If you follow us on Facebook and Twitter this week, you will have seen several tweets showcasing myths about black hat SEO. (If you don’t follow us yet, you can click here to see some of what I am talking about.) Specifically, we posted 5 myths of black hat SEO, in order to showcase some of the worst practices on the net.
Funny thing is, some businesses do things on this list, not because they are evil, but because they confuse it with the white hat method. Not to mention these methods can get your site banned from Google!!
The following list doesn’t even scratch the surface of things black hats will do to raise their rank, but we are just going to focus on the heavy hitters… and maybe get to some of those others down the road.
5: Hidden content is the best way to use keywords
For a while, this was unfortunately true. Site developers would type hundreds of keywords into the background color of their site, disguising it from the viewer, but still very visible to Google's algorithm. For example, use your cursor to highlight the white area below.
These words are hidden from you but still exist on this page! Mind blown right!
Pretty cleaver huh? Well Google thought so too. To fix this, the Panda 4.0 algorithm update (May 2014) allowed keywords to build ranks only if it made up less than approximately five percent of the page dialogue.
4: Copying Content
There are a few ways to mess up your Google rank with copying content. One of the easiest is having a “sign in” or “welcome page,” and forgetting to use a 301 redirect. If you don’t know what a 301 redirect is, or you need to know how to use it, check out this post from HubSpot on the topic.
The problem with duplicated pages are the same problem parents have with identical twins… they can’t tell them apart. For content to register correctly, Google needs to verify which page was intended to be indexed, where to direct metrics, and which site was intended for ranking.
Ex: Many URLs
Long story short, if you duplicate content, you can lower the ranks of both sites.
3: Comment Spamming
We have discussed how linking to other sites is helpful to a site's Google rank, but simply leaving comments on websites and blogs can help as well. When commenting and interacting with other websites and blogs is done correctly, Google ranks can soar! However, when this rank builder is half-assed, and spammed at several websites, Google ranks can fall.
Next time you are reading a comment section, take notice of the comments with the lowest rating. Many of them have little or nothing to do with the subject.
Sites like WordPress and Blogger, have already taken steps to keep comment spamming from helping Google ranks; but honestly… do these guys really think this will make people use their product? DON’T BE THOSE GUYS, FOLKS!!
2: Keyword Stuffing
This is one… that I just don’t see the logic. Here is an example from Google:
It will be found. It will lower the site rank. It will cause potential clients to dismiss your site as garbage. This needs little to no explanation!
Also, I pulled an image of this, for no other reason than to avoid Google mistaking this post as a keyword stuffed site... it's that bad!
Have you ever searched for something, clicked the link… ended up at some type of….. <Clears throat> mature content? That is cloaking in the simplest form.
Another term for this is “Bait and Switch,” and it might be the bane of the white hat's existence. This method is used to drive traffic to a site, but the traffic often leaves immediately after reaching the home page. I mean, if you're gonna buy a hammer, don’t go to the book store!