What is Black Hat SEO and Why Should You Avoid It

By | December 18, 2016
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You may have never heard the term Black Hat used when talking about SEO.  It is a very important concept that everyone should be aware of when they are involved in any type of online business because using Black Hat techniques can lead to severe Google consequences.

So, what is Black Hat SEO exactly?  Black Hat SEO is basically using unethical practices to increase your Google rankings.

These techniques are usually very aggressive and only focus on getting SEO results and focus almost nothing on the user experience.  More importantly, these practices almost never follow search engine guidelines.

There are a lot of examples out there of Black Hat practices, so let’s dive right in and take a look at some of the more common ones.

Example 1: Comment Spam


If you’ve had your own blog or website that allowed comments for a while I’m sure you’ve seen this one.  Someone comes along and will post a bunch of spam that usually contains links and all sorts of garbage.

These people are basically posting purely to get backlinks.  The problem is that this technique, while still very popular, doesn’t do much to get the spammer any SEO power.  It is really just a huge waste of time.  There are tools out there that actually automate this process by just going to random websites and putting comments in.

If you don’t have any comment administration in place then it is only a matter of time before you see this issue pop up.  It is really annoying to the site owner and especially to any visitors that website gets.  This is something you want to get cleaned up right away and prevent if you run your own website.

Some options are to:

  • Have comment administration turned on
  • Have a good spam blocker (I used to use wP-Spamshield which worked perfectly for me)
  • Have a good hosting service that blocks spam before it even gets to you (this is who I use for my hosting)

Just make sure that if spam does make it to your comments section, get rid of it fast because it makes your articles look unprofessional and outdated.

Example 2: Keyword Stuffing


Keyword stuffing is pretty popular technique that is rather ineffective these days.  Keyword stuffing is done by simply adding keywords into a post where ever and whenever they can be added.  Keyword saturation in these posts will be extremely high, and the posts themselves are rather ridiculous to read.

The reason this technique is used is that by overusing a keyword throughout a post that post should become more visible in organic searches.  Like I mentioned before when this technique is used the articles themselves become very difficult to read and the user experience is almost completely lost.

This technique doesn’t work very well these days because search engines have become much smarter than they once were and can now detect the use of keyword stuffing.

Example 3: Gateway Pages


Gateway pages are really annoying!  I’m sure this is something you have experienced at least a few times if you have used the internet very much.  You click on a link in a search engine that is supposed to send you to a certain page on a certain subject and instead you get diverted to a totally different page about something on a totally different subject.

Those are gateway pages.  They are pages that have been specifically targetted at certain keywords to rank higher in the page rankings.  The page itself is nothing more than a landing page that has been designed to trick search engines and, subsequently, the visitors.  Once a visitor gets to this landing page they are forwarded on immediately to a completely different page.

Example 4: Copy Paste Pages


This example is performed by literally posting the exact same, or slightly altered, content from one page to another.

Copy paste pages are fairly common to see for anyone doing a lot of google searches, especially on some of the more popular topics.  When a search term is entered several pages will show up in the rankings that have exactly the same descriptive text, and if clicked on and compared side to side will have the exact same content.

Google, as well as most other search engines, prefer to have unique content from each article.  Because this technique is in direct conflict with that preference it is viewed as being one of the worst types of techniques to use.

Example 5: Content Spinning


Content spinning is becoming much more popular these days as the spinning technology is becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect.  Content spinning uses a spinning tool that will usually scour the internet for whatever topic is given

Content spinning uses a spinning tool that will usually scour the internet for whatever topic is given.  Once it finds a page that it believes is the same subject as the topic it will take all the content from that page, rearrange the text (spin it), and post this rearranged content as a new page.

Some content spinners will allow you to input how many articles you want on a particular topic and how often you want them posted.  It then just automatically will create posts on that topic at the given interval.

Not only is this technique completely lacking in terms of human touch, it is also just another form of plagiarism.  Simply taking all the content from one page and rearranging it doesn’t mean it is an original work.

If you would like an example of a content spinner you can check out this review I did on one a while back.

The Consequences


So now that we have discussed a few of the more common Black Hat techniques we should probably go into the consequences a bit.

Using these techniques is extremely risky mostly because they will be identified and flagged by a search engine at one point or another.  When a site has been identified for using Black Hat techniques usually one of two things will happen to that domain.

  • It will be banned
  • It will be penalized

Being banned is much more uncommon as it requires the website to be completely removed from SERPs.  Most likely a site that has been flagged will be penalized heavily.  This means that their rankings will suffer and in turn, their website won’t receive any visitors.

Regardless of which option is chosen being flagged as a problem site by any search engine is basically the death of that website.

If you are looking for a website that teaches White Hat techniques and keeps you up-to-date on the does and don’ts of running your own website I suggest you check this one out.

If you have any comments, concerns, or just want to share your own advice on Black Hat SEO, then please leave a comment below!  As always, I look forward to hearing from you.  🙂

6 thoughts on “What is Black Hat SEO and Why Should You Avoid It

  1. Kendrick

    Hi Christian,

    insightful article about all the online business impropriety! I, for one, never knew that keyword stuffing is liable for website penalization. Many website owners out there should be made aware of these mistakes they are committing. Thanks for laying it out nicely for all of us, I’m sure readers would appreciate.

    Cheers,
    Kendrick

    Reply
    1. Christian Dorius Post author

      Hi, Kendrick.

      I’m glad you found this article insightful. I think there are a lot of people out there that do some Black Hat things without actually realizing that it is frowned upon. While I think the tone of my article paints Black Hatters as dishonest, this isn’t the whole picture. Several well-meaning website owners out there just don’t know the rules because they aren’t really laid out that well. I’m hoping this article serves as a vehicle to inform as well as in some cases protect those individuals.

      Reply
  2. Xdeem Li

    Hi,

    Thanks for the great information! I hate getting scam comments, don’t know why they even bother. Such a waste of time! Since then I installed a spam comment plugin. Problem solved. The other examples you mentioned are not good practice either. Why don’t people just produce quality content? Cheers!!!

    Reply
    1. Christian Dorius Post author

      Hey, Xdeem.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hear what you are saying about the comment spam. I haven’t really had an issue with it on this site, mostly because I have had protection against it since this site went live. One of my other sites has seen a lot of it though. It was one of my first WordPress sites and I didn’t do much in the way of plugins. Luckily I did have comment administration turned on so I deleted them and they never got viewed by anyone but me. But it was really annoying having to deal with that for a short while.

      Reply

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