There are hundreds of ways to increase your website ranking, search visibility and traffic. But what would be your answer if I ask you the number one way which is effective in increasing rankings in SERPs and heavily used even by big websites?
Indeed there are many techniques and strategies, such as guest posting, backlinks, and visual content marketing. But SEO stays on the top for increasing website ranking.
If you implement SEO accurately, you can see significant changes in your website. When search engines push your website to the top pages, it will increase the number of people visiting it and eventually maximize sales.
For beginners, SEO can be really difficult. There are different types of SEO such as: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. But there is a list of techniques that people use as a shortcut.
These are known as black-hat SEO techniques. They may show effectiveness for a while, but they can damage your website in the long run. Let’s discuss black-hat SEO in detail so you can make the best decision for your website SEO.
Let’s dive into it!
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO refers to the practice of using unethical and manipulative techniques to improve a website’s search engine rankings. They break the rules and try to cheat the system to get quick results. Although it might give them a temporary boost, search engines can punish them severely.
In severe cases, even remove their website from search results permanently. But you might wonder why people use it. If Google doesn’t like it and can negatively affect your website, then why are people still putting their websites in danger?
People want quick results. That’s why they opt for black hat SEO. But many people don’t know anything about these techniques, and they keep applying them without knowing how dangerous they can be.
But don’t worry. Because I will share the most common black hat SEO methods, you can check if you are applying to any of them.
Understanding White Hat vs. Black Hat Practices
You must have read the term white hat SEO. But what does it mean? Is one of them an evil twin? Let’s understand it through this table.
|White Hat SEO||Black Hat SEO|
|Approach||Follows ethical SEO practices and complies with search engine guidelines.||Utilizes unethical practices, often violating search engine guidelines.|
|Outlook||Aims for sustainable growth and long-term success.||Prioritizes short-term gains without considering long-term consequences.|
|User Experience||Prioritizes delivering a positive user experience, with well-designed websites and easy navigation.||Engages in techniques like cloaking and doorway pages, focusing more on search engine rankings than user experience.|
|Google Guidelines||Abides by search engine guidelines and ensures compliance to avoid penalties.||Actively violates search engine guidelines to achieve desired results.|
|Content Strategy||Focuses on creating high-quality and valuable content for users.||Engages in keyword stuffing, content duplication, and low-quality content creation.|
Working Mechanism of Search Engine
Let’s understand this with an example.
Imagine you are an aspiring fashion designer with your online clothing store. Your store is like a stylish boutique. It is in a bustling fashion district within the vast city. Your boutique has a unique address.
But what if potential customers are not aware of it? How can they find your boutique among many other fashion stores online?
This is where search engines are so important. They act as the digital maps of this city, helping customers navigate the endless options available to find what they want.
When someone searches for “trendy dresses” or “unique fashion brands” on a search engine like Google, the search engine presents them with a list of relevant fashion boutiques.
You focus on search engine optimization practices to ensure that your boutique stands out in this digital fashion district. Just like you would decorate your physical store with attractive displays and signage;
- You optimize your website with relevant keywords
- Meta tags
It helps search engines understand the nature of your boutique and its offerings. By utilizing search engines and implementing effective SEO strategies, you make it easier for potential customers to find your virtual boutique.
There are two primary functions of search engines.
- Make an index of websites published on the internet
- Give users relevant list of indexed websites including relevant content depending on the user search query
And SEO plays a major role in it. It is generally determined with the help of search engine algorithms.
SEO Red Flags: 13 Black Hat Techniques
For someone who’s just getting started in the digital world, you start by creating a website. Your main goal must be to rank as quickly as possible. But in that race, you might unknowingly use a black hat SEO technique. It can put your website at a greater risk.
Here are the top 13 strategies that you shouldn’t use in 2023.
1. Adding Too Many Keywords
You might wonder what I mean by adding too many keywords. Don’t we have to add relevant keywords to increase the chances of ranking in Google searches?
One word: keyword stuffing
It’s fine to add keywords as long as they are relevant. But adding multiple keywords in a single paragraph just for ranking falls under black hat SEO practice. Keywords are entirely stuffed in a;
- Blog posts
Most often, the same words and key phrases are repeated. It might look like fluff, which is to manipulate Google search engine bots. So they can increase their rankings in Google.
2. Low-Quality Content
In this, the content is so low quality. The main purpose is to show bots that you have some guides, articles or content on your website. Some examples of this are;
- Copy-pasting content from one website
- Poorly written, un-original content
- Grammatically inaccurate
- Irrelevant content
Copy-pasting is an unethical practice that is highly condemned on all grounds. It is stealing others’ content, and Google is against such practices. That’s why it highly prioritizes content that is plagiarism free and original.
3. Dual Face of Websites, AKA Cloaking
In this technique, a website shows two different versions to visitors. What do I mean by that?
- Visitors: see a different webpage
- Bots: see another version of that page
There are two ways in which this technique is applied.
- An HTML text page is shown to search engine bots. Meanwhile, a complete page with CSS, JS and visually heavy images and content appear in front of users.
- Keywords and texts are usually embedded in this page, only shown to the search engine crawlers, to determine the page for search engine rankings. This version of the page is not shown to human visitors.
4. Purchasing Links For Link Building Purposes
In this poor practice, money is paid to increase links to maximize website ranking. But how?
Here’s how these deals works out.
- One website owner reaches out to other websites to give them a link.
- Other website owners share their rates for giving them links to site.
- After payment, a backlink is given to the first owner’s website.
You will get surprised to know many websites are doing these practices. But since Google only prioritizes high-quality backlinks, these low-quality backlinks don’t do any good for the website.
5. Door Pages In Search Results
These pages are also known as door pages, bridges and jump pages. They are primarily made for specific keywords or queries. The intention of these pages is just to rank on Google.
In most cases, there isn’t much value or information a reader gets from visiting such pages. So what’s the purpose of these pages? Is it to just rank on Google?
No, these pages are created with much deeper meaning. These redirect visitors from one search term to your desired website. It may or may not be relevant to what the user searched for.
6. World Of Link Farming
Firstly you need to know what a link farm is. It is a group of websites with the purpose of link-building only. So every website in a link farm is further linked to numerous websites to maximize their reach in search results.
But what do crawlers do, then?
Web crawlers highly focus on the number of websites linked to one. It is just another factor that web crawlers consider while ranking a site.
So, this black hat SEO technique follows an intricate strategy. It is to get most links from link farms and there are on organic links involved.
7. Hidden Keyword Concealment
It is a shabby technique to blind search engines. What happens is that white text is on a white background, which makes it harder for anyone to recognize it.
But what’s the intention here?
The goal is to match the color of the text with the background. It can be yellow, red or any other color, but most often white. So all the keywords are hidden from the human eye, but Google bots can easily detect them. A similar technique is also used for increasing the backlinks of websites.
8. Misdirection Junction
Redirect is an excellent way not to lose any of your traffic. Websites most often do it with pages that can’t function properly. So until they fix issues, they show 301 errors.
But black hat experts consider this technique another way to increase ranking unethically. So they redirect users to another page. They deceive bots and even humans by showing a bad link to another website they didn’t intend to visit.
9. Hidden Agenda Of Private Blog Networks
It is often abbreviated as PBN. These are a group of high-quality authoritative websites that are for link-building purposes only. These sites (PBN) use low-quality links to their main websites to increase visibility in search engines. These websites don’t link with one another.
But how do they do it?
In most cases, they use expired domains for links. These can be sites that have high authority and reputation. You will get surprised to know that most expired domains are bought at high prices to practice this black hat SEO technique. They are later converted into private blog networks and create outbound links to manipulate Google.
10. Warning Signs Of Overly Optimizing Website
You must have heard the phrase that too much of anything is bad. But how is it relevant to black hat strategy?
Most SEO experts try to optimize their pages so perfectly that they don’t even realize they are exaggerating. Are you going over the board? If you are doing these things, then you might be applying a black hat SEO technique:
- Too many on-page elements
- Over-optimizing anchor texts
- A lot of internal links
- Stuffing keywords
- Adding too many keywords in the content
These techniques can backfire badly. Google can even penalize your website if it detects that you use black hat SEO techniques.
11. Clicks Leading To Bait & Switch
In this black hat SEO technique, a specific page is created to manipulate Google bots. Here’s how it’s done;
- A page is created
- Specific keywords are added
- Once ranking improves, the page changes into another product, service or business.
- Users who click on the link get something entirely different from what they expected.
This technique is also known as Page Swapping. With this website, owners trick search engines.
12. Falling Prey To Misleading Headlines
Have you ever clicked on a YouTube video because the thumbnail was visually appealing and had a catchy short copy? It led you to watching that video, but it was so poor and irrelevant.
It is a clickbait. In Google search engines, many websites use clickbait. They write a catchy and scroll-stopping headlines to compel users to click.
It’s a copywriting approach to encourage users and lure them to visit websites. It’s often used by websites that run on ad-based revenue and need more people to click on their website.
13. Guest Post Spam
Imagine receiving an email from a stranger offering you an irrelevant article with a do-follow link. That’s guest post spam!
They flood inboxes with the sole intention of placing low-quality content on websites purely for link-building. Unfortunately, in this scenario, quality and relevance are nowhere to be found.
Suppose you are running a food blog, but someone with a generator website wants to guest post. Guest posts from these irrelevant niches won’t bring much value to any website.
Report & Defeat Black-Hat SEO Tactics
Now we all know that in search engine optimization, a dark side exists known as black-hat techniques. These SEO tactics aim to manipulate search rankings and deceive users and search engines.
However, fear not; you can use these techniques and take action against them. Let’s delve into the steps you can take to protect the integrity of the online world.
Step 1: Identify Black-Hat SEO Techniques
Before reporting black-hat SEO, it’s crucial to understand the telltale signs. I’ve already mentioned 13 black hat SEO techniques in this article. These tactics undermine the principles of fair competition and lower the quality of search results.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
To make a strong case against black-hat practices, you need concrete evidence. Document instances of suspicious behavior, such as;
- Unnatural link patterns
- Irrelevant keywords
- Duplicate content
- Blog comment spam
- Malicious redirects
Take screenshots, record timestamps, and collect any supporting data that can strengthen your report.
Step 3: Report to Google Search Central
Google, being the leading search engine, offers a platform to report black-hat SEO activities through Google Search Central. Visit their website and navigate to the appropriate section for reporting web spam. Provide a detailed account of the issue, including your gathered evidence.
Step 4: Request a Malware Review
In cases where your website falls victim to malware or hacking, quick action is necessary. Once you’ve eliminated the malicious code, request a malware review through Google Search Central. This process ensures that your website is safe and search rankings of your website isn’t hurt.
Step 5: Engage Webmasters
If you encounter negative SEO campaigns targeting your website. Then you should contact the webmasters responsible for linking to your site. Request that they remove the harmful links. Maintaining a professional demeanor throughout the communication can help you get the desired outcome.
Step 6: Disavow Toxic Links
When everything fails, and the toxic links refuse to retreat, it’s time to use the most effective tool, Disavow Links Tool. This powerful tool enables you to disassociate your website from any backlink.
SEO Lessons: Never Use Black Hat SEO
While black hat SEO techniques may not be explicitly illegal, they certainly violate the Webmaster Guidelines set forth by search engines. Engaging in such practices can have serious consequences for your website’s rankings. Understanding the potential risks and drawbacks of these black hat tactics is important.
Search engines, like stern teachers armed with red pens, have their guidelines. When you break those rules, they’ll swiftly slap you with penalties.
These websites are swiftly de-ranked, with the possibility of being completely blacklisted. It can even result in severe penalties for the domain. As a result, the website’s search engine traffic and customer base are significantly diminished.
Instead, it is advisable to focus on legitimate and ethical SEO strategies, commonly known as white hat SEO techniques. It includes;
- Adhering to search engine guidelines
- Emphasizing quality content
- Relevant keywords
- User-friendly website design
This way, you can build a strong online presence that withstands core algorithm updates and delivers sustainable long-term results.
Don’t Gamble with Your Website’s Future
It is a given that every website owner wishes to increase website ranking and engage with users. But it’s important to grow your page using ethical strategies to achieve these results. So you don’t face any issues later.
Now it’s up to you whether you want to get help from the evil twin or use the right approach.
However, we understand it’s not easy to let go of your dream of making your business successful. And seeing your website in the top searches. But who said you have to let go of that idea?
At EchoFish, we help businesses like yours increase rankings in SERPs by using only effective and ethical strategies. Contact us right now.
I'm a very hard-working, motivated, and committed individual with a positive attitude towards life and a passion for doing new things that help people.I love challenges in my career because they make you more robust than before when you overcome them.