Black Hat SEO - optimised
If you are really curious to know what the most common ‘black hat SEO’ tactics are still used to manipulate search engine result page (SERP) even today, then just keep reading this article.

What is ‘Black Hat SEO’?

Black hat SEO is a set of unethical practices, which are used to get a site ranking higher in search results. These tactics don’t actually help businesses to solve their ranking issues but other way round – they often end in a penalty from search engines.

So what SEO techniques are considered as ‘Black Hat SEO ones’?

The following SEO tactics have been recognised as unapproved tactics which can lead the brand to be penalised.
    • Content Automation – means using tools or scripts to automatically generate and publish some content on the site. This type of content is not user friendly, contains nothing unique or valuable to the audience, plus, as a rule, it comes completely unformatted.
    • Bait and Switch – is another deceptive & misleading black hat seo tactic. This involves creating content around the topic you want to rank for. And once the page is ranking high enough for this topic, the content is swapped out for something completely different.
    • Scraped Content – means someone takes your content and publish it on their website in order to increase ranking for that particular topic.
    • Doorway Pages – ‘are sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.’Here are some examples of doorways:
      • Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
      • Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s)
      • Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browsable hierarchy
An image shows the logo of GOOGLE
    • Hidden Text or Links – Google says: “Hiding text or links in the content to manipulate Google’s search rankings can be seen as deceptive and is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.” Below are examples of what can be considered as ‘hidden text/link’:
      • White font of the text on a white background
      • Placing text behind the image
      • Using CSS to position text off-screen
      • Setting the font size to ‘0’
      • Hiding a link by only linking one small character—for example, a comma or apostrophe in the middle of a paragraph
    • Cloaking – In order to rank content for a variety of long and short terms irrelevant to the content ‘Black Hat SEO Practicians’ are showing one piece of content to users and a completely different piece of content to search engines. Spammers do use this technique to avoid a search engine bot finding the spam content they serve to their users.
    • Keyword Stuffing – refers to the practice when a brand ‘stuffs’ (an excessive use of keywords )a webpage with the same target term or group of terms in hopes of ranking higher in search engines. While not as popular as it was a few years ago, it’s still used by some companies to try to boost their search visibility. Just so you know – Google made redundant ‘Meta Keywords’ tag.
    • BackLinks Manipulation (especially paid links) – Search engines, like Google strictly ban the buying/selling links tactics. We all should produce a good quality content, so the users want to link to it naturally. Google classes the buying or selling links that pass PageRank as a violation of their Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore all ‘paid links’ should be nofollowed. Nowadays, the link attribution, which in the past would be ‘nofollowed’ must be done in three ways: ‘nofollow’, ‘sponsored’, and ‘ugc’ (user generated content )— each signifying a different meaning.( We’ll discuss this later, in one of our future blog posts)
    • Link Farms, Link Wheels or Link Networks: Link farms are series of websites, which are set up by SEO professionals with the purpose of creating backlinks to specific sites in order to manipulate search results. Link Wheels – creating multiple (10 or more) new blogs or microsites on a particular niche topic and linking them together in a circular pattern is called a link wheel. Why this technique can be highly effective is because, as a rule, these blogs or microsites are created on high PR websites such as WordPress.com, Hubpages.com or Blogger.com.
Link Networks – are websites (domains) used solely for link building. They are similar to ‘link farms’ as both tactics aim to increase the number of links pointing to a website.
  • Clickbait – is an eye catching and deceptive headline designed to making users click on it. It says one thing in the headline and but. completely different thing on the site.
  • Blog Comment Spam – this black hat technique involves adding a link to the website in blog posts’ comments. This practice happens less often nowadays as search engines like Google learned to ignore any links in blog posts’ comments.
  • Directory Listing – just so you know, that registering and/or buying spots in low-quality directories, it is not good practice. There are good directories though.
  • Misusing Structured Data/Rich Snippets – this ‘Black hat SEO’ technique involves providing inaccurate information in structured data to fool search engines and users. This is a very risky tactic as Google encourage users to report websites misusing structured data.
  • Misleading Redirects – some SEO practitioners take advantage of expired domains to keep the link equity, they are redirecting the old site to their site. If you’re caught – you will get penalised by Google for this practice.

Conclusion:

Have Black Hat SEO techniques still been used? The answer is – YES, unfortunately ‘Black Hat SEO’ still goes on. The drawback is that it goes against all ethical guidelines, damages businesses’ reputations, leads to manual penalties and ultimately the blacklisting of thousands of websites. So, think twice before you decide on your best SEO strategies.

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