In today’s competitive online market, businesses are doing all that they possibly can to get their name toward the top of a page of search engine results. There are plenty of simple and effective ways to propel your business to the top of the page, such as a paid or organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) service.
Though this seems like a fair and simple method of successful marketing, some companies (and hackers alike) think it necessary to use an antagonistic, unethical, and punishable method known as Black Hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO practices are put into action with one goal in mind: scoring search engine results. Using deceptive methods, known as “spamdexing” or “cloaking”, that most users won’t notice, users of Black Hat SEO bypass the rules of the search engine world. Although these methods are not yet liable to be penalized by the government, a company’s internet presence can almost be completely erased by search engines (to read more, take a look at Google’s battle with Overstock.com
Although an exact, concise definition is relatively vague, Black Hat SEO qualifies as anything that uses artificial or unpaid means to greatly boost search results for a very short period of time.
Some of the most popular methods include:
- Keyword Stuffing— packing a webpage chock-full with lists of search engine keywords, and very little relevant information
- Doorway Pages— HTML pages that are written so that they can only be seen by search engines and search engine spiders; these pages are designed to make it appear as though the site has many more page views than they actually do
- Invisible Text— a method of hiding lists of keywords on the background of page, often by making the text and the background the same color
- “Bait and Switch”— loading page with a popular keyword, even though the page has no content relevant to the actual search
- Meta-Tag Stuffing— using meta keywords that are unrelated to the site’s content, or repeating keywords in the meta tags
The schemes used in Black Hat SEO are more time consuming and dangerous to your business than they are beneficial, and search engines can be rather unforgiving with their penalties. On March 24th, 2012, Google established a new penalty known as the Google Webspam (or Penguin) Update that cracks down much harder than ever before on Black Hat SEO—and even on legal, “over-optimized” websites. With increasing penalties and a greater ability to search out Black Hat SEO users, the costs of utilizing these techniques are increasingly outweighing the benefits of using them.
This entry was written by Derek Schwitters, CEO and Chief Digital Strategist at lodestar marketing group. If you’d like to know how to safely and successfully implement SEO into your website, don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.