You have probably heard the term black hat SEO before, and maybe even white hat SEO, and perhaps grey hat SEO. You are reading this post because you want to know just what is black hat SEO. Well, we’re going to define it for you in simple terms and also explain why you should avoid it at all costs.
Black Hat SEO: (simply defined) – Black hat SEO refers to practices of SEO that are not generally accepted, unethical, and penalty worthy by the search engines.
- Imagine them as short cuts where; granted some of them may yield some quicker results, but if you were to get caught, you would be penalized, and often very heavily and you wind up farther back than where you started.
- If you utilize these techniques, or use a SEO company that does, you may see a quick jump in your results, but you are NOT setup for the long haul. As a matter of fact, you will face penalties that will get you in holes that are painfully difficult to get out from.
To put this in perspective; white hat SEO is generally accepted and preferred strategies and tactics, whereas grey hat SEO contains mostly white hat, but some tactics or strategies that search engines such as Google have not decided on yet, or is middle ground. Black hat SEO is bad, period.
Let’s have a look at some black hat SEO techniques: (this is not an all inclusive list!)
- Spamming links all across internet on poor quality sites: Using forums, and sites that do not contain quality content just to put links, either contextual or not for the purpose of passing link juice / referencing your site in the eyes of the SERP’s. (search engine results pages)
- Setting up a bunch of exact match domain names with little to no content: If you want to rank for the term kittens are cute and you don’t care about using black hat SEO, you would set up as many domain names that has the variation “kittensarecute” in it as possible.
- Setting alt tags on images that make no sense just for keyword value: Search engines do not have eyes, they interpret data, therefore to identify what an image is, you need to set the alternative text tag that defines what the image is. If you’re trying to rank for “purple people eater” and you have images of log cabins in Alaska on your site, but you name them “purple people eater” that is a black hat SEO technique.
- Keyword stuffing: Let’s say you have a 500 word article and you are trying to rank for the keyword: “Game of Thrones Rules”, then if you were okay with black hat SEO, you would use “Game of Thrones Rules” every 4 words and fill the text on the page up with the keyword about a million times.
- Hidden text: You could also hide the keywords you are trying to rank for in the html code of your page and elsewhere. That is a no-no, SERP’s are preaching quality content, in other words articles rich with text and media that are meaningful to what the user is searching for.
- Comment spam: Let’s say you join a thousand forums and leave comments in every one linking to your site and the keywords you are trying to rank for. This is not cool and black hat SEO. Again as stated above, the internet is aiming towards meaningful content. Play nice.
- Cyber squatting: Much like real squatting, this is a huge nuisance and very black hat SEO. Essentially, you buy up a bunch of domain names that you know people will be after because they are trending, then throw up a bunch of low quality content and then charge a ton of money if someone wants it.