It is not rocket science to know that SEO influences search engine rankings. And these in turn influences how web pages are displayed in search results.
If you would like to know how the optimization of web pages are done to rank higher in search results, the approved method for carrying these out is referred to as ‘White Hat SEO’.
However, there are other methods which might seem productive in the beginning, but fizzle out eventually, in the long run. These are referred to as ‘Black Hat SEO’.
Black Hat SEO: Why It Doesn’t Work
For the newbie reading this or you aren’t sure which tactic your SEO company is using, Black Hat SEO tactics refer to techniques used to fool or manipulate the algorithm used by search engines to rank web pages, to favor the web page or website in question, so it ranks higher in search results.
Black Hat SEO targets manipulating the search engines, rather than creating high-value content for the user.
Search engines focus on providing great user experience by ensuring that when a search is carried out, the most relevant results to that search are higher up on the search rankings and thus easier for the user to access them.
These they carry out by scouring web pages to determine the most relevant, high quality content that would provide the most benefit to the user, and display these accordingly, in search results.
So if you are not certain of the SEO tactics you are using, or your digital marketing company is implementing, the examples below explain Black Hat SEO tactics, and why these do not work anymore.
1) Keyword duplicating
If you recall how in The Prestige, the Tesla replicating machine kept duplicating whatever was placed inside it? The keyword duplicating tactic follows the same concept.
One of the ways search engines determine relevant results to display, when web searches are carried out, is by matching keywords on webpages with keywords used in the search. Most likely, the more of such keywords that are available on a web page, the chances of gaining a higher ranking in search results.
Keyword duplicating or ‘keyword stuffing’ simply aims to include more of such keywords on the web page, without any consideration to relevance to the eventual visitor of that page.
Consider the sentences below:
Our paper writing company is the best among dissertation writing services. If you use the services of our term paper writing company, while observing how well-grounded we are in dissertation topic ideas, you would also realize that we are the best term paper writing company. So when you want to select a paper writing company, consider our company as the best term paper writing company.
According to its search guidelines, these tactics are frowned upon by Google, and would result in a loss in the search ranking of the website.
2) Link purchasing or farming
The more links on websites that are linked to your web page, the more it is assumed by search engines that your web page contains high quality, ‘need to be shared’ content; thus the web page is automatically ranked higher in search rankings.
These links can be bought or placed on websites which do not provide any content to their users, but are primarily for this purpose. Also, it could be an innocent gesture between you and a friend or associate, where you help each other rank higher by strategically placing links to each other’s sites in your web content.
Similar to how you receive unwanted mails, and these go into your ‘Spam folder’, this is considered as ‘spamming’ by search engines, and not only would you have to get the website cleaned, and submitted for review, it would result in a significant drop in your page ranking.
3) Blog, Forum, Social Media Comment Spamming
Have you come across a comment on a blog in which the visitor makes a comment, and then posts a link to another site? Or you have visited one of the major forums, i.e. Quora, Reddit, etc. or on social media, where users respond to inquiries and post links to sites?
This is an example of the above technique.
While some comments can be relevant to the content on a page, however if comments are made solely to paste a link, so as to generate links in several places (similar to the example above), this is classified as spamming, and not looked upon lightly by the major search engines.
4) Using invisible text
Another favorite Black Hat SEO technique, applying invisible text, involves placing text, preferably, at the bottom of the page that matches the color of the background in which the text would be placed.
For example, if an SEO tactic is being used to optimize a website advertising online jobs for students, examples of invisible text at the bottom of the page could be job related keywords, so as to rank higher in searches.
Though readers do not see the keywords, search engine spiders see them, and this might result in a higher search engine ranking.
However, search engine spiders i.e. Google’s are so advanced that they can immediately recognize words that are intended for this purpose.
5) Duplicating a high-ranking page
This technique involves duplicating pages on the website that rank highly in search results. Through the duplication of these pages, search engines identify with the web page more, and place them at the top of page rankings.
The aim of this technique is to push similar content websites further below the search results.
However, algorithm on search engines can easily compare pages, and detect the similarity in the pages. This method could result in being flagged by Google and result in a ban or a complete removal of website in search index.
6) Gateway pages
These are HTML pages created to generate keywords or phrases that would be identified by the search engines. These pages could exist on the default website or could be hosted on some other site.
These web pages are basically targeted at the search engines. The aim of these web pages is to increase the number of keywords associated with the web page to be optimized, however, on recognition of this act, the web page (and website) could be removed from the search index, and would no longer be available in search results.
The above are examples of Black Hat SEO techniques. These have been recognized to work, to increase the optimized page rankings within a short notice, but in the long run, result in penalties that do not make their adoption a productive venture.
There are a lot of innovative, legitimate and effective White Hat SEO techniques you can use to rank higher on the search engines. And as usual, in your web marketing strategy, Content is King.
Do not forget that visitors to your page are users, or customers you would want to be retaining for the lifespan of your website or business. And much longer.
Thus, it is your commitment to provide them with quality content that they find useful. And they’ll reward you with clicks, ‘links’ and ‘shares’, thus raising your website profile in the search engine rankings.