These days, Black Hat SEO can have the effect of pushing your content into a black hole of the internet, effectively making it non-existent.
“Black Hat” search engine optimization (SEO) is a term used to refer to techniques, or companies, that use tactics to deceive search engines in order to push search rankings higher (even if only temporarily).
“White Hat” SEO refers to strategies that make web pages more friendly to search engines, which results in higher placement for the same pages.
To emphasize the difference between the two, Black Hat tactics are deceptive to search engines and White Hat is not.
Although in reality there are some gray areas, the key point of deception is a good yardstick for differentiating tactics.
Oh! Another important element is that, in the long run, deceiving a search engine can result in greatly reduced search rankings, or worse yet, such a website can be banned entirely and not show up at all in search listings.
Here are a few examples of Black Hat strategies:
- Keyword Stuffing, or jamming too many keywords into your web pages, It’s akin to spamming the search engines. In the long past this used to be a way to generate higher rankings. However, a page that contains too many of the same repeated words (or phrases) is just unnatural to read for humans. In other words, it provides a poor user experience for the actual visitors, so search engines seek to penalize these kinds of pages.
- Hidden Keywords is a variation of keyword stuffing, except that, in this case, the repetitive keywords are rendered the same color as the background. This means actual people do not see all the repeated words, but the search engines do. In fact, some strategies add keywords that have nothing to do with their site, which deceives the search engines into thinking the pages are about something they are not. This can not only be penalized by the search engines when detected, but it’s not even an effective tactic anymore. (And modern search engines can readily detect it anyway).
- Auto-link building. Incoming links are an important component of SEO. So much so, that ways to generate more incoming links have been developed. However, Google’s search engine can detect unnatural linking patterns and variations of auto-link-building. As a noteworthy example, if overnight your site has received thousands of extra links it will make your entire site suspect and subject to penalty.
These are only a few Black Hat tactics, but they serve as illustrations of the idea. Nowadays, generating high search rankings is much more challenging than the past. Regardless, focusing on the basics of “White Hat” SEO can help push your content higher in the search rankings, even though it may not happen overnight.
Avid hiker, bicyclist, motorcyclist, long-time seasoned advertising pro and taste-tester of too much organic dark chocolate. Founder of Skyworks Marketing, Nonprofit Fire and Founder/Producer of local cable TV series Our Ventura TV. One career highlight was working on a small team that built a business from nothing to over $100 Million in 3 years.