What is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is a series of unethical technique to boost the ranking of a website on Google Search Engine Ranking page. It is a trick employed to make the website appear valuable to search engine crawlers and spiders, which in reality is far from the truth. An effective SEO is to conform to the guideline of the target search engine, enhance user experience through amazing content, appropriate keyword placement and effective use of meta-tags.
Black hat SEO works in contrary to this principle by using keyword stuffing, incorporating invisible text and relying on doorway pages. Generally speaking, black hat SEO circumvents search engine rules and regulation, provides a tacky user experience and employees unethical strategy to cheat the SEO system by tricking search engine crawlers, bots and spiders. To find a complete list of Black hat SEO techniques that attempts to cheat search algorithm, click here.
How was Black hat SEO born?
With the internet age, came several technological start-ups that ushered the new face of modern civilization. Because of them our world is intricately connected and the information is one of the most vital resources available today.
Search engines were formed to provide compartmentalized and relevant information within the blink of an eye. The birth of SEO took place which laid down the guidelines for becoming a top ranking website for searches/queries made by the user.
As with any business, the owner expects faster and fatter cash-flow; because of his expectation, if not greed, a similar analogy has been applied in the world of SEO. Black hat SEO was the quick fix, the magical pill for website owners, who wanted to rank their website at the highest, faster, but without investing time or resources in it.
But my consultant tells me he can jump my ranking in matter of days, is this possible?
The World Wide Web filled with billions of website and at least thousands, if not millions in every most popular niches. Some of the common niches for website that has a lot of competition are Dating, Self-help, Food, Travel, Lifestyle etc.
Moreover it is becoming increasingly easy to create a website from scratch, because of the fall in the cost of acquiring a domain name, a host service and designing a website. As a result, it is definitely difficult and time consuming to put a newly launched website above the well-known and popular domain.
Although an effective, well executed SEO strategy can enhance the visibility of the website, it is safer to expect a 4-6 months of turn-around time. Professionals who overlook the importance of quality content, valuable & relevant back-links, accurate meta-tags etc which offers unique user experience rather focussing purely on quick results are most likely to be employing black hat SEO.
Hence, it is essential that you ask questions relating to an intrinsic value of the back-links associated with your website. You can assess the strategy by enquiring about the exact results such as time-duration or the exact movement in the rank page i.e incremental or exponential!
For anyone who is committed to optimize and elevate you the ranking on your site within weeks or months probably will be employing Black Hat SEO. The price you pay for it is a loss in quality, poor branding and the risk of being penalized by the search engines.
How do search engine penalize websites that uses black hat SEO?
With any open market, there are regulators to ensure that the market does not corrupt and tank due to malpractices. Similarly, google monitors and keeps a check on websites in order to provide a level playing field for every website.
If it detects a website that uses unethical means to climb to the top, this is arbitrary and unfair to the competitors who are providing real value to its users. Hence, by disincentivizing websites from breaching fair guidelines, most of the malpractices are prevented before it occurs.
Google uses harsh measure by de-ranking the website potentially pushing it to the end of Search Engine Ranking Page. In few cases, Google has completely deindexed websites that deployed Black hat SEO techniques.
Trolling motors lost 80% of their traffic i.e 800 visitors out of 1000 visitors because of Black Hat SEO.
Google has algorithm and set of codes that determines if a site is exercising unsound SEO practices.
Moreover recently, the effort of search engines in finding whether or not websites are using black seo techniques has increased.
However, if you, as a person wish to identify whether your competitors are operating on similar principles, there are paid tools and few subtle hints that if carefully observed, could help you confirm your suspicion.
Easily, the best method to identify this, by analysing the back-link profile of a website using tools like Ahrefs, open site explorer. If most of the backlinks come from an irrelevant source, then it may be a sign of poor-quality and fabricated backlinks.
Certain redundant methods like right-clicking on a web-page and hitting select all, reveals hidden text, that are employed to deceive both bots and users.
Is it smarter to mix white and black hat SEO for optimum impact?
With loads of information, misinformation and ill-advice there are lots of misguided website owners who fall for the short-term efficacy of black hat SEO. It is a dream, a wish for any business or website owner to be on the top of SERP, and not giving in to the temptations available becomes difficult, if not impossible.
You may have witnessed certain sites take off to the top on the search engine ranking page, but most of us overlook the rate and depth of failure attached to this unethical approach.
BMW, JC Penney, Forbes, Newsday and Overstock were swept by Google.
Keep in mind that using a combination of black hat seo with white, is same as deploying a strategy solely based on black hat SEO and the repercussion for both, is the same. Therefore, never opt for any unethical practice despite how attractive it may sound.
Do not confuse ingenuity with dubiousness
There are lots of misconception about the legitimacy of a SEO technique, and due to pronounced misinformation, some of the black hat SEO strategy has been misinterpreted as an effective secret method of branding and marketing.
Sites like WordPress, BBC, Rap genius, you heard right fell into the obnoxious trap of Black hat SEO.
Creatively mastering SEO, utilizing quality and relevant back-links with out-of-the-box on-site optimization must never be confused with unethical practise as the line between the two are clearly demarcated.
Seo and Sem strategy should be creative in order to guarantee good results and ROI, but an Seo expert must always study and be wary of legitimacy of the technique he employs.