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What is Black Hat SEO? 8 Risky Techniques to Avoid!!

Ever heard about the dark side of SEO? Well, there is one and it is largely known as…

In this dynamic SEO world, there are transparent rules and mandatory policies that should not be ignored. For a safe and healthy growing online environment, there are SEO guidelines and useful rules. These are necessary for ensuring a healthy speed optimization, quality assured user experience. Every smart business owner and online marketer should keep an eye on the ever upgrading and recent SEO trends for the purpose of keeping their respective sites performing well, accordingly, and have decent internet ranking, having your site constantly adjusted to better suit any new SEO algorithm updates.

 On the other side, the sea of the internet is full of spammers and people who use unethical and shortcut ways to outsmart the Google search engines in order to have a better ranking, but guess what? Google is smart and its algorithm is equally intelligent to figure out the unethical and out of the line approaches that anonymous people on the internet use to earn easy money. Sooner or later, the algorithm learns the tricks used by these spammers and punishes their sites and content accordingly with online penalties.

A few years ago several online marketers largely used black hat SEO tactics to boost the ranking of the websites. However, those tricky times have completely changed today. In this multi-angle Black Hat SEO guide, the author will discuss the trends, practices, and tactics to avoid while doing SEO on your website.  

Let’s take a deep dive into the world of the Black Hat SEO and Google Algorithm.

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This guide covers:-

  1. What is Black Hat SEO?
  2. What are the risks related with the Black Hat SEO?
  3. Are there any punitive reasons to avoid Black Hat SEO?
  4. 8 Imperative Black Hat SEO Tactics To Avoid!

SEO was never a market manipulating or deceptive trick as it was largely misunderstood a decade ago. Even though to the present day, SEO is used on several occasions by spammers all across the globe for ‘attempting to fool the Google’s algorithm’ and somewhere the goal of these illegal and unethical anonymous spammers remains one and mutual, to trick Google into thinking that a website is performing at benchmark levels even when it is not. But thankfully, Google’s algorithm is far smarter than all of these spammers combined. Sooner or later, the algorithm always has a way to figure out who is attempting to fool the algorithm, and once google finds out about your restricted actions or illegal activities, it penalizes the concerned website.

While SEOs always kept their focus on the efforts for producing the best website results on the internet, the tactics discussed in the above paragraph were never the goal of SEO. 

Around 10 years ago Google’s algorithm was not so advanced as it is today and apparently that is why the spammers (back then) had a hold over the internet to befool the netizens into thinking their shortcuts could help the sites to rank at better levels by google. And look at Google’s Algorithm today, the spammers think 10 times before executing any illegal or inauthentic information or actions. All thanks to the smart developers and coders at Google working day and night to help make the internet a more secure and authentic place for everyone.

What is Black Hat SEO?

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 Most commonly the Black Hat SEO is defined & criticized as a disapproved and opposed online practice used by spammers across the globe, this practice of Black Hat SEO is peculiarly used for the purpose of increasing a website’s SERP (Search Engine Result Page) ranking, as well as for WordPress speed optimization or to speed up WordPress websites.

Black Hat SEO is a set of mal-practices used by certain people to accelerate the page rank of a site in the online search engines, using restricted ways to boost page ranking.  The forbidden means that are used while doing Black Hat SEO without a doubt violates the terms of service of the Google search engine.

“Black hat” has American history, the term originated from American movies, in those times the black hat was a term that was used to signify & distinguish a bad guy from the white hat (the good guy). Similarly, in recent times, the Black Hat term is used to signify that category of techie people who practice unethical & illegal actions with their gadgets, commonly known as virus creators, computer hackers, and spammers, etc. 

What are the risks related with the Black Hat SEO?

The pretext behind lots of people not opting for the forbidden shortcut SEO technique in ranking their site because apparently, they understand that there are several risks involved if one uses the means of Black Hat SEO. Google and all the prudent people in the global SEO industry criticize the practice of Black Hat SEO.

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Even though most people out there try not to get caught up with the malpractices on the gigantic internet, there is still a small percentage of people who would be simply fine using a shortcut and unethical method to boost their site’s organic traffic through the Black Hat SEO. Well, there are significant risks and penalties (if caught by algorithm) that come along with these illegal internet practices, alongside, the short-lived success of the sudden boost in site ranking. The results drawn out of the Black Hat SEO practice are not permanent in nature and in fact attract a blacklist eye on your site. 

Guidelines are given by Google Webmaster on the basic principles of SEO, for instance, never try to use the forbidden techniques for your site’s search engine rankings. 

Well, the ground reality is if there were no search engine rankings to place websites on different levels of different parameters there wouldn’t have been unethical tactics of Black Hat SEO either. 

Are there any punitive reasons to avoid Black Hat SEO?

One line alert: The restricted Black Hat SEO malpractices can get any site banned on/from Google and all other search engines. You should not go that road just because of this one single reason. Your website will be suddenly banned and you will have no door to knock and get it back.

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Yes, at times the ill techniques of Black Hat SEO can certainly give a little boost to your site and eventually get its ranking on higher levels, but this doesn’t stay for long. The Google Algorithm is intelligent and advanced enough to figure out and target these sorts of sudden boosting websites which did not perform White Hat SEO but Black Hat. Once caught by the algorithm, Google penalties will be devastating for your website and there will be no more use of any higher or lower ranks as your website will most probably be banned by then.

The use of Black Hat SEO has the highest possibility for 3 happenings on your site:-

  1. Your site will observe a decline and will deliver a poor user experience.

      B) Whatever positively deceptive results you derive through Black Hat SEO, are not for long, and are quite short lived. 

      C) Well if you are planning to do wordpress speed optimization through Black Hat SEO, it is certain that it will critically affect your website’s visibility, user experience, and drastically decline your search engine rankings.

8 Imperative Black Hat SEO Tactics To Avoid!

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There are many Black Hat SEO tactics for instance Content Automation, Cloaking, Article Spinning, Sneaky Redirects, Hidden Text or Links, Link Networks or Link Wheels, Keyword Stuffing, Reporting a Competitor (or Negative SEO), Link Schemes, Guest Posting Networks, Doorway Pages, Link Manipulation (including buying links), Link Farms, Rich Snippet Markup Spam, Automated Queries to Google, Creating pages, subdomains, or domains with duplicate content, Pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing, viruses, trojans, and other malware.

Even though there are many tactics that are not allowed to be used as per the rules of Google, this article will only discuss the 8 most critical tactics.

1.  Article Spinning

Article Spinning is a practice of rewriting/rephrasing the content without changing the entire literal meaning of the content. This is the most commonly used tactic for SEO out there. Article Spinning is quite identical to the unoriginal issue of content and is simultaneously growing more popularity. Article/Content spinning can be easily done in the article spinners available for free access on the internet.  This tactic is used to eliminate the factor of plagiarism (illegal & legally actionable) from the copied content which is already available on the internet. Plagiarism is avoided by the use of content spinning software to yield fresh content without changing the meaning of the content in its entirety.

2.  Keyword Stuffing

It simply means to overuse the same repeating keywords throughout the content of a page in an attempt to maximize the site’s visibility and grow organic traffic. Well, guess what? It doesn’t really turn out that way due to the evolved internet that can quickly learn about this silly trick one uses. The content stuffed with specific keywords does not give a natural vibe, it is bad for the user experience and is not user-friendly.

Keyword Stuffing used to be famous but today it is an outdated Black Hat SEO technique, it is no more as advantageous as it used to be 5 to 7 years ago. These days, Google’s algorithm and the search engines are too advanced & smart to be tricked into ranking your content on the top of the search results due to the overuse of keywords (If you are planning to speed up WordPress site with keyword stuffing, it won’t work!). Google will figure your pity technique in almost no time and react to your site accordingly as per the rules against the Black Hat SEO KeyWord stuffing trick.

An example of keyword-stuffing: Suppose a Handbag shop is wanting to advertise itself and get its website pages quickly ranked on the top of the search engines for the ‘best handbags. The keyword stuffing example for this sort of best handbag would go like, “Hey! Are you looking for the best handbags? Greetings, you have arrived at the right place for the best handbags. Our prestigious brand offers the best handbags in the city. Durable, strong, stylish, lightweight, we sell the best handbags for your stuff. Best Handbags.

3.   Doorway/Gateway Pages

In simple words, The doorway or gateway pages are those pages which are created for one specific purpose of targeting one specific keyword. Like, if there is any search query of a website user, and the moment the user searches for that query by finding a keyword then that keyword opens a specific page for the content of that specific keyword searched. This creation of doorways is against the guidelines of the Google SEO and is considered as a violation of the prescribed rules. Violation brings notice of the algorithm to your site and ultimately the site is punished by Google in several online ways. They are also known as Gateway pages, jump pages, page bridges, and they are particularly optimized for a particular set of targeted keywords and are designed in a manner such that it increases the possibility to rank high for particular queries.

4.  Cloaking

Cloaking is a practice of clear deception. It refers to the process by which a user gets tricked into irrelevant results, in simple words, if a user clicks on a link that says “click here to download the torrent file” but another page of “play rummy” opens. When a user intended to open a certain page but instead of that intended page some irrelevant page opened, this is known as cloaking.

Cloaking is non arguably a violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. There are millions of instances where users across the globe got really pised off when they intended to open a certain page and some other page opened, mostly, completely unrelated with the original user query. 

5.  Duplicate Content

As suggested by the above name itself, Duplicate content is a “copy-paste tactic”, oftentimes people thrive to attempt to do their site SEO with duplicate content. Several different sites on the internet have exactly the same identical content without any changes. Google is smart enough to figure out these identical content sites and treat them as per the punitive measures of Webmaster Guidelines. It also included the banning of the sites from Google. Professionals skip this tactic, they make fresh and original content for getting caught up in the Algorithm penalties. 

6.  Negative SEO

Negative SEO is a tactic that is not followed by many but only a few people. This technique is not a direct trick to boost self-ranking but is an indirect trick to boost the site rankings by using a negative trick, the negative SEO is an attempt to decrease the ranking of the competitors. You can understand this trick as using tactics that certainly violate the Webmaster Guidelines prescribed by Google on your competitor’s site, instead of your own.

In reality, this trick is generally used to direct an excessive number of artificial links to the competitor’s site to decrease their rankings and have Google penalize them. That is why it is called Negative SEO. 

7.  Hidden Text

It is a tactic used by people with the intention to deceive the site users. In this process, people purposely use CSS to hide the content, usually, the hidden context is hidden because it is of the same color as the color of the background on the page, until and unless you are a bot with an advanced & intelligent algorithm installed in you, your naked eyes and brains can not find the hidden texts. People also use a zero font size to hide the texts on a page from its users. This trick is generally used for the purpose of deception, to rank a page higher in the search engines, people use this trick to hide the keywords with zero-size fonts, or with the use of CS, or by using the same color as that of the background. All the keywords that are important to rank a site in the top SERP list are used smartly to attract users by fooling the search engines. But then again, as much smartness is shown by these people who practice this unethical trick, Google is far smarter than these people to find them and punish them, well of course not the people but their websites.

8.  Paid/Manipulative Links

People are paying money to get links, there used to be several sites that used to sell links to the site owners in order to help those site owners fool the search engines. It’s like a to and fro process, links are sold from the genuine sites to other genuine sites, now the trick is to sell the links where the site owners have not originally been at.

Sometimes, people send these links in the form of gift cards. Once you tap to open the gift, it generates several links which you can use to incorporate on your site. The search engine gets slightly tricked due to the confusion that whether you have been to those links you have shared on your site or is it just another delusive trick to attract more traffic to your site. Google’s algorithm takes a little bit of time but it finally does figure it out and ranks your site way below than you deserve to be at only because you willfully violated the guidelines of Google’s Webmaster. 

In case you wish to speed up wordpress websites or do wordpress speed optimization, remember not to violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines to boost your SEO, I repeat just Do not forget! Google is smarter than you.

Author’s Bio:

Name: Anuj Sharma

Hi, my name is Anuj, and I am a content writer. I am working in a leading WordPress speed optimization agency. I am creating many articles on WordPress, Information technology, Website Designing, Search Engine Optimization, social media, etc.

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