Black Hat SEO is a set of page optimization strategies with the goal of getting better search engine rankings in a fast, but ethically questionable way. Practices like cloaking, keyword stuffing, and comment spam are the main ways to black hat.
One of them is called Black Hat SEO, a set of techniques designed to optimize a page in search engines, but with very questionable methods and disapproved by Google itself. Since these actions follow the opposite path to what best practices indicate of SEO .
So how about you read this entire article on the subject and make sure you don’t use any of these practices in the future? In this post we will address the following topics.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO is a set of actions to fool Google’s algorithms in search of a better ranking.
In order to generate organic traffic and get a better position in the SERPs , SEO techniques are widely used, however, there are questionable, and ineffective long-term, ways to achieve this.
Using the right keywords, increasing a page’s authority, and efficient link building make a page rank among the top results in a search engine. But some people circumvent this system and adopt deceptive practices to achieve the same goal.
Black Hat SEO is the opposite of what Google recommends, mainly when it comes to quality content and a positive user experience . These techniques exclusively target the top of the search results, getting your pages into the top positions at all costs, with little or no planning.
Black Hat SEO represents any action that aims to manipulate the rules and best practices stipulated by Google, or even Bing , in pursuit of better ranking. The results can be relevant and often come quickly, however the price to pay is high and can definitely jeopardize all your marketing efforts.
What is the difference between White, Gray and Black Hat SEO?
Now you know what it is, but maybe you still don’t understand the reason for that name, right? The Black Hat is a reference to western movies of the past, in which villains were often identified by the color of their hat, while the “good guys” wore the white headgear.
This idea, however, was not restricted to black and white movies of the past and is also used within Digital Marketing. Therefore, in addition to the Black Hat SEO, there is also the White Hat and the Gray Hat, that is, the white hat and the gray hat. You already know the first term, but how about learning more about the other two?
White Hat SEO
Practices that seek to optimize a page’s performance in accordance with Google’s guidelines and rules are considered White Hat SEO. That is, those that put the user first, such as producing relevant content on blogs, participating in social networks and even adopting a responsive design .
The White Hat, therefore, belongs to the “good guys” who try to improve the performance and ranking of their pages in the correct way, following the rules of the game and without harming any of their competitors. Simply offering the best possible user experience within your Marketing plan.
Gray Hat SEO
Have you ever heard of the term gray area ? It occurs when a situation or a certain action is not expressly bad or good, it is something doubtful. Gray Hat SEO, therefore, occurs when a practice for performance optimization is not considered good, but cannot be defined as bad either.
It represents a plan that usually follows the best SEO practices, but ends up using Black Hat in specific situations, in search of a faster result. Very common, for example, when we talk about sending email marketing without receiving permission or commenting on publications thinking about link building.
Why not do Black Hat?
The first reason for not using Black Hat SEO within your Content Marketing strategy is simple: you are not thinking about the user, that is, you are not producing material that is relevant to your buyer person. In this way, you end up being unfair to who you want to convince to become your consumer.
Also, you are not being honest with your competitors either. Of course, everyone competes for the attention and resources of the users, however, it is necessary to play fair and try to outdo the other competitors with honest techniques and, above all, by offering the lead a higher quality service and/or product. .
Black Hat SEO can even generate returns quickly, for example, by placing your brand among the first results in a search, however, it does not do so by offering relevant content to its users. Which directly implies the timeline: it works in the short term and has little relevance in the medium and long term.
Therefore, it becomes unfeasible to plan solid actions aimed at, for example, customer loyalty .
You can even generate more traffic, attracting visitors because of your position, but you can’t build a strong relationship with users, who tend not to continue on a page after realizing that the content is not as relevant. Consequently, the bounce rate tends to increase.
Consider the following example: you click on a page precisely because it appears among the first results; you access it and you find repeated keywords and content that is not relevant or attractive. What are you doing? You leave this site immediately. Yes, the most popular search engine in the world does not condone this type of practice and, when it identifies it, it can penalize you, harming all your Digital Marketing planning and actions at once.
How does Google penalize Black Hat SEO?
The penalties that Google can apply vary in weight. However, punishments usually involve:
- a drop in the ranking positions;
- reduction of PageRank ;
- reduced organic search traffic;
- restriction on the placement of new content and publications;
- In addition to punishments, there is also the possibility of expulsion.
To make it even easier to understand how Google works in these cases and how the dreaded “manual actions” work, check out this video from Google Webmasters .
If you have suffered some punishment that you consider unfair, the only alternative will be to optimize the site with quality content and be attentive to the changes you make.
Therefore, Google will remove the page from its list, considering that it does not normally use Black Hat practices, since it considers the site as a whole.
That is, if there is not a significant number of irregularities, Google recognizes that it was a mistake and goes back. Furthermore, the only alternative to reversing a penalty is to try to identify the problems and correct them immediately.
What are the main techniques used?
Before avoiding a practice or action, the first step is to know it. That is why we have separated the main Black Hat SEO techniques so that you know exactly what not to do when optimizing pages . Get to know them below!
Doorway Pages / Entry Pages
They are pages that are characterized by using optimized keywords solely to ensure good positioning. When the victim accesses the page, they are automatically redirected to another page with malicious content.
Cloaking / Undercover
It is a similar tactic to the one mentioned above, however, in this case, the direct target is not the users, but rather the bots, highlighted in the third topic.
Sites are optimized to present content to indexers that is different from the one that will be presented to the user, that is, for search engines it is something nice and for users it is a nuisance.
A structure is formed consisting of a main site, the one that is intended to be accessed, and other sites created only to direct the user to the main site. For example, create the main site (A), some sites with links pointing to main (B), sites pointing to B (C), etc.
With this, the traffic generated will always be constant so that the main site is eminent, which weighs heavily on Google’s criteria, making the main site always get a great position in the ranking.
Sneaky Redirects / Furtive redirects
The use of this strategy consists of making the search engines indicate that the page has a certain content, but the user finds a very different one.
There are also cases where a desktop user is redirected to a normal page and a mobile user is redirected to a spam page.
Link Farms / Domain Linking
These are websites whose contents are nothing more than links to other pages, since backlinks , in theory, can increase the relevance of your site.
Instead of wasting time doing this, it is much better to produce relevant content and even invest, for example, in Guest Posts .
The keywords used in the optimization are highly relevant, but the content of the page is not consistent. These keywords range from celebrity names to internet memes.
Identifying this is very easy, since it is not necessary to read much of the content to see that the words are simply embedded in the text without the slightest sense. They are often found on the baseboards, and by the way, it is very easy to find them.
Spam in comments
How many times have you seen comments repeated over and over again on any of the many social networks, blogs or pages? This is good for generating backlinks, posting automatically, but is of little help, for example, in building page authority.
Many people try to trick Google with hidden content, using the font in size 0 or the same color as the background, making it not appear to the user when accessing the site, however, being counted by search engines.
The copying of content via the Internet, in addition to being morally questionable, is easily identifiable by Google and punishable if content from other sites is published on your pages repeatedly.
This technique ends up being ineffective, since the search engine ends up giving priority to the oldest publication in its ranking.
This option ends up leaving the digital realm a bit and can also be done in the physical world. Paying a portal to place your link in its content, for example, is viewed negatively by Google. However, it is somewhat more difficult to detect, but it is possible by analyzing the meaning of that link.
Alternatives to Black Hat SEO that really generate results
Black Hat SEO can hurt the performance of your pages, and that’s definitely not what you want, is it? That is why we have listed three alternatives to the Black Hat method so that you can generate good results by playing fair. Check them out below!
Mobile friendly / Compatible with mobile devices
Access through mobile devices is increasingly common today and it is necessary to think about the users who access your pages through smartphones and tablets. So make sure your page is mobile friendly and has a responsive design , which Google values highly.
Creativity in the choice of keywords
Using the right keywords can also help your rankings. One piece of advice is to be aware of the “related searches” that Google itself provides at the end of any search. There, you can identify possible terms to be used on your blog or website, for example.
Invest in meta descriptions
It is not enough to position yourself well, you have to convince the user to click on your page and an excellent way to do it is through the Meta Description. With it, you have one more opportunity to show the visitor that your page has the content offered and increase the chances of receiving a click.
Black Hat SEO, therefore, even manages to generate positive results for one page, however, the quality of what is obtained is far from ideal, not guaranteeing the real efficiency of these achievements. Furthermore, these are practices that can hurt your performance in the long run and even kill your website’s chances of appearing on Google.
In this article, we talk about some of the Black Hat SEO practices that you should avoid, but we will not only tell you the things that you should not do, we have also separated some insurmountable tips that will help you increase the performance of your pages. Read our post How to optimize your content for SEO and continue to evolve!