If we go 10 years back, at that time people assumed that by manipulating Google’s algorithm and using false tactics, they could rank their page on top. The competition in the digital world was increasing at such a pace that people used the wrong SEO tactics to rank their websites. The algorithm of Google was less advanced at that time, however, with time Google’s algorithm changed so drastically that it could detect minute web spam as well. The wrong tactics can give your site a temporary boost but it is not as effective as it sounds in the long run. The long-term and ethical way to increase the rankings of your website is by using white-hat link-building techniques.
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What is Black-Hat Link Building in SEO?
Black-hat is a practice that violates search engine guidelines to rank your website higher in search results than it is supposed to through organic search. Using black hat techniques and manipulating Google’s Webmaster and Bing’s Webmaster guidelines to build links is called Black-hat link building. It is an unethical way of search engine optimization as illegal tactics are used for link building. If you use black-hat tactics continuously then it will cause more damage to your presence in the SERPs rather than improving it and can lead to your website being penalized or even permanent deindexing of your site. The website owners work hard to maintain the spirit of the basic principles and guidelines of Google and they will provide a better user experience and eventually enjoy a good ranking than those people who are looking for loopholes in the algorithm that they can exploit. If you think that a site is abusing Google’s Quality Guidelines then you can file a spam report and help Google to improve its spam detection systems.
Black-Hat SEO Techniques you need to abstain:
1) Keyword Stuffing:
It is a practice of loading a webpage with keywords or phrases or numbers with the aim to manipulate a website’s rank in SERPs. These keywords appear continuously in a list or group. It results in a bad user experience and can degrade your site’s ranking. It is better to focus on creating meaningful content that uses keywords appropriately and not out of context.
Examples of keyword stuffing include:
A List of phone numbers without substantial added value, blocks of text that list cities and states that a webpage is trying to rank for, and repetition of the same words so often that it sounds unnatural as shown in the above example.
It is a practice of showing different content or URLs to users and search engines. It is a violation of Google’s guidelines.
Examples of cloaking are:
Showing a page of HTML text to search engines while showing a page of photos to users, inserting text or keywords on a page only when the user agent that is requesting the page is a search engine not a human user, etc.
3) Sneaky Redirects:
When a visitor is sent to a different URL than the one initially requested, that is known as a redirect. If you are moving your site to a new address then it is a good thing to redirect from one URL to another but some redirects are deceptive to search engines. Some display content to users which is different from that made available to crawlers. If you are redirecting a user to a different page with the intention to show content other than what was made available to a search engine crawler. When a redirect is executed by this method, a search engine may index the parent page rather than follow the redirect, while users are taken to the redirect target. Sneaky redirects are a deceptive practice as it attempts to show different content to users and to Googlebot. As it takes a visitor to a different destination than where they expected to go.
Examples of sneaky redirects include:
Users may receive a normal page on a PC while cell phone users are redirected to an entirely different spam domain, users are shown one type of content while search engines are shown something else.
4) Link Schemes:
All those links that aim to manipulate a website’s rank in Google search results are a violation of Google’s guidelines. Such links are a part of a link scheme. All the practices that manipulate backlinks to your site are a part of the link scheme too.
Some examples of link schemes that can impact your site’s ranking in SERPs:
- Exchanging money or goods or services for links and sending a free product in exchange for links.
- Excessive link exchanges like ‘ Link to me and I’ll link to you ‘.
- Use automatic services to form links to your site.
- Taking a link as part of the terms of service or contract.
- Creating unnatural links.
Some examples of unnatural links that violate Google’s guidelines :
- Broadly distributed links in the footers of many sites.
- Advertising where payment is received for the content that has links that pass PageRank.
- Links with optimized anchor text in the content distributed on other websites.
- Low-quality or keyword-rich links are embed in widgets that go across various sites.
- Forum comments with links in the post or signature.
If you think that a site is using link schemes then you can let Google know.
5) Scraped Content:
Copying content from other high-ranked websites with the assumption that increasing the length of content is a good strategy rather than focusing on the uniqueness of your content. The users will not consider your copied content of any useful value. Sometimes it can also result in copyright issues. It is better to stress creating content that is different from other websites.
Examples of scraping include:
- Websites that copy content from other websites without adding any original content.
- Websites modify the copied content by using synonyms and republishing it.
- Sites that embed content like images or videos from other websites without any useful value to the user.
6) Abusing structured data markup:
Structured data are basically rich snippets and schema that make you change the way your content is displaying on SERPs. Reviews schema markup is one of the most common and popular types of structured data. Black hat SEO involves providing wrong information in structured data to fool search engines and users. Google has a specific set of guidelines that apply to all structured data. We need to follow the guidelines to enable structured data to be eligible for inclusion in Google Search results. Those websites that violate the content guidelines will be ineligible for results in SERPs. In order to maintain a good quality search experience for users.
7) Doorway pages:
Doorways are websites or pages that users create to rank for the same search queries. It can lead to multiple same pages in search results which is not a good user experience.
Examples of doorways:
- Users create web pages for the sake of search queries rather than to meet a user’s needs.
- Generating pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to a single page.
8) Creating pages with malicious behaviour:
Installing software on our websites that behaves out of context for users like malware, trojans, ads, viruses, etc. That is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Anything that manipulates content on a page in a strange way downloads files on a user’s device without their consent, or goes against Google’s Unwanted Software Policy is malicious behaviour. The main aim of Google’s guidelines is to give its users the most related search results and keep them safe on the web.
We have given an overview of Black-hat link building and the Black-hat techniques. You should never use it for increasing your website’s rank. We should always focus on creating content for users and not for search engines and always follow white-hat link-building practices.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is black hat link building?
Black hat link building uses unethical techniques for driving traffic to your website by manipulating search engine algorithms.
What is white hat link building?
White hat link building uses techniques that synchronize with Google’s or any other search engine guidelines.
How do backlinks help SEO?
Backlinks are important for SEO as they represent a vote of confidence from one site to another. They signal to Google that another resource finds your content valuable enough to link with it.
Shahid Shahmiri is a digital marketer by profession. He helps online businesses to grow with smart marketing tactics to achieve better sales and leads. He is passionately focused and driven to grow businesses online and can manage the marketing and lead generation process with proven tactics and experiments. Shahid is accountable for analyzing marketing, SEO, growth and dealing with all promotional and media channels.