Black Hat SEO Techniques You Should Avoid
At Bubble, we work with our clients to improve their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). SEO is an area which is snowballing. Because of this, there are techniques, tips and tricks which used to be great for SEO but are now no longer useful and, in some instances, can now have a negative effect on your rankings.
Black hat SEO techniques are deemed unethical as they try to manipulate and trick search engines by violating search engine guidelines. These techniques aim to exploit loopholes in algorithms rather than focusing on providing valuable content to users – which is what SEO should be about.
While they sometimes offer short-term gains, they are more likely to lead to severe penalties and long-term damage to a website’s reputation.
Black Hat SEO Technique Examples
These are just a selection of the black hat SEO techniques we have encountered while working in the industry. If you are trying to improve your rankings, it’s best practice to avoid any of the following techniques.
Keyword Stuffing – Overloading a webpage with excessive keywords, often irrelevant to the content, in an attempt to manipulate search engines.
“Buy our red wellington boots because red wellington boots keep your feet dry in the rain. Red wellington boots are better than blue wellington boots because red wellington boots are red, which makes them more contrasting to the grass when you are walking in your red wellington boots.”
As you can see, this practice makes the content unreadable and provides a poor user experience.
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide where the line is between good optimisation and keyword stuffing. Just remember that search engines practically read content like people do now, so if it doesn’t sound right to you, then search engines won’t like it.
Hidden Text – this “trick” dates back decades; it involves hiding keywords or links within a webpage by using the same font colour as the background or placing them off-screen, making them invisible to users but readable by search engine crawlers.
The hope behind this technique is that the content will seem very on-topic for search engines, but the user experience isn’t diluted with content. However, as search engines become savvier, user experience is a big part of SEO, so if it negatively affects the UX, then just leave it out.
This also overlaps with keyword stuffing as users would repeat their key phrase multiple times in their hidden text to try and boost the relevancy.
Multiple Domains – Creating multiple domains or pages designed to rank for specific keywords and then redirecting users to a different page or website. This could be location-based; for example.
Where each other these URLs is a one-page website that links back to the main website.
These doorway pages are usually low-quality and exist solely for the purpose of manipulating search engine rankings rather than providing valuable information or services to users.
Duplicated Content – sometimes content creation is hard; it can be tempting to change the title of an existing piece and re-publish; however, this is not good for SEO for two reasons;
- Search engines penalise duplicated content; each page of content should provide new information for the reader and be unique.
- It damages the current page, which may be getting good traffic from search engines as you are creating another competing page for the exact search term. You are putting pages of your website in competition with each other.
Creating new fresh content is much more productive for your website than re-releasing existing content as new pages.
Cloaking – Presenting different content to search engine crawlers than what is shown to users. This technique aims to deceive search engines into ranking a page based on irrelevant or misleading content.
This is a more complex technique as it often requires access to the htaccess through the DNS records to set up. Something as complex as this is best to avoid – especially as it can be difficult to reverse unless you know how.
Link Farming – We know that links to your website are an SEO signal. Link farming includes creating or participating in networks of websites solely for the purpose of exchanging links. These networks have no real value to users and are designed to manipulate search engine rankings.
If you are going to embark on link building to improve your SEO, you should follow best practices and earn good links rather than create less credible ones yourself.
Black SEO Techniques – Final Thoughts
When trying to improve your websites SEO, it’s important to note that search engines continuously improve their algorithms to detect and penalise websites employing black hat techniques.
It is always recommended to focus on white hat SEO techniques that prioritise creating high-quality content, providing a positive user experience, and following search engine guidelines for sustainable long-term results. Read more about our top SEO tips here.
If you want to improve your websites SEO, then contact Bubble today. We have worked with clients at any stage of their SEO journey to improve their rankings and increase their traffic. So, give us a call – we can help you be more visible online.
To Boost Your SEO the Right Way Contact The Team At Bubble Today
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