Black Hat SEO - Don't do this!

Posted by: John Marx on 6/29/2016

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Everything outlined here you should never do ever! These are all techniques we have found that "SEO Experts" (they are NOT) have used in the past 6 months that do web design in Northwest Indiana. We will not mention names but as they read this they will know who they are and hopefully correct their ways. This is to be an educational article for those wanting to make certain they do not do this as it will ruin your online reputation with the search engines and cost you not only your rankings but also money to fix.

With everything that we cover here there is also another world of SEO. That world is called White Hat SEO. With white hat SEO you do basically the opposite of black hate SEO. That is, you follow the search engine best practices, do what is right (no lying), and create great quality content. White hat SEO is harder and there is a reason for it. There is no sure fire and easy way to achieve greatness. You must work for it and when you do the results will speak for themselves.

A real life story

There is one company that we always talk about (again we will not mention names). They were on page one, position 2 of the search engines. A swift sales man convinced them they could do better. They bought into it and went up the first two months. Month three they dropped a spot and today at the time of this writing they have gone down 7 spots (lower than when they did white hat SEO).

All about the colors (Hidden Text)

In this blog articles main picture, we cover what invisible text is. This is a set of techniques to make the text appear exactly like the background color or close to it. This is deceptive in every way. This is used to generate more keywords within your site and out rank your competition. This is not a good way to attract visitors to your site and creates a poor user experience for website visitors. Often the invisible text are links to hidden pages (see doorway pages discussed below). Hidden text is covered in the Google Webmaster Tools at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66353?hl=en.

Font sizes

An often used technique is what we like to call lawyer speak (sorry to all of our lawyer friends out there). This is when the size of your text is say 11 point and you put in text on your site at say 1 point. Although it is there on your site no one without a magnifying glass would ever be able to read it.

Keyword / Page Stuffing

A web page is created and then filled with keywords that either don't apply to the page. A page may not be written for human reading and have keywords splattered all over the place to rank for those keyword phrases. The intent here is to move up on the search engines and a very common technique for people who think the more times they type something in that it will help them drive more traffic.

Unrelated Keywords

We see this one all the time. Your business sells Widgets. You put keywords not only about Widgets but also about puppies (who doesn't love puppies after all), kittens, cars, (insert latest internet craze here). These unrelated keywords are used to bring people to your website.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

When someone creates multiple websites with 100% the exact same content. This is done to put their pages covering all of the first page of the search engines so that no matter what is chosen they get your attention (and dollars).

Unrelated Pages

Like unrelated keywords unrelated pages are a bit more deceptive. People will create entire pages that are about a certain subject (e.g. puppies). They make a very compelling and informative page about these puppies. When people search for puppies they find this great new and informative page. You have now drawn someone into your site so that you can now sell them your widgets.

Sneaky Redirects

A user goes to your homepage and they are redirected to a completely different page than what they asked to go to.

In Googles Webmaster Tools you can read what about these sneaky redirects at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2721217?hl=en.

Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are really just "fake" pages that are designed to convince the search engines that you are bigger and better than you really are. These pages are normally not seen by users and the pages are full of keyword gobbledygook in the hopes of getting ranked just a bit higher in the search results.

Cloaking

This is where a page detects a search engine and displays a completely different version of a page rather than the page that a user would see. These pages are usually filled with a lot of keywords and text to rank higher but ultimately serve no use to your visitor.

Link Farms

Page rank is a rating Google created to weight a page. Search engines look at a websites relevancy when determining where to rank a site. By having many inbound links your site appears more important than it truly is. Like having quality content having quality inbound links is equally important. When search engines detect a link selling scheme or link farm, they flag every site involved. When this happens the pages ranking is often demoted and pages start dropping from page 1 onto later pages of the search results.

Throw Away Domains

These are domains that are bought to increase the primary websites search engine ranking by giving a page multiple inbound links. This is a technique that is often used to beat being on a link farm.

Misspellings

Not always a black hat SEO technique you will see throw away domains and words on a site misspelt. This is done due to one of two reasons. The person creating the site didn't know how to spell (it does happen unintentionally). More often than not people will often put in common misspellings to drive traffic to their site for these common misspellings.

I've been flagged; now what?

In the event that your website is the target of a negative SEO campaign of spammy links, use the Disavow Links Tool in Google Webmaster Tools after you've tried to contact webmasters whom are pointing these links to your website to have them removed.

Conclusion

The interesting item of this list is these are only black hat SEO techniques we've personally seen and helped clients fix in the past 6 months done by other companies that do web design and search engine optimization (SEO) in Northwest Indiana. These people are great sales people, promise unbelievable results, and charge often a premium for less than stellar results. When you are choosing a company to help with your search engine optimization you should look for a company that does not promise or guarantee results. Results cannot be guaranteed as they do not own the major search engines and not even the major search engines will make a guarantee. Even with paid advertising (e.g. Google AdWords) if you do unethical techniques there is still no guarantee of success. Steer away from these unethical, shady, or just over the top SEO techniques. Your business and your business reputation on the internet is far too important.

Search Engine Optimization is truly a marathon where you need to be thinking long term rather than short term. Getting at the top of the results with black hat SEO is possible but once caught you will fall from grace very quickly and be marked as a person that is unethical by the search engines.

If you want to work with a company that has a team of dedicated individuals that will use only white hat SEO techniques, that will promote your business positively on social media, and will do all of the heavy lifting for you JM2 Webdesigners from Valparaiso Indiana is here to help you. You can reach us at 855-456-2669, email at sales@jm2.biz, or through our online contact form here.

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