Google processes more than 8 billion search queries per day, according to data from Internet Live Stats. It goes without saying, then, that Google has become one of the main ways people look for and discover the products and services they need in their lives and businesses, wanting to increase sales, leads or revenue should always aim to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Search engine optimisation is a powerful tool for businesses to increase website traffic, as websites that rank high on search results are the main beneficiaries of web traffic. It’s for this reason, that many have tried to find exploits in Google’s algorithm in order to give their sites an unfair advantage over the competition.
It takes time for a site to rank high on the SERP, but those desperate for quick results may resort to more nefarious tactics and “black hat” SEO techniques to get them there as quickly as possible.
Black hat SEO attempts to bypass Google’s own predefined guidelines by cheating the system to improve search visibility through unscrupulous practices – but how exactly is this done?
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is a term used to describe the use of unethical search engine optimisation tactics. These methods are considered black hat because they can negatively impact your website’s ranking in search engines, and could even lead to penalties for your site. Black hat SEO uses deceptive techniques that can get you banned from Google or other search engines.
There are many different types of black hat SEO techniques. Some examples include:
This is when you stuff keywords into the content of your page so that it appears unnatural to a human reader but looks like a good target for bots. For example, putting a bunch of keywords at the top of an article without any context makes it look like spam.
Link schemes are networks of websites that all link back to one particular site in an attempt to boost its ranking in search engines. These websites are created with the sole purpose of linking through to other websites. The idea is that they can trick search engines into thinking your link farm is an authority site and therefore rank well for relevant keywords.
If you create an entirely new page that doesn’t add value to your site but does contain some relevant keywords, then Google might think it’s useful and rank it higher than other sites with more useful content on their page(s).
Cloaking or Hidden Text
Cloaking is when you show one thing to a human visitor and another thing entirely to search engines like Google and Yahoo! Search, for example by using text that is the same colour as the background so that it is not visible to the human eye. Other types of black hat cloaking can include:
- User-Agent Cloaking
- IP based cloaking
- HTTP_REFERER cloaking
- HTTP Accept-language header cloaking
These are pages that lead users away from your actual website and instead direct them somewhere else completely unrelated to what they were looking for on the first page they visited on your site. This can result in getting banned by Google and other major search engines if done excessively or without any effort put into making these pages useful for visitors
What Are The Consequences Of Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO has never been best practice, however up until a few years ago, many were convinced that this “hack” could provide a SERP positioning edge over the competition without having to develop a complex organic SEO strategy. Fortunately, though, Google’s algorithm has now advanced far beyond these primitive techniques and its site crawlers can spot SEO malpractice much easier.
Google’s intelligent AI catches on pretty quickly to black hat tactics, and they penalise sites according by lowering their rankings and removing links from their index. This can be devastating for businesses that heavily rely on building backlinks for income.
When a website is penalised, it means that it will be ranked lower than other websites in its industry or niche. This can negatively affect the amount of traffic that your website receives from search engines and make it harder for users to find your content.
Black hat practices can also lead to bad press and negative reviews on sites like Yelp and Facebook, which could lead to a drop in sales and revenue over time.
Why Choose Ricemedia?
For over 20 years, we’ve helped hundreds of brands and businesses develop and execute winning SEO strategies, thanks to our vast knowledge and experience of organic search.
If you are looking for an ROI-focused agency that’s as invested in the success of your business as you are, get in touch with our expert SEO team today and we’ll be happy to discuss your options and tailor a search engine marketing strategy that’s best for you.