If you didn’t know it, here’s the wake-up call: Search Engine Optimisation is what takes your website from 100 to 1 on Google search results. As a result, the strategies and processes you choose for your SEO should be done carefully to yield the best possible ranking.
Black Hat SEO: What is it?
The term black hat SEO describes unethical practices imposed on a website to improve its search engine rankings. This is the opposite of white hat SEO, which embraces Google-approved techniques to achieve organic rankings.
When deviating from the outlined guidelines for optimising your website, you can face website penalisation that will tank your rankings. In addition, the search engine may also choose to penalise you by completely delisting your website.
How to avoid black hat SEO
1. Overdosing Keywords
Keyword stuffing is one of the most common black hat SEO practices around. It involves overusing the keyword you are aiming to rank for within the body of your content. This stuffing generally makes your text sound unnatural and can make your content look like spam. Although including your keyword a certain number of times is crucial to building rankings, this should be done tactfully.
2. All about that backlink…
All SEO professionals make use of backlinks to create website authority and thereby better rank a website. Using several external website links on your web page can help you build authority and trustworthiness, which will help you improve rankings. However, according to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, buying these links from other site owners is considered a black hat technique. A white hat way of gaining backlinks includes featuring on other websites through guest posts and collaborative articles.
3. Copy Cat Content
It’s no secret that Google holds web page content to a high standard. EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) outlines the best practices for original content to help boost your website’s SEO. As a result, plagiarising, duplicating and spinning content that isn’t your own, can trigger penalties that will negatively impact your ranking.
4. Scheming Through Schema
Schema allows search engines to better understand and categorise what your content is about. When you include schema onto your website, you enable rich snippets of your pages for SERP purposes. As these snippets have a better organic rating, having a working schema on your website is desirable; however, misusing this schema will result in penalisation.
5. Abusing Private Blog Networks
Private Blog Networks can be described as a group of networks that link to one another with the sole purpose of building domain authority through backlinks. This method violates Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines and will penalties your rankings.
6. Spam in the comments…
If you run a blog on your website, experiencing spam is common! Individuals often use these posts to share comments containing links to their pages to create backlinks from your site to theirs. If this is a technique you adopt to create links, your chances of being in the spam folder are high. Using comments for this purpose should be done in a way that adds value to avoid being considered black hat SEO.
7. Playing hide and seek
Hiding page content involves concealing text and links from page visitors. This content can still be seen by search engines and is used by black hat SEO’ers to try and fool search engines into ranking the content well. Adopting this technique will result in penalties on rankings for misdemeanours like keyword stuffing and misuse of SEO practices.
8. Sponsored content
Although collaborating with existing websites is a white hat technique for creating quality backlinks, having a blogger or content creator post content for the sole purpose of sharing a backlink is not a recommended practice. As a result, sponsored links should be fully disclosed to avoid black hat SEO penalties.
9. Cloaking content
Cloaking refers to displaying different content to users and search engines. While users receive one end of content, the HTML text is adjusted to display different content to the search engine. This technique is considered black hat as they enter a site expecting one type of content but are instead presented with ads, malware and other spam-like subject matter.
10. Website Doorways
Doorways are pages created to specifically rank for similar keywords to direct users to a different main landing page. Its purpose is to funnel users towards unrelated and unwanted content and goes against Google’s guidelines.