Beginner's SEO

What is Black Hat SEO and How to Avoid It

Written by

John Morton

Last updated

May 13, 2019

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

However, marketers may be surprised to know that thereis a dark side to search engine optimization. Known as black hat SEO, indulgingin 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 thistechnique to rank higher in search results. At other times, you might notrealize you are falling into what Google labels black hat SEO.

However, you will want to avoid black hat SEO at allcosts 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 youavoid 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 yourprospective audience. This bait-and-switch technique will not ensure long-termgrowth and will prove disastrous to your marketing goals.

The second reason to avoid black hat SEO again refersto search engines deliberately burying your website. Google and other searchengines possess a complex algorithm to search for black hat SEO and, uponidentifying a deceitful website, they can demote your website to the basementof 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 onethat you purchased with money or goods. If you are linking to an outsidewebsite link in your story, make sure you check the website’s anchor text. Ifit seems random with no connection to the link, it may be a paid link. Next, ifthe website you are linking to possesses a series of random links, you shouldavoid using it in your blog post.

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

A third characteristic of black hat SEO is hiddenlinks. These links could appear behind an image or you could put a link behindtext 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 acompletely different site. The objective of this tactic is to bring websitetraffic to one page while redirecting it from perhaps a popular page. As statedpreviously, this bait and switch tactic will not advance your long-term goals.

Finally, blogs have attempted black hat SEO through privateblog networks which are established through having the same IP address, similarcontent, same owners or shared servers.

How to Avoid BlackHat SEO

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

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

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

Next Steps

Black hat SEO might have been a strategy you haveunknowingly employed to further your marketing goals. However, using any of theabove 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 forwardwith a new strategy in mind.