When looking to enhance your website’s ranking, make sure that the professionals you hire are transparent and use only “white hat” SEO techniques. If they use “black hat” techniques, their practices are unethical. Your website and possible income may face a penalty for it. It is possible that a black hat technique might go unnoticed for a while, allowing you to rank higher, faster. However, Google will find out. As one of the premier digital marketing companies working today, Advanced Digital Media Services can help your company identify and eliminate any black hat SEO techniques that someone may have used on your website in the past.
A Granular Understanding of Black Hat SEO
Black hat and white hat are the two most recognized ways of conducting SEO. While white hat uses legitimate ways to rank through customer interaction, black hat gears itself to search engines and not humans. When you hear the phrase “black hat,” it means that someone has tried to game the algorithm system. Like we said, Google and other search engines will discover this and ding those sites.
Examples of Black Hat SEO
Examples of black hat search engine optimization can include stuffing your content with keywords, writing invisible text, using unrelated keywords on a page that have nothing to do with the content, and changing a page after Google has ranked it. You may have also discovered something fishy when clicking on a website and discovering that it completely mismatches the headline found on Google. It is nothing less than bait and switch, an unethical business practice that makes it impossible to foster sound business growth.
Search engines, especially Google, will make a point to lower your website’s rating if you use these techniques. Remember, Google is king because their mission is to make sure the user experience is the best one possible. Every algorithm change is a new tweak to ensure marketers are legitimately following the rules. Keep in mind, too, that search engines have developed a host of sophisticated algorithms to detect black hat SEO. Here are some additional SEO practices to bear in mind and avoid.
- Links should be legitimate. Link popularity has always been a means of ranking websites. However, the links must appear from legitimate sources. Links can boost the domain authority of any website. However, Google can tell if those links are natural or not. Such is the case for paid links. A paid link is one that a marketer bought with goods or money. Google has spent a great deal of time and effort in developing the means to shut down link farms. Of course, every marketer has access to tools that can spot paid links. With the right software, a marketer can discover the backlinks on their site and other sites they choose to examine.
- Avoid keyword stuffing, which is easy to find. It happens when a keyword or phrase appears too many times to the point of looking unnatural. This is one of the most common black hat techniques. It also happens to be one of the more difficult practices that Google can detect because Google continues to shift its allowable percentage of keyword text.
- Don’t post hidden links, including off-screen links. While there are far fewer hidden links to find in websites today, it is not surprising to find black hats who still try to do this. These are links the user cannot view. Off-screen links use text with zero font sizes that are hidden behind images. Search engines still take them into account, and they become part of the website’s ranking factor.
- Avoid redirects. These are another form of black hat SEO that happens when clicking on a link and landing on an entirely different website. The goal of this black hat technique is to have a page rank for the content indexed on an entirely different page.
- Do not engage in cloaking. This is an example of what hackers engage in to make it harder to determine whether a website has been hacked.
When hiring an SEO agency or having someone handle your website design in-house, be aware that people can and do take shortcuts. Of course, not everyone is aware that their efforts may fall under the category of black hat SEO. Google is always on the watch and will pull down the ranking of any website that engages in anything that appears to be nefarious. Google stands head and shoulders above all other search engines in the world largely for this reason.
Let Advanced Digital Media Services, a digital marketing agency that offers a range of SEO services, handle all the work for you. We can help your company reach its online marketing goals by implementing the most effective, ethical strategies that are proven to yield results. Complete the form below to chat with one of our experts.