Traffic No-Nos: Black Hat SEO

Some people will stop at nothing to make their website popular, up to and including visiting numerous internet cafes and visiting the site from as many different IP addresses as possible. While that is an extreme example – it does happen, though – however there are other things that people will do under the impression that it will improve their SEO and get their Google hits skyrocketing, only to later find out in the fullness of time that this really is not the case, and in some cases will result in long-term damage to their website (such as being banned or penalized). So what are these traffic mistakes – and why should you avoid them?

Among the most common things that the uninitiated try in order to improve their traffic or other stats such as pagerank, Black Hat SEO is a fairly new one, but has already come to the attention of the search engines who have marked it out as a bad idea and as something that will get you falling down the list of rankings quicker than you can say “persona non grata”. Black hat SEO – the name comes from the old-style Westerns in which the “good guys” wore white hats and the bad guys wore black – is a style of  Search Engine Optimization that tries to trick Google and other search engines.

How do you trick Google? One Black-Hat SEO technique is to place articles which are artificially stuffed with (many) keywords on a site, so that it looks like keyword relevance is high (…a technique called “Keyword Stuffing”), in the hope that the search engines will list it much higher in their search lists. In some cases, the site will then redirect you to another page which has the actual content on it. This, along with other black hat tricks like “hiding” text by writing it in the same color as the website’s background (and just writing lists of keywords), will not work either – Google knows every trick in the book, and will downrank people who use them.

If you outsource your websites SEO work you should ensure that the SEO company or SEO freelancer does not use Black-Hat SEO methods (….ignorance is no defense –  Google will not care whether you knew or not…). Many businesses have also unknowingly allowed outsourced SEO “experts” to deploy Black-Hat techniques on their websites, only to regret it later. The same applies to any SEO software you might use – some SEO (& submission) software which was widely used in the past has since been banned by the search engines & others, such as web directories. Using an auto-submission software, for example, may result in your site being blacklisted & banned from future inclusion (only auto-submit to directories & search engines which allow auto-submission/ software – there are lists available on the internet) . And ALWAYS insist that any outsourced directory or search-engine submissions made on your behalf are submitted manually, by humans.

So you see, whilst there might be some temporary gains from using Black-Hat SEO techniques, in the long run it will end up costing you much more than if you played by the rules.

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