What is Black Hat SEO, and Why Should You Avoid It?
Last week we talked about White Hat SEO and why it should be the focus of your SEO strategy. Today, we’re going to look at its wicked stepsister, Black Hat SEO.
While White Hat SEO is a set of best practices using honest organic techniques to enhance a website’s performance in Google search, Black Hat SEO aims to achieve the same results but with less effort – by cheating, if you will.
What is Black Hat SEO?
The main way in which Black Hat SEO differs from White Hat SEO is intention.
Black Hat SEO focuses on search engines, while White Hat SEO concentrates on a human audience. Black Hat SEO techniques disregard content quality in favor of optimizing websites in whatever ways lead to climbing the search rankings. It doesn’t care who’s visiting the website, just that Google is viewing it as an authority on a particular keyword topic and rewarding it with a higher ranking.
Black Hat SEO results in low quality websites that often oust other, better, more useful websites competing for the same keywords. But how do they manage this without providing any useful content?
Image credit: SEOMoose.ca
Examples of Black Hat SEO Techniques
Rather than crafting an article or a web page and then employing SEO techniques to optimize it for search, websites engaging in Black Hat SEO focuses first and foremost on how it appears to search engines.
Here are some Black Hat SEO methods (Note: We do not advocate partaking in any of these!) —
- Keyword stuffing
- Optimizing for unrelated keywords
- Inserting hidden text full of keywords in the background of a web page
- Cloaking: Showing users one thing, and search engines another
- Doorway page: Using a keyword-laden entry page to rank for the keyword, then sending visitors to a different (often unrelated) page
- Page swapping: Completely changing a web page after it has ranked on Google
- Copying content from other sites
- Leaving spammy blog comments with links to your site
- Link farming: Exchanging links with other unrelated sites for the sole purpose of gaining backlinks
Why Black Hat SEO is a Bad Idea
You might be thinking “Well, it can’t be that bad“, and contemplating fast-tracking your site to Google stardom via some quick-fix Black Hat SEO tactics. But this would be a terrible move, and here’s why.
First, look at it from a moral perspective. If every site owner engaged in Black Hat SEO, we’d have a web full of poor quality websites. Google search would be pretty useless, and we’d have a difficult time finding the information we’re searching for. Do you really want to contribute to that?
Second, no one wants to link to a crappy website. You can forget all about gaining good backlinks if you don’t have a quality site worth linking to.
And lastly, Google knows about the Black Hat SEO game and is dedicated to cracking down on cheaters by disqualifying sites from search rankings if they’re found to have violated the search engine TOS. Just because they haven’t caught you yet doesn’t mean they won’t at some point – is it really worth the risk?
At Rock Solid Marketing, we strongly believe in making a long-term investment in your website by providing high quality content and using exclusively White Hat SEO techniques to organically optimize this content.