Search engine optimization (SEO), as you are probably aware, is a means of improving your rankings with search engines. It’s done by promoting your website and your content. This is accomplished in a variety of ways. These include utilizing relevant keywords and phrases to build a network of backlinks.
Even now, the internet remains a relatively young medium for communication and information sharing. Regulations are increasing worldwide. Yet, web users can still get away with a lot of nefarious activity. In an effort to curb unscrupulous activities, organizations like Google have recently implemented some social policing.
For example, Google engineers’ proprietary algorithms are designed to determine which content and websites best suit search queries. They have tailored and adjusted these algorithms over time to weed out the cheaters. These scammers exploit the system by doing such things as using keywords that aren’t relevant to their content. They only used them to increase traffic.
This is part of a larger practice of SEO tactics. They focus solely on gaining top search engine rankings and site traffic. However, it’s at the expense of the user experience. In other words, they offer no value to users. This is known as Black Hat SEO.
You may see others gaining ground with such tactics. You might wonder if Black Hat SEO tools could help your website. Are they safe to use?
Here’s what you need to know.
What is Black Hat SEO?
The practice of SEO began with the objective of gaining the attention of search bots. It increased an online presence, boosted search engine rankings, and accumulated website traffic.
A secondary goal, of course, was to increase targeted traffic for specific search terms. It was meant to connect with customers already seeking the goods or services offered by a company.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous parties found ways to work the system with a series of tactics. These became known as Black Hat SEO. Such practices commonly included keyword stuffing.
This is comprised of packing content with unrelated keywords just to gain recognition for trending search terms. Another practice was linking schemes designed to accumulate massive numbers of low-quality backlinks. They did this to make a website seem more popular.
These days, Google and other search engines have amended their algorithms. Thus, they now put the kibosh on practices like these. They go so far as to delist websites found practicing Black Hat SEO. The reason for this, in large part, was self-preservation.
When Google users perform a search, they trust that Google will provide them with the most relevant results. Let’s say a user searches for local dentists. They click through the top results. Instead, they find websites peddling pornography. Thus, they are understandably upset. Additionally, they may start using a different search engine that delivers more relevant results.
Search engines want to keep their customers happy. The way to do that is by providing the results that best match their search queries. They do not want to support or promote sites that are cheating just to gain click-throughs. Nor do they want to back those that fail to offer the quality and relevance users expect.
What are the Consequences?
Google, in particular, has taken a hardline stance against Black Hat SEO practices. They changed their guidelines to reflect this. In 2011, they released Google Panda. Once it was in place, they began showing their displeasure. They penalized sites offering low-quality content and engaging in Black Hat SEO to gain rankings.
Restrictions and penalties increased with subsequent updates to Google algorithms. This has led to a massive purge. That’s because the search engine giant began delisting websites found to be falsely promoting low-quality content through Black Hat SEO.
Unfortunately, even some legitimate websites were caught up in this. It wasn’t necessarily due to irrelevant content. It was because shady tactics were used to increase rankings and gain more traffic.
Website delisting can be temporary or permanent. Though, one thing is certain. It’s a major setback. It can take months and major expense to correct. All the hard work you did to earn rankings will be erased. Then, you’ll have to start over from scratch.
Why Would Anyone Use It?
Websites caught using Black Hat SEO can lose a lot. Why would people continue to do it? Like any risky gamble, there’s also a lot to be gained.
Raising rankings with search engines through White Hat (i.e. approved) SEO tactics can be a long, arduous, and expensive process. Many business owners find this frustrating. Thus, the “get rich quick” aspect of Black Hat SEO has a certain appeal. Such tactics can help websites boost ranking and increase traffic. It’s much quicker than standard approaches.
Unfortunately, you are risking everything by using Black Hat SEO. The algorithms used by Google and other search engines are extremely sophisticated and comprehensive.
If you get caught defying their guidelines, you’ll be lucky to get only a temporary delisting. The alternative is that your website will be permanently delisted. In turn, you’ll have to start a brand-new website.
Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that crash diets work fast. Instead, they often result in long-term weight gains that exceed even previous highs. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is through sustainable diet and exercise practices. In other words, slow and steady wins the race.
The same basic principle applies to earning top search rankings. Black Hat SEO is the crash diet of SEO practices. Conversely, White Hat is sensible diet and exercise.
The good news is that you can find effective alternatives to many Black Hat practices. For example, instead of using the banned practice of keyword stuffing, you can include niche keywords. These include long-tail keywords that target more specific demographics and have less competition.
Do not use web page flooding, which is generating pages and pages of nonsense stuffed with keywords. Instead, you can work on a different strategy. You can create and promote relevant and valuable content that users actually want.
You simply have to resign yourself to utilizing the White Hat SEO tactics. They are going to give you the most bang for your buck, so to speak. Say no to the instant gratification of Black Hat SEO practices. They are almost certain to get you delisted.
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