEO tactics that follow correct, ethical way to optimize a site, known as- “White Hat SEO”.
So, what’s the difference between black hat and white hat seo?
As discussed earlier, black hat SEO techniques are unethical however, white hat SEO techniques are ethical and follows search engine guidelines, focus real humans, and its a long term approach. These tactics don’t put you at risk for any consequences from search engines like Google, Bing, etc.
Hence, the bottom line is - Stick to White Hat SEO techniques!
Businesses can grow using professional SEO services company with less time and money wasting than it would take you to do it all on your own. Furthermore, to keep your business up-to-date on the digital trends, their SEO experts provide inputs who are well-versed in the most recent SEO developments. These SEO consultants devises, implements, and executes an ultimate SEO strategy to help your business to be found by your target audience online.
You can get started immediately, if you've narrowed down your options for your online marketing campaigns, irrespective of whether you are running an established business or a startup, you won’t miss out on vital components of your online presence when you start working with a professional SEO agency.
The objective of a best SEO company is to connect your business with target audience whenever and wherever they’re online. You’ll cut yourself off from latest communication mediums like social media, email, blogs and articles etc. if you’re planning to connect with your customers on your own.
Hiring a best SEO company will free you up from the stress of managing your business and other operational elements. There’s no time wasting on infrastructure and management.
Understandably, everyone wants to rank higher in search engine and achieve better results. Any technique is good unless it hampers or doesn’t abide by the Search Engine Guidelines. Whether yours is an established business or a start-up, hire best seo consultant that offers affordable SEO solutions to solve your unique SEO issues and get you increased leads or sales.
So, now it’s your choice whether you want to get things done in a faster way and get penalized like examples of black hat SEO we saw or to do all the right things to achieve desired results. Let us know in the comments section below.
Looking for Cost-Effective Custom SEO Services?