So you’re a beginner in SEO and you’ve just started searching Google for blogs, sites and reference links on how to get your site ranked in the search engines. You’ve read through hundreds of articles and you keep hearing people talk about the color of their hat. You’re wondering to yourself “What do I care about the color of your hat? Just give me the information I want on SEO!” Well there is a reason people are talking about hats and it has nothing to do that awesome fedora you saw JT wearing in GQ.
White and black hat SEO are types of search engine optimization strategies. White hat being the legitimate “Google approved” way of doing SEO and black hat being the “If Google catches you doing these, you’ll be penalized for a long time type of SEO.”
Sometimes, some of the less than dependable reference sites don’t tell you which of their tips are white hat and which are black, so I’ve decided to make a list of the 6 black hat SEO tricks you should never use. So come on, bring your green (or black) hat and let’s go streaking (or reading).
- Hidden TextAn oldie but a goodie. Back when search engines were first created, many people tried to trick them by adding keywords of hidden text to the footer of their website which was there for the sole purpose of attracting the search engine spiders. This tactic was quickly thwarted when the search engines realized what was going on.
- Keyword StuffingThe art of putting your keyword on your site more times than it ever should be. Search engines don’t mind you picking out 3 or 4 keywords to focus your site on, but what they don’t want is you adding the same keyword 10 times in your META tags and 15 times in your content. Search engines want you to write META tags and content for people, not search engines.
- Link Farms Don’t have websites with no content and all links, link back to your website. It has zero value at all. If you come across a website and it looks like one of these, just move along because you don’t want your link there. And of course, don’t create sites like this because the search engines literally won’t care to index you.
- Doorway PagesThese are pages on your server which aren’t linked anywhere on your website. If you have a page on your sever which is just there for the purpose of attracting search engines, you can rest assured that search engines will be completely turned off and possibly penalize the rest of your site for trying to tease them.
- Duplicate Content If you have a blog on your site which you write for regularly, be sure not to write about the same thing over and over again. Also, be sure not to take an article you found online and paste it directly on your site. Not only can you get in copyright trouble, but search engines will know that you’re just duplicating content from other sites which aren’t yours and they will penalize you.
- Link Buying Probably the most used and most notorious black hat SEO trick out there today. Link buying is strictly forbidden by Google and other search engines. Google even has a page where you can report link buyers and put them on Google’s radar. If you have a website you’ve undoubtedly received an email from a strange “SEO expert” who claims he can get your site ranked quickly on the search engines. Please ignore these emails. Most of these “experts” purchase bulk links on unrelated websites which may initially give you some rank, but will quickly fade when search engines realize your deceitful schemes.
Like all search engine optimization tricks, tips and tactics, black hat SEO is always evolving. Many of these black hat strategies were at one point considered white hat. The best way to go about SEO is to follow the Google and Bing webmaster guidelines and to review them on a regular basis for updates. So be careful, it’s possible the white hat strategy you’re using today, could be considered black hat tomorrow.