By: Karli Willden
There is a right way and a wrong way to improve your website’s presence through search engine optimization. Everyone wants their website to be ranked at the top of the search engine results page to increase traffic to their website, build brand awareness and have more website conversions. Google has an algorithm which determines the website’s rankings on the search engine. The driving force and purpose behind this algorithm is to improve the user experience of the search engine, by ranking websites according to their quality, relevance and helpfulness to search engine users. By properly optimizing your website to create a better user experience, you are applying “White Hat” SEO techniques to rise in the ranks of the search engine. Some Internet marketers falsely conclude it does not matter how you get the website ranking results as long as you get them. These Internet marketers apply what is called “Black Hat” Seo techniques.
Black Hat Mentality
“Black Hat” is a reference used to describe shady SEO techniques and practices. Black Hat SEO techniques are used by Internet marketers trying to outwit Google by manipulating its algorithm. Sounds like a dumb idea, doesn’t it? One crowning characteristic of those using Black Hat techniques is they use hazardous shortcuts to achieve quick rankings. What is not realized by those using these “shortcuts” is that these results do not last and are more harmful to their website rankings than anything else. Google’s algorithm is meant to establish a standard for websites to improve the user experience on the search engine. Trying to fight against the algorithm will only hurt your website’s rankings as a whole.
Focusing on Search Engine, Instead of Users
One of the biggest flaws of using Black Hat SEO techniques is trying to optimize your website for the search engine instead of your website users. In order to gain these quick rankings, these Internet marketers will use keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages and more to get the results they want without actually producing quality. Manipulating your website to achieve higher search engine results will not get you far in the long run. Google’s algorithm will detect your Black Hat tactics and penalize your website’s rankings. It will take more time and effort trying to correct these techniques after they are caught.
Most Common Black Hat SEO Techniques:
- Keyword Stuffing
- Invisible Text
- Adding Unrelated Keywords to Content
- Doorway Pages
- Out-of-Control Link Building
Black Hat Tactics Explained
Keyword Stuffing: This Black Hat technique is when Internet marketers repeatedly cram lots of keywords on the website page, so their website can be indexed higher on the search engine for those keywords. A problem with this is often times the content begins to lose value because it is harder to understand. Example: Top web development company offering web development services cannot be matched by other web development companies offering web development services. Website content should be written for users, not search engines.
Invisible Text: Another method of keyword stuffing involves inserting keywords into a website page using invisible text. This is done by changing the color of the text to make it the same as the background color, making it invisible to the users, yet still crawlable, to help them rank better on the search engines. Example: ( )
Unrelated Keywords: Adding unrelated keywords to the content is an attempt to maximize on keyword usage, but is misleading to both the search engine and the user when he/she does not find the information they were looking for. Example: Article about web development has unrelated keywords such as Tony the Tiger repeated several times.
Poor Linking Techniques: Websites seeking to increase their domain authority by increasing their backlinks may resort to accumulating all sorts of links which are both unnatural and spammy.
Door Pages: Coding your website in such a way to hide from Google what content your users are actually seeing. Another two-faced Black Hat scheme to trick Google and its crawlers.
White Hat SEO Techniques
White Hat techniques are the proper way to optimize a page for the search engine, which focuses on the website users as the number one priority. Producing high quality, transparent content and coding on the page will increase the value of your website to users. White Hat SEO techniques involve properly optimizing your website for user experience, without trying to cheat the search engine. Such White Hat SEO techniques involve adding helpful meta descriptions, title tags, alt tags, developing high quality content, improving website speed and usability, etc.
All too many companies claim they always put the customers first, but when it comes to their website rankings, it seems many companies will do anything to get ahead at the expense of the user. Taking the wrong approach to SEO can not only hurt your rankings, but could risk your website being completely removed from Google’s index. This would be detrimental for your business's website to get wiped from Google’s Index.
Proper search engine optimization takes time and should be done the right way, or else there are consequences ultimately tied to your website’s conversions. If you are trying to help increase your website rankings, learn from the search engine optimizers who thought Black Hat SEO techniques would help them get ahead, but fell flat on their face. After all, Google is not stupid.