Overview of Black Hat SEO Techniques
Search engine rankings matter, these rankings make or break a website’s success, and these are what makes SEO a challenging work. In the times where the competition is tough and you will always have someone coming up with better content, Black Hat SEO Techniques are very tempting to use as a shortcut. In this post, we will discuss what black hat SEO is and what ways people implement it on their sites.
What [The heck] is black hat SEO?
In the Search Engine Optimization industry, black hat SEO is a practice that goes against the guidelines. These techniques are unethical in nature and don’t solve the visitor’s problem. Instead, they try and cheat search engines to rank a site higher. Sites using Black Hat SEO are eventually penalized by search engines to keep search results high quality.
Black Hat SEO Techniques
As you can guess from its name this black hat SEO technique is all about filling the web-page content with unnecessary and irrelevant keywords to gain an advantage in SERPs. This content sounds quite unnatural and is meant to help website ranking rather than solving visitor’s problems.
Adding words with similar meaning, repeating words unnecessarily, adding blocks of text to the page that has practically nothing to do with the content can all be considered as Keyword Stuffing. Here is an example:
We sell custom bikes. Our custom bikes are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom bike, please contact our custom bike specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is easy to understand that Google and almost all modern search engines have algorithms to detect stuffing of keyword and demote or remove these pages.
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2)Cloaking of content
Cloaking is when a website shows something to a search engine crawler and entirely different content to the visitor when he visits the page. This is done in black hat SEO to rank content for many different keywords. Cloaking is used to try to prevent Search Engine crawlers from detecting spam.
A website may have different versions of a page for different countries or have a different version of the page to be shown to mobile visitors. These both are valid arguments, however, showing entirely different content to the user is unacceptable to search engines.
Google has a built-in tool called “Fetch as Google” in the webmaster tool which allows you to see how your page looks to google crawler bot.
3)Redirection to a different page
Redirects are an important part of the web. When a website changes its domain or subdomain, the webmaster can use 301 redirects to make sure that SEO Rankins of the page or site is not lost in the transition. Black hat SEO use redirections in a different way. A black hat SEO practitioner can redirect a high authority page with a lot of backlinks to a completely irrelevant and spammy page. This is done by showing the original page to Google bots and redirecting the visitors of the site to the spam page.
On-site redirects have some value, such as Netflix will take a logged-in user to the video player but someone who has not purchased the subscription will be sent to the sign-up page. But in the black hat, SEO its always used to cheat search engines is not for the ease of users.
Just like Cloaking, Redirects are used to spread spam.
4)Buying and Selling Paid Links
Google says it clearly that providing backlinks for the sake of improving search rankings in exchange for money or any other benefit is banned. However, many black hat SEOs buy or sell the backlinks in order to improve domain and page authority. Links from high authority sites are valuable as these can vastly improve SEO rankings. Getting these links for a new site is tough however, this is why many new businesses pay people money for backlinks.
In the case of sponsored content or any other kind of paid content, you should use < rel = “nofollow” > tag to make sure that your link juice is not passed to the linking site. In case you have paid links to your site and you can’t get them removed, you can use Google’s Disavow Links tool in the Google Webmaster to make sure Google doesn’t use them when it decides the position of your site in the search results.
5)Spamming in Blog Comments
Comments are a useful tool in blogs to have a discussion about the article posted or offer your opinions, black hat SEOs use blog comments to spam backlinks to their site. In the past when many authority blogs did not mark comment links as no follow, this was a huge problem. These days, however, blog comment technique has dialed down as most site mark these links as no follow and Google itself discounts links in blog comments for page rank.
Of course, as this can be automated, you will still see many spam comments coming to your site. In case your site is made on WordPress, you can use Spam protection plugins such as Akismet. In case your web framework does not support any spam detection plugin, you can add a captcha to prevent bots from leaving spam comments in your posts.
6)Creating or Using Private Blog Networks (PBNs)
When someone creates a few blogs just for the purpose of building links for his main site, we call it a Private Blog Network. The Smaller blog doesn’t link to each other, instead, they only link to the main site. The content in these blogs is usually around the same topic. Now, in order to get more link juice, Black Hat SEOs typically buy-off expired domains with high Domain Authority and Page Authority and because these are dirt cheap in many cases, PBNs are getting a wider use.
With time, Google and other search engines have become smarter in understanding and detecting private blog networks. When a PBN is caught, Google imposes a massive penalty to the site and it can be a devastating effect on site rankings if the site is caught.
7)Using Link Farms to get more backlinks
Think of link farms as PBNs without the private aspect, Link Farms are websites solely made to sell backlinks. Most search engines consider the number of backlinks to be a ranking factor in search results. Link Farms are a form of Paid Links. In order to crack down on Link Framing, Google and most other modern search engines consider the quality of the link to be a more important factor in ranking these days than the number of links.
Most cheap link sellers on sites like Fiverr use Link Farms where they just create a link to your site with the target keyword as the anchor without considering the quality of the content in the link farming site.
8)Poor Quality Content Strictly Made for SEO
As anyone can guess, search engines use an algorithm to decide what ranks higher and what does not, in order to gain as much advantage on a page as possible, Black Hat SEOs many times create poor quality content that is strictly planned and written to appear on Search Results.
The content in question may be copied and spun from another site, be of really poor grammar or be filled with invisible keywords. Invisible Keywords are added to a page by setting the text color to be the same as the background color.
One other popular way of cheating with poor content is, ranking the page with one content and when the page starts ranking for the desired keyword, we change the content on the page with other content. Search Engines have become smarter to detect poor quality content and the site using these can be heavily penalized in SERPs.
9)Using Content Spinning on Site
Content Spinning is a practice of creating new articles by either manually or automatically rewriting an article that is just different enough to not qualify as a duplicate content. Article Spinners use synonyms, change tenses or voices, etc to create “new” content for the site.
As you can guess, content like this is only made to create content for search engines with little to no effort. In many cases, spun-content doesn’t make sense for readers and is completely unnatural to read, not to mentions it does not bring any value.
I am sure you are familiar with this one. These are articles on the web with headlines that are strictly designed to make people click on it. Titles of these articles try to shock, surprise or create mystery. In the case of clickbait, the article content does not have content promised in the headline, but the webmaster doesn’t actually care, their intention is to improve CTR and get pageviews only.
Articles starting with “Shocking!! You need to see this…” or “You won’t believe” etc are usually clickbait.
As Black Hat SEO Techniques are growing in number, Google, Bing and other search engines are working on to crack them down on the web. Black hat techniques may provide better ranking in the short term, these are never recommended as eventually the site is caught and penalized for their actions.
This has been a guide to Black Hat SEO Techniques. Here we discuss the overview and different techniques of a black hat SEO. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –