Black Hat SEO, What to Watch out for

Back in the early days of search engine optimisation it was more a case of everyone for themselves since search engine algorithms were nowhere near as complicated and sophisticated as they are today.  There were many tactics that were commonplace to help improve websites rankings that are now frowned upon by the search engines and SEO’s alike.

Like in any industry, there are always some people who want to try and cheat the system or fast track their website to the top of the rankings.  Short term they may achieve good results but eventually these techniques will always be found out by the major search engines and it is then that your site may start to suffer.  ‘Black Hat’ search engine optimisation as it is known should be avoided so let’s take a look at what to watch out for when considering online marketing.

Keyword stuffing

This was certainly one of the favourite techniques used by website optimisers in the early days of SEO. Stuffing lots of keywords into every page of a website was commonplace and often, the font would be the same colour of the background. This meant that unless you clicked over it with your mouse, it would be hidden from the user. The same thing could also be done behind the scences in the back end of the website where the META data, heading tags, etc could be filled with keywords.

These are still practised today with optimisers coming up with increasingly sophisticated ways of accomplishing them. This can make it difficult to spot these kinds of underhand methods except by someone who knows what they are looking for.

Gateway/Doorway pages

Put simply, these are pages that are not designed to be seen by the web user because they redirect very quickly to the main website. They are web pages that have been stuffed full of keywords that wouldn’t actually make any sense to the casual observer.  This excessive use of keywords is just one example of a practice known as spamming.  This is highly frowned upon by the major search engines as it is seen as trying to cheat the system.

Link Farming

This is where your website is submitted to large numbers of websites whose sole purpose is to list links to as many different sites as possible, whether they are relevant to your business or not.  This will not result in your website gaining any extra traffic and ultimately will likelyend up with your site being penalised.  The only real way to build good quality links to your website is through the writing and distribution of quality copy and submission to relevant directories.

These are just three examples as there are many other ways that ‘Black Hat’ optimisers can try to cut corners in order to achieve quick short term results to justify their existence and make themselves look good. It is very important to remember that online marketing should be seen as a long term project and not just a quick fix.

Ultimately, if you use an SEO company who are open and upfront about how they go about your online marketing and explain the associated processes that go with running a solid campaign then the chances are that they are not going to employ ‘Black Hat’ techniques. However, if you are promised the earth by a company but they are unwilling to discuss how they are going to go about it then perhaps you need to start asking them a few more questions.