Get a good search engine ranking by cheating? If you are looking for shortcuts through Black Hat SEO to appear in the first positions of Google as quickly as possible, be careful, because it can be very expensive. Discover in this article 12 SEO techniques that you should avoid.
Appearing in the first positions of Google is the goal of many, but it is not advisable to look for shortcuts and quick solutions to achieve it.
In this article we present the SEO techniques that you should avoid in order not to receive an algorithmic penalty in search engines. All these techniques are included under the general term of Black Hat SEO.
1. What does Black Hat SEO mean?
Black Hat SEO is a set of deceptive strategies that aim to get a page to rank higher in search results.
In other words, they are actions that violate search engine guidelines and therefore should be avoided.
🔎 Fun fact: Black Hat SEO owes its name to the old western movies, in which the bad guy wore a black hat, and is opposed to the so-called White Hat SEO, which represents search engine optimization done legally and fair.
As you might have guessed by now, this type of SEO is used to make your site rank higher in search results through wrong techniques. These techniques try to trick Google's algorithm into believing that your content is the best for the queries made by Internet users.
The main goal of search engines is to offer the best possible experience to their users. That is why they are always attentive to the quality of the sites :
"Since the birth of search engines, there are users who are dedicated to seeking fraudulent techniques to appear at the top of search results. These practices harm users who are looking for content because the pages that most interest them are hidden behind others. that are irrelevant. They also negatively affect legitimate websites, as they are harder to find." (Source: Search Console Help )
It seems obvious to say, but if the search engine discovers (for example through an algorithm update or a manual action ) that you are using one of the Black Hat SEO techniques, the consequences will be expensive:
- your positioning will drop in positions and therefore your organic traffic will decrease.
- Your site may be completely removed from Google's index and no longer appear in search results.
What are the Black Hat SEO techniques to avoid?
Perhaps you are not yet very familiar with SEO and are not sure what techniques to use, or perhaps you are looking for new strategies that allow you to increase the visibility of your site. In any case, below we have listed 12 Black Hat SEO techniques that you should stay away from.
1. Keyword Stuffing
The best known Black Hat SEO technique is keyword stuffing, or the repetition of one or more keywords within a text .
Those who use keyword stuffing hope to rank higher even at the cost of making their text look unnatural. The following example is taken from a famous joke among SEO experts:
A SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor...
( Source )
The goal of those who use keyword stuffing is to appear in organic search results for different keywords. However, if these are irrelevant or misleading, the result will be a poor user experience.
The Google algorithm easily finds the pages that exploit this technique.
💡 Remember that your texts should be written for people , not for search engines.
2. Duplicate content
Plagiarism, which consists of posting duplicate content, is a technique that Google itself discourages .
Hijacking content written by other people is not only unfair, but also counterproductive and a waste of time: when search engines scan your site's pages, any duplicate content they find will be ignored and will lead to a lower ranking.
If you want to use original content on multiple pages of your site, on social networks, etc., remember to mark the page as "noindex" or the link as "nofollow". In any case, to avoid any kind of problem, always try to write unique texts.
3. Automatically generated content
Having a blog and regularly posting new articles sends a positive signal to Google and helps improve your site traffic.
However, maintaining a blog requires time and constant dedication. For this reason, some people rely on "blogging bots," tools that automatically generate, update, and publish new content.
Although it may seem like a comfortable solution and artificial intelligence continues to advance by leaps and bounds, keep in mind that the user experience will never be excellent. The text will look unnatural, as if it was written by a non-native speaker or even a robot.
4. Hidden texts
Hidden text occurs when the font size is zero or when the text of a word is the same color as the page background.
Although this technique, unlike keyword stuffing, does not necessarily affect the user experience, it is still a deceptive practice. This is because the search engines know that, as we have already mentioned, a page with hidden text will not answer the user's query.
With the cloaking technique, two different contents are displayed to the site visitors and the search engine respectively. Cloaking is an attempt to trick Google's algorithm so that a page is shown to users for keywords that the text does not actually contain.
Some pages use cloaking to insert spam links, malware, or deceptive redirects .
6. Spam in the comments
Often in the dedicated section of blogs, forums or similar pages, you can find comments that contain a link to another page. This technique is used to gain a large number of backlinks quickly and easily.
In itself, it is not necessarily a bad technique: if your comment and/or link adds value to the reader, it is a strategy that you can apply with moderation and care. However, if the link is irrelevant, you risk being penalized for spam.
7. Doorway Pages
Doorway pages, also known as entry pages, are designed to redirect visitors to other pages.
It is a page related to a specific query created to rank at the top of search results. However, when users click on it, they are redirected to another page. In other words, a front page helps drive traffic to a certain page but does not offer any added value to the user.
8. Abusive use of structured data and rich snippets
Rich snippets are additional elements that are displayed in search results to make a page more attractive to click on. Rich snippets can include a store's opening hours, phone number, or star ratings:
Structured data is the means by which you can change the way your content is displayed.
Black Hat SEO is about providing inaccurate information in structured data to mislead search engines and users. For example, someone practicing Black Hat SEO could assign themselves five stars from a fake review site and add structured data to stand out in search results. This is a very risky practice, as search engines like Google encourage users to report websites that abuse structured data.
9. Manipulation of links and payment links
Receiving backlinks from pages with good domain authority can really improve the SEO of your site. However, if these links are purchased or created to manipulate your ranking, you will be violating Google's webmaster guidelines.
This Black Hat SEO technique could have the opposite effect and completely cripple the visibility of your website.
Some examples identified by Google are:
- Exchange of money, goods or services to get backlinks
- Links created in collaboration with other sites for the sole purpose of obtaining links to your own site ("Include a link to my page and I include one to yours")
- Programs or services that automatically create links to your own website
10. Negative SEO
Unlike the others, this Black Hat SEO technique does not aim to improve its own ranking, but rather to worsen that of the competitors .
One method of doing this is by leaving negative reviews on open review platforms , or by pointing unnatural links to someone's site.
To prevent your site from being affected by negative SEO, always keep an eye on your backlinks with special tools, such as the Backlink Checker from ahrefs .
Also, make sure you keep a rigorous control of your opinions online.
11. Farm links or link farm
Link farms are pages or entire sites with a large number of links and often without content or added value for the user.
Therefore, its purpose is exclusively limited to building links that aim to increase a page's ranking for a specific keyword.
12. Misleading Redirect
In itself, a redirect is not a bad SEO technique, in fact it is sometimes necessary (for example, when moving the site to a new address), but some redirects can be "misleading".
These types of redirects are intended for search engines to index a certain content but then direct users to another URL with a different content.
As in the case of cloaking, users will see content other than what Google's crawler has scanned, and they may fall victim to spam or other dangerous content.
How to rank well without Black Hat SEO
Although Black Hat SEO techniques may seem like a good way to get a good ranking in a short time, the results are usually short-lived.
Also, if Google discovers you, your site will receive a penalty that will hinder all your future work for a long time. Rather, it's wise to spend your time trying to optimize your site legally to ensure long-term success.
Always follow Google's guidelines for webmasters , keep in mind what techniques to avoid, and stay up to date with the best SEO techniques.
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