Black Hat SEO Techniques You Should Avoid When Doing SEO
SEO is a way of appearing in the SERPs by optimizing your website according to search engines. SEO is a slow process and takes time to show the desired results.
Some impatient website owners and SEO practitioners start adopting techniques that will, in the end, lead your site to get penalized. These techniques are- Black Hat SEO Techniques! Black Hat basically means anything that Google deems as “unethical” or “against their guidelines” that can manipulate rankings to boost your website.
We will discuss the following widely used black hat SEO techniques that you should strictly avoid!
1. Keyword Stuffing
If we define keyword stuffing, it refers to using keywords on your page excessively to rank better. It was a widely popular technique for increasing site ranking until 2000. Later when Google observed that the technique of keyword stuffing is not of much user relevance, its importance started falling.
Google has started being strict for such practices to avoid any bad user experience. According to the Google Panda Algorithm, any site with poor content will not be able to get a place among the top search results of Google. Keyword stuffing is also considered to be a bad technique to enhance your page content.
Avoid using the same keyword again and again in any content. Not only it lowers the user experience but also increases the chances of getting penalized by Google. You can use similar words or words that relate to your keyword instead of unnecessarily filling your content with the same word.
2. Overwritten Alt Tags
Using Alt text for images SEO is a good way of increasing site ranking but using multiple alt tags is not a good option. Using one single relevant content for your alt tag is more than enough.
Using many keywords in the alt tag for one single image may lead your site into some serious trouble. You can not rank for all the keywords all at once. Hence, it is recommended to focus on one keyword per image on your content.
3. Overusing keywords in anchor text for internal pages
Exact match anchor text is a good way to link to a page within your website that has a similar content. But again, as we discussed earlier, overusing anything is not a good idea.
Do not force your keywords in the context even if it is not necessary. Use natural looking text to link to pages. This is also a part of keyword stuffing. And as you know, your site may get penalized for excessive keyword use. Hence, stay away from such bad practice.
Some sites have really good and quality content but do not rank good. Whereas, some sites have very poor content quality but rank better because of the overuse of keywords in anchor texts for interlinking.
Google keeps updating its search algorithm regularly so that truly deserving sites may benefit from it. With such updates, many sites may see a sudden fall in ranking. Whereas the sites that follow the right SEO tactics, do not get affected much.
4. Unnecessary keywords
Suppose you search for red balloons on Google. One of the entries in the search results has in its title “red balloon”, so you click on it. But as you visit the page, it has content on blue balloons. This is a clear case of poor user experience.
The next time, even if the same website comes for some relevant search result, you will not on it because of your poor experience. Thus, stay away from using unnecessary keywords in your content.
Getting site traffic by using unnecessary keywords will not last for long and Google will eventually penalize or shut down your site.
7. Overuse of HTML headings
Many websites write content on their website along with more than one H1 tag just to rank better. No one denies the importance of heading tags for SEO but overuse is no doubt a bad practice.
Using one H1, H2, H3 tags are always a sufficient option.
8. Duplicate Content
It becomes difficult for Google to give the best search result to a user when there is so much duplicate content on different domains. One content that ranks good on Google is copied by many websites to increase their site rank. Earlier, using duplicate content was not considered to be a big deal. But now, Google has made strict rules regarding copied content. If you want to use quality content as yours, you can use reference sources on your content that you used from different sources.
9. Using content automation tools
Generating content using automation tools for websites is one of the easiest ways to get content for your web pages. It requires zero efforts from your side and you get what you want.
If you write a content manually, you will follow all the guidelines for good content. Using HTML tags, images and videos, paragraphs alignment, font size and many more are some of the good practices of writing a quality content. But content from automation tools provides none of these.
Automation tools do not take the use of keywords into consideration and create just any random content of poor quality. In the case of no relevant content on your website, your ranking may suffer or search engines may even blacklist your site.
Try writing content on your own because you only know best what keywords you want to rank for. This may take time but you will gradually get the desired results.
10. Bait and Switch technique
Many people have doubts that are bait and switch illegal? To make it clear, yes it is!
Many companies have faced the consequences of using this technique and suffered strict legal actions.
There are many bait-and-switch articles that explain what this exactly is. In this technique, first, a web page is created for Google using some keywords. Later when this page gets a good ranking on Google, the content on these pages is changed that is a clear case of misleading advertisement.
11. Spinning article content
Spinning a content is a clever way of escaping duplicate content. It is one of the widely used black hat SEO techniques.
This practice is so widely used that there are many content spinning service providers available online. There are also many paid and free article spinning tools.
Spun content is generally of no significant value or importance. You can write spun content manually or use content spinning tools. Try to stay away from using such black hat SEO techniques to be safe from any Google penalties.
12. Content Scraping
Content scraping is a technique wherein some content is taken from some reputed sites and little is added to them. This content is usually taken without even considering its relevance. Scraped content SEO is a bad practice for getting ranking on search engines.
There are a number of content scraping tools available online but you should try to refrain from them. It is a clear case of content breaching and can lead you to some serious legal problems.
Web scraping is illegal and thus Google has set up guidelines for content scraping protection. Be cautious while using the “latest news” by Google Webmasters. Do not put in a lot of information from different sites there.
To protect yourself from any legal problems, use some good anti-web scraping software. These tools and software easily give you details of the site that is copying your content.
13. Content cloaking
Not many Google users are aware of what is cloaking in SEO. Cloaking in SEO is a black hat SEO technique where the content for the web crawlers is different from the content for the users.
It is like having two different versions of content for the same page. One is made for getting search engine rankings and the other is made for the site visitors. This is a misleading SEO technique.
According to Google guidelines, cloaking violates the Webmasters rules and regulations and may lead to the site getting penalized.
14. Malicious software and contents
When talking about black hat SEO techniques, malicious contents is one of them. Using malicious tools such as adware, bots, bugs, rootkits, spyware, Trojan horses, viruses, and worms is a illegal activity by law and Google also condemns it.
If you want to protect your system from any harmful files, install a good antivirus on your system. Do not forget to update your antivirus regularly.
15. Clickbait Titles
Clickbait is a Blackhat SEO technique where the title of the page is written in such a manner that it attracts the user and he clicks on it. These titles are usually completely different from the content on the page.
Clickbait ads are created with the aim of generating more site traffic. Such titles are written using so much flowery text that the user instantly gets attracted towards them. Then when he opens the link, what he gets is completely different.
This can harm your site reputation for the long run. Next time even if your ad is a genuine one, the user will never click on it because of his poor experience in the past. We often find such titles on various social media platforms such as Facebook. The user gets fooled and clicks on the link and thus has a poor site experience. Good user experience is of topmost priority for Google.
16. Web Rings
A group of similar websites interlinked in a circular structure over the web is known as a webring hub. Being a part of webring is not a bad idea unless you are using it wholly for the purpose of increasing search engine ranking. You need the permission of webmasters to become a part of any webrings.
17. Spammy Guest Posts
Guest blogging is a widely used black hat SEO technique today. People send emails and messages to some good and reputed bloggers to publish their articles on their website. Such articles are usually of no genuine value and contain some dofollow links.
Do not do guest blogging on just any random site. Publishing on a poor site can affect your site reputation as well.
As Matt Cutts says, guest posts were a good way to link building until people started doing it way too much. Adopting the right guest posting strategy can always be good for your site but avoid spamming.
18. Link farm
19. Link Bait
Link bait is one of the black hat SEO techniques wherein a good ranking article is modified into some other content. You take an article and get links to it. Once you are successful in this and get a good page rank, you completely change the article content. Usually, the new content is nowhere related to the previous one.
It gives a poor user experience and Google never favors this.
20. Offering free products in exchange for customer reviews
Many business owners try to attract their customers by asking for reviews with a link to the site in exchange for some free products or service. This is becoming a widely used way of increasing the links to your site. More links mean more web authority and thus better site rank.
Customer reviews are no doubt a good practice of increasing your site reputation. But reviews with website links is totally unneeded since everybody knows which website is the review for. Adding it unnecessarily is a clear case of spamming Google with site link and getting a good page rank.
21. Link exchanging
Link exchange service is one of the widely used black hat SEO techniques. It is like a contract between 2 sites to help each other get a good page rank. There many link exchange websites available on the web that provides this service.
Link exchange might seem to be a quick step towards getting better site rank, but you may have to pay for it later if Google finds it out. Refrain from buying links from other sites.
22. Spammy blog comments
Spammy blog comments is a black hat SEO technique that happens when you try to insert your link in every blog comment on different sites even when it is not needed. These sites might be irrelevant, but still, links are placed with the motive of getting better web authority.
This method is a poor SEO practice and affects your online reputation badly. If you own a blog you can prevent others from spamming your blog with comments in two ways. You can either directly delete them or keep their approval pending.
23. 301 Redirects
If you have recently moved or changed a page on your website, using 301 redirects is a good way to prevent any bad user experience. But recently, people have started using it as a black hat SEO technique.
Old and expired sites are used and redirected to a site to get more link authority. It does matter whether the site is relevant to the business or not, it is used to increase your link juice. These links are of poor quality and no use.
Online movie sites also cheat their users each time one clicks on a movie link to watch it. As soon as the user clicks on it, he is redirected to some totally different site that has no relation to the movie site. It gives poor user experience and may lead the site to get penalized by Google.
24. Anchor text with money value
Commercial anchor text keywords are basically money keywords that generate financial value. Your anchor text profile will be nonorganic if the number of brand anchor texts is less.
27. Link Buying
Do not get fooled by the sites that claim to give you good quality links at cheap rates. Link buying is against Google guidelines so it can anyway not be a quality link. All the link juice you receive from such sites will go to waste if you get caught by Google.
This will be a total waste of money and efforts in the end. Moreover, the little authority you would have at the moment will all go in vain and it will take a lot of time to get back the lost reputation. So, it is better to stay away from such black hat SEO techniques.
28. Paying for advertorials
In the earlier time, the sole motive of going for paid advertorials was to enhance the page rank. The Google later declared page rank as of no valuable importance.
But that does not make paid advertorials a good SEO tactic. Anything that involves buying and selling in SEO is considered to be a black hat SEO technique. Generating page authority and links naturally is a better option to choose to rank in search engines. Using Paid advertorial links may get your site penalized.
If you still want to use paid editorials, you can use a “nofollow” with the link. This way, your users will be able to see your link and at the same time, you are safe from getting penalized. This is because, no follow links are not indexed by Google.
29. Directory Listing
Directory listing is an SEO technique where we submit our website links on various business listing sites to increase our page authority. If you really want to list your business online, you should create a Google my business page, or use social media platforms like Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter or Linkedin.
Keep updating these directories regularly.
30. SEO parasite hosting
Just like a parasite enter into a body and gains benefits from it like nutrients, similar is the case with parasite hosting in SEO.
Parasite hosting SEO is a black hat SEO technique to get access to someone else’s website and fill it with your keywords to put the link of your website.
It is like getting illegal and unauthorized access to some other website that has a good domain authority. Parasite pages SEO are usually not in the notice of the owner of the authority site. The sole reason for this technique is to get a good ranking on search engines by placing your links on the high authority websites in a fraud manner.
31. Google Bombing
This blackhat SEO technique involves artificially making a page rank for a totally irrelevant keyword. In this, the black hat SEO expert will manipulate the Google’s algorithm to get the desired rank.
There have been many cases of Google bombing in the past that have led to some serious penalties from Google.
32. Doorway pages
Doorway pages, also known as gateway pages, is a black hat SEO technique somewhat similar to redirected pages. It is a form of cloaking wherein the content created for web crawlers is totally different from the content displayed to the users.
The website is altered for some search engine query and the user is sent to a page that doesn’t have any connection with the query whatsoever. This is an unnatural way of getting ranked for your page. When the user visits that website, he gets nothing related to his query.
33. Spamming rich snippets
Rich snippets are the search results for some query that has some additional information such as ratings, votes or any relevant information for the query. Rich snippets can be designed using structured markup data. It is the way to code your data in such a way that it appears in a rich snippet. It is a good way of getting your site indexed by Google.
But recently rich snippets are being created in an irrelevant manner just for the sake of getting Pagerank. You may get manually penalized for spamming rich snippets.
34. Automate google search
There are many software available to increase the number of queries for your desired keyword. Its motive is to get high ranking on search engine result pages. This is an unnatural way of getting more site traffic.
35. Website Mirroring
Website mirroring service is a good option to reduce the load on your existing site. If your existing site gets too much traffic for the server to take the load of, you can get a mirror site made. This will also increase your site speed.
But it is now being used as a black hat SEO technique to increase the SERP rank of a site.
36. Private Blog Networks
Private Blogging Network comprises of a network of websites that are used to build links to a particular website The motive is to alter the search engine rankings of the website.
If you are using PBNs, your site is always at the risk of coming under any Google Penalties or any change in algorithm. Your site may be penalized or all your ranking may be dropped instantly as soon as Google comes to know about the use of your PBNs.
37. URL Hijacking
URL Hijacking, also known as typosquatting attack, is the practice of using a well-established brand name as your domain name with a little variation in spelling.
If you have a question- is typosquatting illegal?- The answer is yes!
There are many typosquatting tools available online that do this.
The main motive of using it as a black hat SEO technique is to generate more benefit from the well-established brand name. There are many typosquatting examples that have all been penalized by Google.
38. Toxic Sites
The only motive to create a toxic site is link building. Stay away from such toxic sites and do not put your links on them. Also, make sure that no toxic site points towards your site. This may harm your site reputation.
You should know how to identify a toxic site. There are many ways to do this like analyze the domain name, anchor text, HTTP or HTTPs status code and more.
39. Domain Name Squatting
Domain name squatting is a black hat SEO technique where a domain name is registered similar to a popular brand name. It is done to gain financial benefits from the brand’s name.
If you use this practice to get better SERP ranking, be ready to face legal actions from the brand name you use. The literal meaning of squatting is to use someone else’s property or name as your own to gain benefits.
40. Cookie Stuffing
Cooking stuffing, also known as cookie dropping, is a black hat SEO technique. The sites which practice this, send third-party cookies to its users from sites that are totally unrelated. The users are not aware of these incoming cookies usually.
Each time a user will click on the website, the website will receive money for it. It is important to know that cookie dropping is illegal.
41. Negative SEO
The main aim of SEO is to get more site traffic and better SERP ranking. Negative SEO is completely opposite of it. Website owners falsely report their competitor sites to get them penalized under Google guidelines.
The main motive to use this black hat SEO technique is to lower down the SERP ranks of your competitor. Your competitor might now even come to know who did this to them unless they use some tool to analyze this such as Google Webmasters, Monitor Backlinks, Google Alerts and more.
42. Spamming Trackback Feature
What is trackback must be the first question on your mind right now if you are new to the field of SEO? Trackback on WordPress sites involves notifications every time a user tries to put his link on your blog. Also known as WordPress pingback, it is not a spam unless you are creating a link for some new article. WordPress trackback spam occurs when notifications come just to increase the site traffic. You can disable pingbacks WordPress to avoid such notifications.
43. Social Network Spamming
Since Web 2.0 is introduced, spammers have started using as a black hat SEO technique. Spammers put their links almost everywhere and anywhere just to increase their web authority.
Put usually put their links in the comment section of completely irrelevant posts to get site rank in SERPs. Spammers also use private message feature of social media platforms for this purpose.
44. Referrer Spam
Referrer spam is a type of spamdexing that contaminates a website with fake statistical information. The main aim of the spammer to do this is to increase the site rank.
This black hat SEO technique increases the site data such as traffic, the number of visitors and more.
45. Blog Spamming
There are much software available that help to create just random blogs for the given keywords. These irrelevant blogs are then posted on different sites just to increase the link juice of the respective site.
Instead of adopting this black hat SEO technique, try to create your own blog. Such blogs will not only be of good quality, you will also be safe from any Google penalty.
46. Over Optimising your site
To overdo anything is always a bad idea. Optimising your site is a good idea to get noticed by Search engines. But over optimizing is certainly not.
If Google gets a hold of this, your site may be penalized for this.
47. Social Media Automation Tools
There are many tools available that can automate your social media tasks. This may pose a great threat to your brand reputation.
For instance, there are some tools available that help to follow people on social media platforms. These tools are now being used to follow just every random user to increase the count of your social media followers. A lot of automation makes it looks like that all the work is being done in a robotic way with no human intervention.
The Black Hat SEO techniques listed above may give you quick SERP ranking. But it will take no time to bring you under the radar of Google and face Google penalties!