“Black hat SEO”, “Dirty SEO” and on the malicious side, “SEO Poisoning”, is the practice of increasing a site or page’s rank in search engines through methods that violate a search engine’s terms of service. Do you remember in the old western movies they distinguished the “bad guys” wearing black hats, from the “good guys” wearing white hats? “Black hat” has been adopted to describe virus creators, hackers, and others that perform unethical actions with computers.
Implementing Black Hat SEO strategies and tactics can get your site banned from search engines! Being excluded from search engines removes you from the number one traffic referral source on the Internet. This equates to not having an entrance to your store front. Before hiring an SEO professional, you need a proper understanding of Black Hat SEO and its consequences.
So, what is Black Hat SEO?
It is generally defined as a disapproved method that nevertheless can increase a page’s ranking in a search engine result page, aka SERP. The strategies and tactics performed by black hat SEO specialists can be found in the Google Webmaster Guidelines and Bing Webmaster Guidelines. Continued use of these practices can result in your site being banned from the search engine and affiliate sites.
A great litmus test on whether an SEO tactic would go against a search engine’s webmaster guidelines is to ask, “Is the work that I’m doing adding value to the user, or am I just doing this for search engines to see?” If you’re not adding value to a user, but your rankings are likely to increase, then your decisions are likely to be black hat.
Why should you avoid Black Hat SEO?
Do you need more of a reason than black hat SEO practices can get your website banned from Google, Bing and other search engines?
Your site may be the recipient of short-term success through increased traffic, Google and Bing’s penalties are becoming more sophisticated and can have a devastating effect on your rankings and traffic. Can you afford to lose out on the hundreds of millions of users searching on Google every day? The answer should be an emphatic NO!
Recognized Black Hat SEO tactics
Now that we all agree that black hat SEO technics should be avoided, let’s take a look at a list of practices that should not be used if you want to stay in good standing with Google and other search engines.
- Article/Content Spinning
- Automated Queries to Google
- Content Automation
- Creating pages, subdomains, or domains with duplicate content
- Doorway Pages
- Guest Posting Networks
- Hidden Text or Links
- Keyword Stuffing
- Link Farms, Link Wheels or Link Networks
- Link Manipulation (including buying links)
- Link Schemes
- Pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing, viruses, trojans, and other malware
- Reporting a Competitor (or Negative SEO)
- Rich Snippet Markup Spam
- Sneaky Redirects
Black Hat SEO practices, are they for you?
Are you trying to build a long-lasting business?
Yes! Avoid Black Hat SEO at all costs. Look for alternative means of improving your search engine ranks.
My site’s been attacked, how do I report Black Hat SEO?
There are a few reasons you will want to report black hat SEO. The main reason is, your website has been the victim of a malicious hack, virues or negative SEO campaign of spammy links. The second is, you may see spammy web results on a competitive keyword your website is ranking on. For the latter, you can use Google Webmaster Tools to file a web spam report, but please, use this tool with discretion. Falsely reporting web spam could be considered black hat SEO.
If your website has been maliciously attacked through a hack, virus, or malware, you can request a malware review after you’ve removed the malicious code.
Google Webmaster Tools has the Disavow Links Tool. This tool can be used if your website becomes the target of a negative SEO campaign of spammy links. You’ve tried to contact the webmasters of the sites pointing these links to your website, use the Disavow Links Tool to have them removed.
Also published on Medium.