Do you know what Black Hat SEO Techniques are? They are the techniques that get you banned from Google Search. They may work for a short while, but they will never work in the long run. Why? Because sooner or later Google will detect them, it always does, and will kick the website using them out of the search.
I put together a list of the 8 worst SEO techniques one could possibly think of – starting from the dirtiest and most unforgiving ones and making my way to simple mistakes. Use it as a checklist to root out anything fishy you might have on your website.
NB: If any company ever recommends you to employ any of these techniques – run, Forrest, run!
1. Cloaking / Invisible Text
Designing your Web site so that search engines see one thing (you can specify which sites should be cached or ignored by Googlebots) and visitors see totally different content is called cloaking.
It used to be common practice in the past but not anymore. Using such techniques now is a penalizable practice. You should only have one version of a page for both Googleboots and visitors.
2. Doorway Pages
Doorway pages or gateway pages, bridge pages, jump pages, portal pages, and entry pages are pages that are optimized for one key term but are really designed to redirect you to different content. Say, the doorway pages like “tomato”, “cucumber” and “lettuce” might all be designed to always redirect you to “salad bowl”.
Doorway pages are, in fact, a form of spamdexing – deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes and no one likes to be manipulated, especially Google. So, it’s important to make sure you’ve structured your website in a way that makes sense to both users and to Google.
3. Keyword Stuffing
Most website owners think that including as many keywords as possible will make Googlebots think these pages are extremely relevant and rank them higher. Some go as far as repeating keywords not just in article titles but every subhead and paragraph, and also write them in bold text or use them as links. Google algorithms since recently started treating this as spam, and we all know what happens to spam… the trashbin.
4. Slow or unavailable websites
Your website should be available 24/7 all the time and it should load in less than 4-5 seconds, otherwise – it’s bad SEO practice. You can ensure 24/7 availability by having a good hosting provider and to build fast websites that load within the accepted range you need a modern software like for instance WordPress.
5. Implement duplicate content
There are two downsides to having duplicate content on your site:
- Google & other search engines don’t want to rank the same content twice because it’s just a time-consuming. So if you waste their time you aren’t going to be their favorite
- Googlebots have a crawl budget – max number of pages they will rank on your website. If Googlebots come to your site and have to crawl 1000 pages today, and 400 of these are duplicate pages that will never rank, you wasted a significant percentage of your opportunity for Google to find good unique content and rank it.
6. Relying on backlinks instead of content
Trying to bring you website high rankings, big authority and loads of search traffic by just including a lot of links to your website doesn’t work. One or two techniques put together isn’t the basis for truly effective SEO.
Think about SEO as if it were a fork. A fork doesn’t work if it has just a single tine. A two-tine fork doesn’t work either. Effective forks have several tines — usually four.
SEO is the same way. In order to be effective, you have to use all four components of SEO:
7. Quantity of links over quality
The more backlinks you have on your site, the better, right?
Any SEO value from link building depends upon the authority and validity of the site that is sending the links. Yes, purchasing backlinks might be quick, easy, and pretty cheap, but if:
- The site that links is penalized
- The site that links has a low DA (e.g. below DA 20)
- You receive a large number of such links in a short period of time
It can and will ruin your site.
8. Copying SEO practices of others
There might be a time in your life when you face the following dilemma – why is my competitor ranking so high while using known bad SEO practices, and not only does he get away with it, but also prosper because of it?
If this ever happens, please, remember the following – DO NOT copy their questionable SEO strategy, it is the worst plan one can possibly think of. If they got away doesn’t mean you necessarily will.
Google is constantly improving their algorithms to better identify when people are doing things that are not in line with their webmaster guidelines. So my advice – always follow the guidelines, and in a long run you will always be better off.
If you know of any other popular Black Hat SEO techniques, share them in the comments.