Black Hat SEO brings together a series of positioning techniques that are not recommended or accepted by search engines.
But what exactly are they?
What is the risk of carrying them out?
What examples could serve to identify them?
Let’s see all these aspects in detail.
But first, let’s start at the base: its definition.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO brings together a series of unethical SEO positioning techniques, not recommended by Google and other search engines that, in turn, are effective in increasing short-term page traffic.
Its objective is to trick the search engine algorithm, finding possible weaknesses in it to improve organic positioning in the short term.
And is that, in a highly competitive market in which having the company’s website correctly positioned is vital to increase traffic and, therefore, sales, there are professionals who bet on this type of technique to reach their public aim.
Black Hat SEO techniques are not without risk.
If in the eyes of Google or other search engines you are carrying out these practices, your page could be penalized.
This penalty can range from losing positions in the Google ranking to completely disappearing from the results page of your website.
In other words, the result is diametrically opposed to the goal set at the beginning.
Google, the world’s largest search engine, offers guidelines for webmasters to publicize guidelines regarding lawful practices to improve the positioning of a website and, of course, also those considered illegal that may lead to a sanction or penalty.
Black Hat SEO vs. White Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO brings together a series of techniques not recommended by search engines.
On the contrary, White Hat SEO encompasses all those tactics recommended and accepted by search engines.
Although it is true that the results of White Hat SEO techniques take longer to arrive, it is the best way to work on a safe organic positioning and avoid possible sanctions by the search engine.
Some of the most common white hat SEO techniques are:
- Create quality content, focused on the user.
- Use meaningful keywords within the content.
- Hierarchize the contents, so as to facilitate their scannability by search engines.
- Optimize the titles and meta descriptions of the contents, as well as the URLs.
- Get quality links organically.
In short, they all revolve around the creation of quality content for the user and the achievement of organic backlinks.
And now that you know what tactics are accepted by Google to improve the positioning of a website, we are going to focus on delving into those that are included in the darker side of SEO.
Most Common Black Hat SEO Techniques
These are the most common Black Hat SEO tactics:
- Keyword stuffing.
- Duplicate content.
- Buy links.
- Hidden text.
- Link farm.
- Spam on blogs or forums.
While some of these techniques are categorized as Gray Hat SEO techniques, if not performed by a professional they may incur search engine penalties.
Let’s look at each of them in more detail.
Cloaking -from the English term camouflage- is a Black Hat SEO technique that consists of showing the same page in a different way to bots and users.
The version for bots is an over-optimized page for search engines whose sole objective is to position properly.
On the contrary, the page that is displayed to users does take into account usability, but its content is low and it is not crawlable in search engines.
One of Google’s maxims is that the content of a page should be the same for both bots and users.
Therefore, since 2012, and thanks to the Google Penguin update, cloaking is a practice not allowed by the search engine.
Years ago, Google understood keyword density as a decisive factor for organic positioning.
For this reason, in the past, many webmasters included the keyword for which they wanted to position as many times as possible.
However, this did not translate into the contribution of value for the user.
Starting in the year 2000, and with the Panda update, Google penalizes this practice and orders the search results based on the relevance of the content to the user.
To avoid keyword stuffing, you must create valuable content and enter the keyword that you want to position naturally.
And, of course, never abuse its indiscriminate use: it will not help you improve your organic positioning.
The content of your page must be original and unique.
And it is that, if you have identical content to other pages within your website, Google will opt for:
- Show the first page on which that content was published.
- Penalize your website in case you generate duplicate content in a malicious way.
The incoming links -or backlinks- that your website receives are a key factor in organic positioning.
And it is that, as long as they are links from quality sites and in relation to the content of your page, Google will value them very positively.
At a time when having quality content is not enough to improve organic positioning, there are those who choose to buy links.
In fact, there are platforms for it.
This is one of the techniques encompassed within Gray Hat SEO.
If it is done naturally, it can be an effective technique.
However, without having previous experience it is complex to carry it out.
And it is that Google can be suspicious of this purchase of links if:
- It is done massively.
- All links that a website receives are dofollow.
- The links come from pages whose content is not related to ours.
Hidden content was key to including more keywords hidden on a page and thus achieving better positioning.
To do this, webmasters opted for including a zero-size font or the same color as the background, as well as positioning the text outside the web thanks to CSS.
However, these practices are easily detectable by Google and therefore penalized.
Text spinning consists of creating new articles from one or several previous posts that deal with a similar theme.
For this, synonyms are used, the article is restructured or the titles of the posts are modified.
In addition, this tactic can be carried out manually or, thanks to certain software, automatically.
The result is usually a low-content post that does not have any additional value for the user.
We call a link farm -or link farm- a network of web pages where links are made between them to improve SEO positioning.
This practice does not comply, with the purchase of links, with Google’s maxim of obtaining organic links and quality sites to improve the organic positioning of a website.
In fact, it is penalized by Google.
We call PBN -Private Blog Network- a network of private websites or blogs that enjoy a good online authority in their sector and that link to a page in question to improve their SEO positioning.
In fact, on many occasions expired domains that have been registered again are used to carry out this practice of link building.
There are some key factors when it comes to detecting this practice, such as registering the domain under the name of the same person, although it is true that with the knowledge it is not too complex to circumvent the algorithm.
However, in 2017 a Google update specifically focused on detecting possible private blog networks and had numerous effects on the traffic of pages that used this technique to improve their SEO positioning.
Spam in Forums or Blogs
This was a technique frequently employed in the past.
With the aim of getting more backlinks to a website, many portals focused on including comments with links to their page in other forums or blogs.
In fact, there were tools that made it possible to automate this process.
However, this practice has been abandoned today for two different reasons:
- These links stopped being do-follow and became no-follow. That is to say, they did not transmit any authority to the web to which they linked.
- On the other hand, the authority of many of these blogs and forums is not high, so the link does not have much value.
- If it is carried out in a massive way, Google could consider it SPAM.
Black Hat SEO: Yes or No?
Black Hat SEO techniques are designed to perform experiments on websites that are not yet well indexed and on which a business does not depend.
And, of course, for people who have some knowledge about SEO.
However, my recommendation is to respect Google’s quality guidelines and try to improve organic positioning based on them.
Now that you know all these techniques available to improve the SEO of your website, which side are you on?
Thanks for Reading.