What is Black Hat SEO and How to Avoid It

John Morton

  | Published on  

May 26, 2021

At Centori, we have written several articles on search engine optimization (SEO). Through harnessing the power of a strong SEO, you can distinguish your website and business online.  

However, marketers may be surprised to know that there is a dark side to search engine optimization. Known as black hat SEO, indulging in several activities can prove quite harmful to your SEO. In fact, participating in black hat SEO can deter people from finding your website.

Some companies may deliberately opt to use this technique to rank higher in search results. At other times, you might not realize you are falling into what Google labels black hat SEO.

However, you will want to avoid black hat SEO at all costs because of the deleterious effects it can have on your business.

Here are some common practices that you should avoid if you want to optimize your SEO strategy.

Why should you avoid Black Hat SEO?

Before diving into techniques that characterize blackhat SEO, let’s examine the stigma surrounding black hat SEO.

First, black hat SEO deceptively misleads your prospective audience. This bait-and-switch technique will not ensure long-term growth and will prove disastrous to your marketing goals.

The second reason to avoid black hat SEO again refers to search engines deliberately burying your website. Google and other search engines possess a complex algorithm to search for black hat SEO and, upon identifying a deceitful website, they can demote your website to the basement of all search engines.

Characteristics ofBlack Hat SEO

There are many characteristics that define black hat SEO. Here are a few tactics to avoid falling in the trap of black hat SEO. Five common characteristics are outlined here but there are many more. For more information on black hat SEO, check out this post from Hubspot.

First, you should avoid paid links. A paid link is one that you purchased with money or goods. If you are linking to an outside website link in your story, make sure you check the website’s anchor text. If it seems random with no connection to the link, it may be a paid link. Next, if the website you are linking to possesses a series of random links, you should avoid using it in your blog post.

Second, while it is important to select an appropriate keyword, make sure you do not saturate your blog post with too much of that word. Known as keyword stuffing, this technique involves putting your prospective keyword in irrelevant or unnecessary places. You do want to choose a strong keyword in your blog post but make sure you strategically use the word rather than haphazardly using it in every sentence.

A third characteristic of black hat SEO is hidden links. These links could appear behind an image or you could put a link behind text that is sized too small.

An additional tactic you should avoid is cloaking.This tactic refers to setting up a website that purposefully leads you to a completely different site. The objective of this tactic is to bring website traffic to one page while redirecting it from perhaps a popular page. As stated previously, this bait and switch tactic will not advance your long-term goals.

Finally, blogs have attempted black hat SEO through private blog networks which are established through having the same IP address, similar content, same owners or shared servers.

How to Avoid BlackHat SEO

There are several techniques marketers can employ to avoid this deceptive SEO strategy. For example, treat the searcher and the search engine the same way. Make sure you avoid cloaking and sending users to another page.

Make sure that your content is original and that you avoid duplicating content from another source.

Finally, make sure you never buy or sell links to your website.

Next Steps

Black hat SEO might have been a strategy you have unknowingly employed to further your marketing goals. However, using any of the above tactics will preclude your growth and lead your business to obscurity.

Always remember to stay updated on webmaster guidelines so you can avoid black hat tactics. For example, here are the guidelines for Google and Yahoo.  

With these tips in mind, marketers can move forward with a new strategy in mind.

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