Coined from old western movies, “black hat” refers to the sketchy, downright scheming way of doing things, while “white hat” refers to well, the opposite. If old western films have taught us anything, it’s that “black hat” is bad. Which only confirms that black hat SEO techniques are as well.
It’s important to know the difference between black, gray, and white hat SEO, as well as the infamous black hat SEO techniques that can single-handedly dismantle your company’s reputation, ban your site from search engines and negatively affect your company’s search rankings on the Internet.
Let’s take a look at black hat SEO, how it differs from white and gray hat SEO, and 5 black hat SEO techniques that you should avoid like the plague.
What are Black Hat SEO Techniques?
Black hat SEO is the sketchy, dishonest cousin of white hat SEO. Focused on tactics used to increase page ranking in search engine results, these techniques operate by violating search engine terms of service. Black hat SEO techniques don’t benefit the user or the user’s experience with informative content, but only increase rankings for the site using the techniques like paying for a rank, duplicating content, and presenting information as something other than what it really is. Ultimately, black hat SEO takes away from the usefulness of services offered on the Internet and instead pushes undeserving sites to the top of search rank pages.
In simplest terms, black hat SEO is the bad way of doing SEO. Here’s a look into 5 techniques of doing black hat SEO:
The “cloaking” black hat SEO technique is just as mysterious as it sounds. Cloaking is when two versions of a page are created when only one should. One of the pages is created for users and the other is created for search engines. By redirecting visitors to a different IP address than search engines, the content on the presented page is altered depending on the audience it’s brought to. The content on a page tricks search engines to rank them for their targeted keywords while in reality, the content users are seeing doesn’t reflect those targeted keywords. Dishonesty with a capital “D”.
As simple as it sounds, duplicating content is plagiarizing another’s work instead of doing it yourself. Just like getting caught for it in grade school, it’s equally detrimental in the world of SEO. Search engines seek out unique content in their process of ranking, so duplicating content directly skews that ranking for yourself, as well as the content’s owner that you’re copying from. Do your own work!
This black hat technique refers to the text and links of a page’s content that is invisible to the user while still visible to the search engine scanning the page. This allows black hat do-ers the ability to reap the benefits of having certain content on a page without having to actually present it to anyone to see. Search engines would continue to rank pages as if this content was actually on-page, providing an illegitimate ranking. Shame on you, black hat SEO.
Knowing that link building is pivotal in the world of SEO, black hat SEO introduces yet another infamous technique that improperly executes linking. In black hat SEO, links are paid for based on page ranking in order to obtain a higher search result standing. While good white hat SEO focuses on providing, implementing, and embedding internal linking as well as other relevant site’s links in their content, black hat SEO focuses on not doing any of the work, yet reaping the benefits through paying for links.
Ranking well on search result pages relies heavily on a page’s keyword density. In hopes to increase a pages visibility and reach, black hat SEO techniques stuff content with keywords.
White hat SEO-appropriate keyword density falls around 2-3%, ensuring the user searching that keyword finds a relevant and quality article, resulting in positive user experience. With the black hat technique of keyword stuffing, content is chalked full of the keyword, overloading and overflowing the user with worse quality content and a worse experience in the end.
Black Hat SEO vs. Gray Hat
Black hat SEO and gray hat SEO are more similar than different. While it’s obvious how black hat SEO is illegal, gray hat SEO consists of questionable techniques that are technically legal at the moment, but are more than likely destined to be illegal in a matter of time. Gray hat are the techniques that aren’t yet illegal, yet still do not fall into the realm of white hat SEO. Some gray hat SEO techniques include irregular website design changes with no content changes and illegitimate or “made-up” users showing interest in your company’s website, social media platforms, and other online pages. While these won’t get you thrown out of the game quite yet, it’s better to focus on practicing good SEO techniques to build a better foundation for your company’s future.
Black Hat SEO vs. White Hat
Black and white hat SEO techniques are night and day when you get down to the nitty gritty. Black hat SEO focuses on scheming search engines and competitors to obtain better rankings and page visibility than deserved. White hat SEO focuses on good techniques like site optimization, original, quality content, and link building for the betterment of SEO and users, not only for the benefits of themselves.
It’s important to implement solid groundwork when starting your SEO campaign with techniques that follow the white hat rules. At Victorious, we operate solely through good white hat SEO techniques to boost SEO for our customers in an honest, transparent way. We see it as the only way to do SEO right. Find out more on what to expect from the best SEO company.