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What is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is the term given to techniques that try to fool search engines into ranking websites higher. As Google’s algorithm developed over time, becoming ever more complex and intelligent, black hat techniques that worked many years ago were gradually found out and penalised (read more about Google updates here).

 

Black hat SEO includes a number of outrightly dangerous techniques that people use to speed up rankings of websites but invariably have the opposite effect.

 

Some of the more common black hat SEO techniques are listed below – and best avoided at all costs.

 

 

Duplicate content

Having duplicate content on your website is one sure fire way to upset Google. Search engines like to see fresh, unique content, not repeated in a cut and paste fashion across many pages of the website. Some crossover of text is inevitable in large websites but it needs to be written in a unique way so as to avoid the Google trap. Duplicate content may well bulk up a website but it will be noticed very quickly.

 

Keyword Stuffing

Writing unique and genuine content for a website invariably uses a number of keywords repeatedly within the text. However, keyword stuffing, which is the process of repeating the same keywords in the text in an attempt to get the search engines attention is seen as a big NO. Naturally written text does not suffer from this penalisation and it is quite obvious to anyone reading a keyword stuffed page just how bizarrely it reads.

 

Invisible Text

A technique from many years ago of writing white text onto a white background, rendering it invisible to the website visitor but not to search engines. Rarely used now, this technique stuffed keywords and content into websites and attracts an instant penalty now.

 

Link Buying

On the face of it a very quick and easy way to get some high-quality links from websites that will help the rankings of your own site. The anchor text is often chosen by the purchaser of the link so it looks relevant to their website. A very brazen attempt to cheat search engines and one that will attract a severe ranking penalty if found out. Read our guide to white hat link-building here.

 

Doorway or Gateway Pages

Doorway pages are web pages that are usually content rich and keyword stuffed which makes them easy to find. Once clicked they lead to the visitor to an unrelated page of content and therefore have no connection with the main website.

 

These are just a few of many techniques classed as black hat SEO and are best avoided at all costs. Keep your content genuine and honest, update regularly, be careful with the backlinks to your site and keep keywords in your text looking genuine and you should have no issues with a black hat SEO penalisation.

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