Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing organic traffic to your website from search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). There are two different types of SEO which are off-site and on-site SEO. Blackhat SEO is the term used when talking about SEO practices that are essentially frowned upon, and potentially unethical. There are many different blackhat SEO tactics that must be avoided if you don’t want Google to penalize you. The rest of this blog post will explore some of the more common blackhat SEO tactics to avoid.
Buying Harmful Backlinks
A backlink is a form of off-site SEO, and is the result of someone linking from another website to your website.
Google has an incredibly complex algorithm that evaluates the quality of websites based on a number of factors. They even evaluate the quality of the website where your backlink is found, as an indicator of the quality of your website. If a link to your website is found on a high-quality website, Google will likely rank you higher. On the other hand, if a link to your website is found on a low-quality website, Google will likely rank you much lower.
Purchasing backlinks from a “link farm” is a bad way to generate backlinks and it can be very dangerous, as it’s against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Paying a popular blogger to provide a link to your website will probably be fine, but paying the owner of a suspicious website to list your link on their site would not be wise. Don’t cause the decrease of your website ranking due to acquiring poor quality backlinks. Rather, make sure the backlinks you acquire are from reputable websites that are respected by Google. If you have questions about this, feel free to shoot us a message.
It’s also worth pointing out that Google likes naturally occurring links to your website. It’s much better to just have high-quality content or provide good services so people will leave non-paid links to your website. They could do this by linking to your website from their blog, or from their social media pages. Google will notice this, Google will like this, and it will help increase your website rankings. If you create readable content that is worthy of being shared, you won’t need to purchase backlinks.
Other Blackhat SEO Tactics
There are many other blackhat SEO tactics that will decrease your website’s ranking on Google, and other search engines. It’s important to steer clear of these tactics if you wish to have a high-performance website that ranks well.
Keyword Stuffing and Unrelated Keywords
Keyword stuffing is the inclusion of an unnatural number of keywords. When you’re practicing on-site SEO and you choose a keyword to include in your content, make sure you don’t overuse that keyword. Also, failing to use an important keywords in your content will tell Google you shouldn’t be highly ranked, and as a result, it will lower your chance of people finding your website. Google takes the quality of your content into account when they determine how to rank your website. Therefore, avoid keyword stuffing and targeting unrelated keywords for your page or blog post. As an example, this post is targeting the keyword phrase “Blackhat SEO Tactics.” We should make sure to use that keyword phrase throughout this post, but we shouldn’t include it in every header and paragraph. That would be overkill.
Invisible text is text that with the same color as the background of a website, so it is unnoticeable to the human eye. Many website owners do this to repeat a keyword over and over again, thinking that it will boost their search result rankings. The truth is, using invisible text to increase the number of times your SEO keyword is mentioned, is yet another fast way to lower your website’s search result ranking. As mentioned earlier, Google will rank websites with poor-quality content lower than those with good-quality content. Invisible text isn’t seen by human eyes, but it is definitely noticed by Google… and it doesn’t make Google happy. Invisible text was actually a very common SEO tactic a little over a decade ago, but Google updated their algorithm to account for this SEO tactic. Once the update was made, many websites were blacklisted by Google. It was a very interesting, frustrating and exciting time in the SEO community.
Similarly to invisible text, you should not create your own backlinks by using invisible text. If you are mentioning a topic you have discussed in detail in another blog post, then you should create a clear and visible backlink to that in your content. Don’t jeopardize your website performance by hiding your backlink with a font color that matches the background of your page or post.
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Scraping and Article Spinning
Scraping and article spinning are essentially plagiarism. We know plagiarism is illegal, but did you know Google dislikes plagiarism as well and protects the original author of the content? They will flag any duplicate content found and will take the plagiarism into consideration when ranking your website. Even if you have permission to use the content on your own website, and you provide a link going to the original source, it can still be dangerous to duplicate copy. There is a way to avoid getting penalized for duplicating content, and we will discuss this in a future blog post. If you’re a franchisee with permission to use website content from your corporate office, you should think twice. Is your website about to use the exact same content used on many other franchisee websites in your company, just because corporate said you’re allowed to?
A webring is a group of website owners that consistently link each other’s websites in their content. You can also run your own webring by inappropriately and excessively creating backlinks to your content. While it is difficult for Google to spot people who are engaged in a webring, it can still be considered a risky blackhat SEO tactic.
There are other forms of blackhat SEO tactics that should be avoided. Most of these tactics are common sense, meaning, if it feels wrong or tricky, it will probably upset Google’s algorithm. If you want to practice a new SEO tactic, but you are unsure of whether or not it is accepted by search engines, always conduct research on that tactic. If it mentioned as a blackhat tactic in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, then you must avoid using that tactic if you want good results.
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