There are two techniques, aptly named black hat SEO techniques and white hat SEO techniques, both of which have the common desire to improve website visibility, but there is a huge contrast in the two methods.
Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only Search Engine tricks that need to keep changing when the algorithms change. ~ Jill Whalen
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for brevity, is one of the effective and ingenious ways to get people to know about your business. However, there are many types of SEO techniques--some of them better than the others, and some of them techniques you should never use.
If you are a reputable SEO company, you would endeavor to use only white hat SEO techniques such as providing your users with quality content that is not only accurate but relevant and well-organized as well. Excellent and effective SEO technique comes with the usage of relevant keywords in the title text and anchor text of inbound and internal links.
Black hat SEO techniques, on the other hand, are a range of deceptive and shady set of practices. They might provide you with results, but these results are short-term and would more often than not degrade the user experience. SEO specialists who wish to cut corners and find a faster way to make cash usually utilize this technique to the detriment of their reputations.
But, what exactly are these black hat SEO techniques? Here are some of the most common of them so that you would know which SEO techniques you should avoid.
7 Black Hat SEO Techniques You Should Avoid
1.) Hidden Content
Aptly named so, hidden content is content that is usually CSS code or HTML tags that is ridden with keywords that are concealed from the users but can be picked up and read by Search Engines. It is one of the most common black hat SEO strategies used as it is rather easy to execute. All you would have to do to create the hidden content is to match the font color with the background of the website or use minuscule font sizes, position texts off screen so that only search engines would pick it up.
2.) Link Farms
Of all the bad practices of Black Hat SEO, this one is probably the worst as it is in direct violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. As the name suggests, link farms are a group of websites that all link to each other and to a certain target page. By increasing the number of inbound links, they have effectively tricked search engines to increase the targeted website's rank and popularity.
3.) Spam Comments
These are more annoying than they are destructive and are more common than you think. Think back to the articles and posts you have read online, at some point you may have probably noticed unrelated and random comments and messages under these. It is a form of spamdexing with the primary purpose of getting visitors to click the link.
Cloaking effectively increases your traffic and your bounce rates but as the cost of bad user experience considering that it provides users different results than the one they had searched or expected. Cloaking is basically a technique where the content presented to the search spider is different than the one that is presented to the user mainly done by delivering content based on the IP addresses of the User-Agent HTTP header of the user requesting the page.
5.) Doorway Pages
Another form of black hat SEO by stuffing pages with keywords spamming the index of search engines. Its primary aim is ranking high for specific queries while sending the user to another page. Doorway pages are created primarily for search engines and not for users.
6.) Keyword Stuffing
Basically, keyword stuffing is the inclusion of a source code of a website with a set of keywords you want to rank. It is seen in the meta keyword and meta description of the page.
7.) Bait and Switch
Otherwise known as page swapping, this is a black hat SEO technique that gets a page indexed and ranked after which, a change in the content or the page is done in its entirety. It is somewhat similar to cloaking as when end users visit the page, they see something different than what they were expected.
Additionally, this is also a direct violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Anyone found to be violating it would be subject to penalties.