SEO is a common term these days. Businesses are becoming more and more aware of this outstanding way to make a name for themselves and compete with the accomplished contemporaries. Search Engine Optimization has been there in the business for quite a long time and it seems to be staying more for good. At the moment millions of businesses invest in SEO just because of the fact that they would get myriads of visitors, queries and sales if their website ranks at the top of Google SERP. However, in doing so, people often take shortcuts and that’s where it goes wrong.
The idea of cheating and taking shortcuts have always attracted people for their quick results. But what people do not understand is that these shortcuts and cheating will always end up harming them in the long run. Well, SEO is no different!
SEO takes time to show the results you desire and people often get tired of those waiting. Sometimes they even don’t want to go through a long procedure from the very beginning. Thus, they look for some ways to rank their websites quickly. And guess what! They find some!
So, you wonder how is it possible that you are working day and night for months and someone is ranking his/her website within 1-2 months of mere time! So, you take suggestions and follow the same process that you feel is ‘WAY MORE FRUITFUL’.
But be aware: that can be a black hat SEO practice!
Black Hat SEO may seem fascinating at the start but is capable of damaging (if not destroying) your website and its credibility to rank on Google. Sometimes, websites even get banned by search engines for excessive black hat SEO.
What! So, is there no hope for my website?
Worry not! Even if you have done some Black Hat SEO (knowingly or unknowingly), there are some ways to defend your website and get rid of the Black Hat impact of those deeds. In this article, we are going to discuss that.
What is Black Hat SEO?
We all play by the rules set by search engines. We publish content, optimize it with different keywords, promote it on social media platforms, create backlinks for it, and whatnot!
But some people may play dirty to win the race way faster in some impossible way. They may create thousands of links, put loads of keywords in the content, etc. Whether it’s you, performing black hat SEO knowingly or unknowingly, your website may suffer for it.
That is the reason why you should always prevent such malicious practice that can dig a grave for your site. If you are aware enough, you can prevent your website from being caught by the malpractice.
We, at Intlum, often get a lot of projects where the first thing we need to do is finding out whether any Black Hat SEO has been performed.
So, it’s always a safe game to hire an SEO expert to know about any presence of Black Hat SEO on your website.
Having said that, we understand that you may be keen to know about some techniques to defend your website against the Black Hat SEO. So, here we are, exploring every nook and cranny of Black Hat SEO and explaining the possible way out.
What are the Black Hat SEO Techniques?
Being unethical with the SEO strategy is something called Black Hat SEO. So, there can be a lot of things that can make your approach unethical in the eyes of Google and other search engines. As we said earlier, some do it knowingly (to rank faster) and some do unknowingly! But whether you have it in your conscience or not, you have to be cautious to defend your website from being penalized.
Stuffing keyword in content seems to be an eternal black hat SEO technique. However, at the very initial stage of SEO, there was nothing called keyword stuffing. It seemed normal to website owners. They used to put as many keywords as possible in the content and based on that, their website ranked. But not surprisingly, the content quality used to be devastated.
Since Google puts users at its first priority, they made changes in their ranking algorithm that clearly mentioned about prohibiting keyword stuffing in the content and make content fairly readable. Content quality is, now, one of the most important ranking factors of Google.
Over-Optimization of ALT Description
Alt tags are used to describe the images, used in the website. Search Engine bots cannot ‘see’ images like a human so they cannot understand the subject of an image. That is the reason why ALT descriptions should be provided for each and every image used in a website.
While image search has been increased over the years, people are trying to get their website images ranked too! For that very reason, ALT descriptions are optimized these days in order to get them ranked on the top page of Google and other search engines. But when you over-optimize your ALT description by stuffing lots of keywords in them, you repeat the same mistake of forcefully ranking your image instead of describing it. That’s when it becomes a black hat technique.
In a nutshell, you should focus on describing an image instead of over-optimizing it with keywords.
Backlinks were, are, and will be one of the deciding factors for ranking on search engines, without any doubt. Thus, creating a good link profile is something that you should always eye on. However, the major importance of backlinks is one of the prime reasons why there are a lot of black hat SEO techniques being invented to manipulate the ranking.
One of the most practiced techniques among them is over-optimizing the backlinks. Basically, when you create backlinks on a large quantity on irrelevant and low-quality websites. That’s when Google feels that you are just trying to increase your backlink count and you are not focusing on relevance and quality.
So, in order to create a link profile that actually pays, you need to check the DA (Domain Authority) and Trust Flow of the websites along with its niche.
Header Tag Over-Optimization
In case, you’re not sure about what header tags are, let us explain in brief. Header tags are the HTML tags that are used to make headings. There are six header tags from H1 to H6. Header Tags influence on-site SEO and that’s where many webmasters make a mistake.
From H1 to H6 the influence of these header tags on ranking goes according to the numeric values, which means the H1 is the most influential and the H6 is the least. For that very reason, webmasters often create a lot of H1 and H2 tags on a single page they want to rank.
But let us warn you, it is malpractice and it comes under the Black Hat SEO strategy. The use of multiple H1 is prohibited as per Google ranking algorithm. In fact, there should be only one H1 tag on a single webpage whereas the H2 can be a little more according to the word count of that particular page content and so on…
So, if you think that you can rank your page by using multiple H tags, you are living in dreamland from where you will wake up and find your website penalized.
Well, this black hat SEO technique should be known to all. Copying content is one of the most fundamental aspects of getting penalized. When you copy content from one source and publish it on your site, that makes it duplicate and that also makes its user-experience zero. Well, that’s not the only thing: when content is duplicated, the search engine goes through a hard time to find the original one to show on the search result.
So, Google and other search engines are quite strict about the content duplication. If they find out duplicate content on your website, your ranking will fall and your website is going to be penalized in a blink of an eye.
If you don’t want to leave the slightest scope for duplicate content on your site, you may use a plagiarism checker to find out whether there’s any duplication in your content.
Content automation has been in the industry for quite a long time to leverage the people who are always looking for an easy way out. Quite evident from the name, Content automation process employs scripts and tools for content generation without any human effort. So, publishing the automated content takes almost no time.
But do you wonder how that automated content will be? Some content that has no human effort can never sound good and in this case, there is no exception. Those automated contents have no headers, images, and paragraph breaks. Also, the content has lots of keywords stuffed without making any kind of sense.
Many people may find this idea outstanding as this does not involve much time. But this is a short term thing. And in the long term, it will devastate your website as Google does not prefer auto-generated content at any cost. And your website will not only lose its ranking but may also get blacklisted.
Article Spinning is something like rewriting an article to kill two birds with one stone. You get a new article and that is not copied! However, as we have been screaming (and many others) about the role of user experience in SEO, that gets hampered. So, this is one of such black hat SEO techniques that seem efficient at first but drown your ship without letting you know!
Basically, you can do the spinning either manually or automatically. When it comes to manually, you rewrite an entire article by twisting words to avoid the plagiarism issue. But that does not have any new information to offer to the users. So, that’s a waste.
On the other hand, if we talk about the automated article spinning tools you find here and there, those are even more dangerous! Since this is a machine, that too, not much advanced in terms of AI, it does not understand the context. So, these tools replace a lot of words with such meanings that are simply meaningless and sound foolish! So, on top of repeating the information, you are also diminishing the article quality (what’s left).
Whoever invented cloaking, the person was surely a genius freak! Well, genius because this is one of the smartest black hat SEO techniques and freak because it’s highly risky and mischievous.
Cloaking is the practice of creating two sets of content: one is for the human readers to read and the other one is for the search engine bots to crawl. So, when someone uses the cloaking technique, he/she can write absolutely meaningless content for the search bot, keeping it highly keyword-optimized and on the other hand, they may keep no keyword for the content, made for users in order to maintain impeccable readability!
Well, that’s an impressive technique but it violates Google algorithm. So, whenever you get caught, you get penalized!
The List Will Go on…
If you think that these are the only black hat SEO techniques that are there in the market, you are absolutely wrong! There are plenty of other black hat techniques that can ruin your website and SEO. Well, we will keep updating the article with new techniques. Let us know whether you have enjoyed reading this article. Being a reputed SEO agency in Kolkata, Intlum’s SEO experts would always help you to resolve any query you have.