In the world of search engine optimization, the term ‘black hat’ refers to any method of website optimization that involves dubious or underhand techniques. Let’s face it, most of you know right from wrong, and we make our own informed choices about how we behave, in the world of Internet business as in others.
But are the rules about what’s Black Hat’ and what’s ‘white hat’ always clearly defined? Well yes and no. We’ve gathered some Black Hat methods together so that you’ll see them for what they are if you come across them. While some of them may seem appealing at first, rest assured that the consequences of employing tactics listed here as a black hat could be severe. So, with a view to protecting your interests, and ultimately benefiting you in terms of website optimization, what are some black hat methods you should avoid?
Unethical Practices Covered By Black Hat SEO:
1. Overfilling Pages with Keywords
This is something to be avoided for many reasons. As with other black hat SEO techniques, it basically makes for a poor-quality site and as such is entirely counterproductive when it comes to SEO. Overstuffing a page or text with keywords to bring people to it will render it messy and unintelligible to users. Not only this, search engines these days pay special attention to this bad practice and will recognize the overuse of keywords through the ‘spider’ programs they send to investigate sites. There are harsh penalties for keyword overuse these days and so, as we’ve explained, you need to be careful. Keywords are one of your best friends when it comes to SEO, so don’t make an enemy of them by being reckless.
2. Hiding Text
This might seem like an easy way of getting text, such as extra keywords, onto your pages without cluttering them in the eyes of visitors. While it may be fairly easy to achieve, by simply including text that’s the same color as the background, you should remember that it can become visible with the click of a mouse, and as such can make your site seem cheap and shoddy. Also, search engines may well penalize you for its inclusion as they increasingly scan for this Black Hatt technique.
Presenting one set of pages to a visitor and another to search engine spiders is one of the most obviously underhand black hat practices. It would be difficult to claim ignorance if caught practicing this form of deceit. Once again it’s something that search engines take very seriously indeed, and masking could get you a very bad name, remove the possibility of hits from search engine results pages entirely and get you blacklisted. One might well wonder how much more serious a punishment could be for a business trying to succeed on the web. Avoid this at all costs as increasingly sophisticated technology employed by search engines will probably catch you out.
Cookies, redirects cookies, and redirects are black hat techniques that need little introduction to any web user. Put simply, they are highly annoying methods and no discerning website designer would consider their inclusion these days. On top of lowering standards, using cookies and redirects will do nothing for your ranking on search engine result pages and any reputable search engine optimization company would tell you to avoid them like the plague.
These are just some of the most common black hat tips you should avoid. Be advised that there are others and that none of those will bring you any benefits in the long term either. So, instead of dwelling on the negative, let’s end with some good white hat practices you can use.
1. Spend at least half an hour every day looking at ways you can benefit your pages in terms of website optimization. Introduce fresh material, keep links up to date and maintain high standards.
2. Get advice from a good search engine optimization agency. Many will offer you a free SEO analysis, so why not take advantage of that?
3. Keep your site user-friendly. Maintain a site that’s interesting for users and many SEO strategies will fall into place around you. Keep introducing fresh and original material in the form of a blog, for example.
It’s good to be aware of some of these basic white hat principles of SEO, whether you decide to use a professional search engine optimization agency or not.