Search Engine Optimization Strategies That Penalize You
If you are looking to start doing SEO on your website you will hear a lot about what you need to do. However there is also a list of things that you should not do. The aim of this article is to give you some tips and advice on things you should avoid in your campaign.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO is the process of getting your website to the top of the search engines using unethical methods. This will usually mean that you need to break the rules of a search engine in order to get to the top.
Quite often things that are considered black hat techniques now used to be allowed in the past. However as search engines have developed and they have worked on producing better results they have made some of the old tactics illegal. Usually because the tactics they ban make it very easy for webmasters to manipulate results which is not the aim of the search engines.
Main Black Hat Tactics
1. Keyword Stuffing. This is the most common form of black hat tactics. This is basically the practice of putting your keywords into the text on your website more times than needed. The usually standard is 3%-5% occurrence of keywords. A site where the keyword appears say 20% of the time could be seen as keyword stuffing.
2. Hidden text. This is the process of putting test on your website that visitors cannot see but search engines can. For example is you have a white background on your website you could put some text in white so that people cannot read it. This text however can be read by the search engines and so helps with adding your keywords. Search engines are now very good at detecting this.
3. Paid Links. This is the process of going to other webmasters and paying them to add links on their website to yours. This is seen as an artificial way of gaining links as they are providing no real benefit to web users.
4. Cloaking. This is the process of displaying one page to the search engines and another to your visitors. This will allow you to have a highly optimised web page for certain terms that you show to the search engines but your visitors see a different site. Search engines are not very good at detecting this.
5. Doorway Pages. This is a page that is put at the front of your website and is highly optimised. When visitors click on the link in the search engines they will arrive at your doorway page and then will be able to enter your website. Usually these website owners will use a redirect so that visitors are automatically redirected when they come to this page so that they never actually see it.
6. Duplicate Sites. These used to be created by webmasters to dominate the search engines rankings. Often they would take a popular site and copy it exactly with the aim of getting to the top of the search engines. As the search engines now check for duplicate content this very rarely works.
Consequences of Black Hat Tactics
Search engines have progressed so much now that they are able to determine if a website is implementing any of these tactics. Most search engines will punish websites for using these tactics and the punishment may vary. With paid links you will find that search engines will just ignore them and so they add no value at all to your search engine optimisation campaign. With some of the other tactics search engines may decide to drop you down the rankings or even ban your domain name completely. This will mean you need to start all over again with a new domain name.
If you are considering using any of these tactics, think very carefully, it might be the worst thing you have ever done. If you are using an SEO company find out what they do to get your site to the top. If you suspect they might use any black hat techniques stay away it will only damage you in the long run.
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