What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO is one of the forms of search engine optimization wherein you can achieve higher search engine ranking in a quicker and dirtier way.
Black Hat SEO techniques do not follow the rules and regulations set by the search engine services. Their main focus is only to achieve the search engine ranking but is not considered for the content quality or other parameters which ensures a good experience for a user.
The term “Black Hat” has originated from Hollywood movies where the “bad guys” are shown black hats and good guys are wearing “white hats”.
Therefore, the tactics used for unethical ways to achieve higher ranking are known to be Black Hat SEO.
Why Black Hat SEO is used?
As explained previously, Black Hat Seo is meant to achieve higher search engine rankings using unethical ways.
Those who are looking for quick returns on their businesses generally use this SEO technique and they do not focus on investing in the right way to achieve higher organic ranking.
Black Hat SEO technique can eventually lead to the website being banned.
Since, the main focus is just to get quick higher returns, rather than achieving the quality, therefore, any concerns regarding being banned become irrelevant for those businesses.
Black hat SEO is also referred to as spamdexing or unethical SEO.
Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid:
1. Invisible texts:
Invisible texts are another way to manipulate the search engines to gain higher search ranking. It does not comply with the rules of search engines, like Google. There are few methods in which invisible text are used, few are given below:
- Using the text in the same color as that of the background.
- Placing the text behind an image.
- Making the font size to be zero.
- Position text off-screen by using CSS.
2. Article spinning:
Article spinning is a similar black hat SEO like duplicate content. The difference is that in article spinning, one article is written and re-written several times using different grammar.
These articles are then submitted to various other websites, and it shows the search engines to be fresh content, hence, the possibility of getting higher search ranking.
The content is written in such a way that the plagiarism tools won’t be able to identify the plagiarized content.
Writing manually these articles is not easy or practical, therefore, now many articles spinning software are available in the market to do this work.
3. Doorway pages:
These are also known as jump pages, getaway pages, or bridge pages. These pages are basically designed only for the crawlers to read and get higher indexing rank, but they are not meant for the user to see it.
There are few ways to which doorways pages are delivered, which are explained below:
Low tech delivery:
In this, the page is designed in such a way that it is targeted only for a specific phrase and submitted for the crawlers to read through it.
This type of doorway page delivery is meant for pages that only a search engine can see.
In this method, a page delivery is done by using an IP address for which a good list of address is meant to be maintained.
4. Spamming comments:
You would have seen that occasionally your blog’s comment section get messages and links which have no relevance to the blog.
These spam comments are meant to get free backlinks. They are not worth the time, yet this is one of the popular black hat SEO techniques in use.
It is not necessary that these URLs are posted manually; there are various online tools available to do it.
Therefore, it is important for you to ensure the quality of your comment section. Don’t forget to prevent spammers to post on your blog otherwise; it will lead to bad experience for your readers.
5. Spam blogs:
Also known as splogs, they are created so that it can link to other relative websites. Splogs are made for the sole purpose of getting higher search engine ranking for specific keywords.
Splogs are mostly used for display advertising. These blogs build a network of websites which targets different keywords which they think their target audience will be searching.
Search engines have become efficient to detect a splog, but occasionally a good functioning blog may be flagged to be a spam blog. Hence, the website owner can report and ask to get their blogs manually reviewed.
The owner of the blog or website should also review from their side to understand the reasons as to why their blog was considered as a splog and rectify it from future errors.
6. Link farms:
Link farming is another form of Black hat SEO strategy, where multiple websites are interconnected to each other to get the backlinks.
It could be a single website owner who has hundreds of websites linked together or it is paying to various another irrelevant website only for the backlinks.
As crawlers consider inbound links for page ranking, many people practice link farming to gain higher ranking. Many SEO companies practice this method for their clients, where they own multiple sites and keep linking it to the client’s websites.
As a website owner, you need to keep a track to prevent your website from getting links from link farming. As search engines have become quite sensitive and can easily catch websites with link farming, leading to the suspension of a website from getting indexed.
7. URL hijacking:
URL hijacking happens when an advertiser creates an ad similar to yours. This mostly happens with display ads and paid ads. There are two types of popular URL hijacking ad given below:
Paid search hijacking:
In this hijacking method, the hijacker creates the advertising ad same as yours by using your URL only. The problem arises due to the fact that a search engine allows only one ad to run at a time.
So if your ad is shown for some time, remaining time other advertiser’s ad will be shown on the search results with your display URL.
In display hijacking, the hijacker might be using your display ad URL with the same color, font, and brand name but with an inappropriate message. This may sometimes get in between the campaigns run by you, which will lead to a bad impression among the users about your website.
8. Domain squatting:
It is also known as domain theft, where the registered domain name is changed by the hijacker without any permission from the website owner.
This is harmful to the owner of original domain holder because the hijacker might be getting their share of profits. They also get the access of email subscriber of the original domain holder.
Another problem that can arise with domain squatting is that the hijacker may use it for illegal purposes like phishing or distribution of malware.
9. Cookie stuffing:
Cookie stuffing means to put a cookie on someone else computer without their knowledge. It is mostly used by affiliate marketers and is considered to be an illegal practice.
These are mostly used on review sites so even if the person is not clicking on the link, the other person still gets their commission. This way you are actually not referring the person to the merchant’s site, but are bombarding the website with the cookies without anyone’s knowledge.
10. Negative SEO:
Negative SEO is done mostly by someone who wants to bring down the search ranking of their competitor by using unethical means or using Black hat SEO techniques.
Link-based negative SEO is the most commonly used, but there are more than one ways to use it. Another case may be by hacking the website and changing the content of it, to create a bad user or reader experience.
If you see that there is a sudden drop in your website ranking, then it does not necessarily mean the task of negative SEO. Before considering this as the main factor, it is good to consider the other relevant factors that could be the reasons.
11. Malicious pages:
Malicious pages try to install the software on your website to get your personal data like password and other such personal information. These pages or websites look legitimate by nature, therefore, it becomes difficult to understand it.
Sometimes these pages start downloading the software in the system without taking permission from the person. You might be able to realize that the link you are downloading might be malicious in nature.
For example, you are trying to run a video online and a message pops up to download a certain codec to run the video efficiently. You might think it to be a safe download or use safety software for your system. But it takes only unsafe codec to run on your system to get sensitive information from your system.
Black Hat SEO Examples:
Above we have discussed different types of ways with which Black Hat SEO works. Now we will talk about some examples that are seen on regular basis.
1. Keyword stuffing:
Keyword stuffing used to be one of the most popular forms of Black hat SEO, where you can use the same keyword repeatedly in the entire post or repeating it frequently in your content.
• This was a way to trick crawlers to consider the page for higher search engine ranking. As the search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, now they can easily detect the issue of keyword stuffing.
• Keyword stuffing does not consider user experience as an important aspect to rank higher in search engines.
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It is another popular black hat SEO technique. Cloaking hides the actual content of the site and brings the user to a different site as per their search but do not receive the true content.
• In this the search engine crawlers are shown a different content for the same web page, hence, making it difficult for them to identify the actual content. Further, when a person searches for an information and clicks on the link they land up on a different site altogether.
• Search engine companies do not appreciate cloaking techniques because it ruins the search experience for a user. When a website is caught using cloaking it leads to huge penalties along with permanent removal from the search index.
A user searching to buy aquariums online clicks the link thinking it to be an online store to buy aquariums but lands up on a pornographic site.
3. Duplicate content:
Duplicate content means the copy and pastes technique of the content from various other sites and domains. When the search results are same for a query it means that the content has been manipulated, hence, leading to a bad user experience.
As search engines prefer unique and fresh content, this practice leads to black hat SEO technique.
A website publishes a popular article which was picked from some other website without permission, to gain more website traffic.
Why should avoid Black Hat SEO for your website?
Black Hat SEO does seem like an easy way of achieving higher search engine ranking, but it has their own serious consequences too. Your website can be considered as a spam by search engines and will be banned forever from the search queries.
There are many agencies and organizations who specialize in Black Hat SEO strategy. As a website owner or an organization prevent hiring these unethical agencies who use these techniques. This tactic will harm the reputation of your business along with getting banned from search engines forever.
Rather than indulging in such practices and getting your reputation harmed, it is better to consider white hat SEO to achieve search engine ranking. This is a long and quite a time taking effort but it reaps higher and positive rewards too.