Black Hat SEO- What it is and why you should not engage in such tactics
If you have a website or have been in the Internet marketing game for a while, you’ve undoubtedly received certain emails from “SEO experts” that promise to boost your search engine rankings to the first page of Google.
Now, if you don’t know much about Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) or Internet Marketing (“IM”) in general, you’ve probably been tempted to give those guys a shot. After all, what could even possibly go wrong?
One of the golden rules of SEO that you should never forget is that it carries no guarantees! So, are those people sending out legitimate-looking emails just bullshitting?
Probably so, because they’re out to make some quick bucks and absolutely do not give a hoot about your website’s safety.
BlackHat SEO is the strategy many of these shady agencies follow to get their clients fast results while putting their entire online presence at risk.
Now, what’s BlackHat SEO, you ask?
Don’t worry; we’ll explain to you what the term means and why you should avoid it at all costs.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Simply put, Blackhat SEO is the term given to a bunch of practices that serves the purpose of manipulating the search engine’s algorithm to gain ranks quickly. These methods usually break or bend the search engine rules to increase the ranking for a particular set of keywords.
Now, as you already know, Google has a strict list of do’s and don’ts they want the webmasters to follow. And among those rules, Blackhat SEO is the most exploited and the most frowned upon even today.
But how do you differentiate between Blackhat SEO and legitimate Whitehat SEO? Simple, all you have to do is look for the following tell-tale signs:
- Keyword stuffing – Involves overloading a web page with a certain keyword, to the point where the content looks spammy. Keyword stuffing used to work in the pre-Penguin era, but doesn’t anymore. Stuffing too many keywords can lead to a huge hit from Google.
- Cloaking links – This is the practice that allows the search engine to see certain elements while they remain invisible from other users. Cloaking links is also a Blackhat SEO strategy, which can get you penalized by Google after their Panda update.
- Links from spammy sites – These are the kind of sites that exist for the sole purpose of posting content with outbound links. There is no real information in these sites, neither is there any theme or niche that the website follows.
- Use of “Spun” articles – This is one of the oldest and worst methods that is usually a hallmark sign of cheap links coming from cheap sites. Don’t go for spun articles, ever.
Why Shouldn’t You Trust Blackhat SEO?
Now that we’ve got the definition and the signs of Blackhat SEO out of the way let’s dive deep into the why you shouldn’t try to Blackhat your way to success.
SEO is a complex and ongoing process
Look, we understand that almost everyone wants to take the easy way out and see results as fast as possible. Unfortunately, SEO doesn’t work that way. Search engine optimization is a highly complex process that requires years to learn and implement.
Just like you cannot cheat your way to become a doctor, lawyer, or an engineer, you cannot become a reliable marketer by depending on blackhat methods. Now, many small businesses and affiliate marketers are quick to turn over to the dark side because they have a low budget.
It’s either that or they don’t know where or how to begin SEO. Our advice to you would be to take time to learn the ropes instead of outsourcing it. Start with on-page optimization and then move on to building links for better rankings. We already told you that “get-rich-quick” schemes are scams – this is another example.
Your ranking doesn’t depend on links alone
You can’t get to the top spot on Google, not sustainably at least, by just building “authoritative links” to your website. Your rankings have as much to do with your competitors as it does with you. You’re not only fighting Google’s algorithm in the process but also your competitor’s SEO strategy.
Even if you think your strategy is far ahead of the game that too cannot guarantee a better search ranking on Google. There are over 200 ranking factors that Google takes into consideration, so at least you have to know a few of them.
- Make sure you have more useful content than your competitors
- A faster loading site will help you a lot
- A few quality backlinks beat spammy links by the hundreds
Blackhat SEO is not sustainable in the long run
Imagine waking up one day to see that the entire web presence of your business is gone! Your search engine rankings have plummeted, the sales have stopped coming in, and you’re losing money fast every hour.
If you want your business to make money and keep making you money, you have to think of the long term. And you cannot do that by manipulating search engine’s algorithm. One update from Google could mean the doom for your website.
Blackhat SEO is expensive!
Another reason you should not walk down the dark path is that Blackhat SEO tends to be expensive. Whitehat SEO is most of the time free because you are working to earn your rankings. Sure, you may have to spend some time, but think of it as an investment in your business.
Instead of paying for expensive PBN links, spend time to get to know other bloggers in your niche and connect with them without any expectations. Links come easy when you have developed a relationship with people in your niche.
Is White Hat The Way To Go?
Oh absolutely! No matter what kind of business you are in, make sure to not engage in questionable SEO tactics to gain an unfair advantage. Your competitors won’t like it; neither will the big daddy Google. Either use a white hat agency or learn the tricks of trade yourself.
You’ll be thanking yourself later on when your competitors who gained popularity by using Blackhat methods fall off the Google index.