Back in the old days, it is possible to fool or spam the search engine using black hat techniques so that your website or page will get high rankings in the search results.
Thankfully, Google (and other search engines as well) are frequently updating their algorithm to penalize spammers.
Spammers do deserve the penalty. If you really think about it, why not?
They produce spammy content that provides no value to the readers while trying to monetize their site. By doing so, they are also blocking the rights of high value, high quality websites to be displayed by the search engine to its visitors.
What they’re doing is unethical and illegal at best and you should avoid spamming at all cost.
Never compromise your integrity and principles so that you can earn high rankings in the search engine. Remember that traffic is not the only thing that matters, but conversions as well.
Think about it. If you get many traffic by ranking high in the search engine, but you get 0 conversions because your content sucks, how much do you really make? $0. No profits. Nada.
Not only yo won’t make any profit, but you won’t get any respect from the search engine either if you spam. There will be greater risks involved such as your site can be penalized or even de-indexed from Google. Never sacrifice a long term goal (high, consistent rankings) for a short term one (spammy, quick fix manipulation for high rankings).
Now we know that spamming and black hat techniques can do real damage to your site, but what can be considered spamming or black hat techniques?
Below are the lists of 6 black hat techniques that you should definitely avoid when doing SEO.
6 Unethical and Illegal Black Hat SEO Techniques
1. Keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing simply means repeatedly using the exact keywords in different META tags (title, descriptions, keywords) and other elements in the page (h1, h2, h3, content, etc.).
The intention is to make the search engine believes that your page has the most relevant content based on the amount of exact keywords that you put on the page. This used to work in the past when the search engines were at the infancy stage but doing this can get your site penalized very quickly nowadays.
2. Hidden links or texts. Search engines are text driven. That is, they scan the texts on the entire page to determine the pages’ content and rankings.
Black hat SEO practitioners used to insert invisible links and texts that are not recognizable by human but can be picked up by the search engines. For instance, they usually put white text with a white background or links with black font and no underline. By doing this in conjunction with keyword stuffing can fool the search engine that your page has the best content in the past. However, this technique is no longer working and you should avoid doing this otherwise you can be de-indexed by Google.
3. Mirror websites, also known as “Sybil Attack”. This means creating several websites with the same, exact contents but different domain names and URLs, all linking to one another. Doing this can fool the search engine that your content is highly relevant because there are other sites are syndicating it but once Google figure it out (which will be pretty quick), ALL of your sites will be de-indexed.
4. Doorway pages. These are pages with poor quality that are written solely for the purpose of ranking high in the search engine for the selected keywords. These pages do not affect the readers but they are there just for the sake of feeding the search engine robots. Sometimes, these pages can contain copied content from other sites and contain only links to the main page with no other navigation menu. They can be put on the same or other server as well.
Google seems to be more and more clever in detecting semantics nowadays and the concept of doorway pages are long gone. Don’t try to fool them with this shady technique.
5. Cloaking. Cloaking simply means delivering different pages for search engine robots and human visitors. The site owner construct their servers so that it can identify IP addresses of the spiders and provide them with content rich, optimized web pages and at the same time displaying different content when accessed by human visitors.
This is considered black hat techniques and Google made it clear on their quality guidelines that they will not tolerate cloaking.
6. Link farms. By now you should realize that only one thing matters in terms of off page SEO and that is links. Links act like a vote to your site. The sites with more high quality, relevant links will win the popularity contest on the search engines. Creating link farms simply means putting up 50, 100 or even more links on one page going to different websites that have no relevance to your content.
Search engines are aware that if you have too many links on one page, you won’t deliver good quality content to your visitors and regard the technique as spamming.
What to Do Then?
By now you are already familiar with the 6 black hat techniques that you should avoid doing on your site. However, they are not the comprehensive lists of spamming and black hat techniques.
It’s impossible to discuss them one by one in this post but to make your life easier, I’d just throw this one general rule to follow when you’re confused: follow your gut instinct. If you feel the technique is shady and provides no value to your readers, then don’t do it!
Some people might argue with me that they can achieve high rankings by doing some or all of the above techniques. However, I can guarantee that their success will only be temporary. Google and other search engines are cracking down spammers and black hat SEO practitioners faster than you can think of nowadays.
They’ll be penalized, or even worse de-indexed and their site will have no second chance of getting back in any Google search results page.
Always be on the safe side. Write excellent, valuable content that your readers will share and that search engine loves.
You’ll be rewarded with high, consistent rankings and profits.