As more and more people demand for highly relevant and quick information when searching online, Google continues to change and update its searching algorithm for better results. Many Internet marketers employ the use of SEO techniques to achieve higher ranking of websites in the search engine results. However, this can only occur if done correctly, and lawfully. This means staying away from illegal, unethical ‘Black Hat’ SEO techniques and using ‘White Hat’ SEO techniques only.
Everyone has the right to begin with the most basic things to optimize their websites, such as ALT and TITLE elements for non-text content, Meta tags for descriptions, .xml sitemap for aiding Google crawl through your website, unique title tags for each page of your website and much more.
However, while you move towards more advanced SEO tactics, there are some that will more or less affect your website’s traffic and harm your site’s ranking in Google search results. Such SEO techniques are called Black Hat SEO Techniques, and can be detected by Google’s Panda and Penguin’s search algorithms; which are developed for the sole purpose of removing or penalizing such sites.
Below are mentioned 10 Black Hat techniques that can harm your Google Ranking:
List of Black Hat SEO techniques to avoid
The most widely known Black hat technique, cloaking is the practice of deceiving the search engine by showing different content to Google and taking your websites users to a different content or web page than the one they think they must be going on, after having clicked the search engine link. For example, your web code makes Google think you are directing users to live football match updates site, when in fact your website publishes information about sales on Kid’s toys and accessories. Google uses its search algorithms to locate such activities, and if detected, such websites are subjected to penalty which includes hurting the ranking of a website or even banning it from the search engine, completely.
Doing link exchanges can really reduce your website’s rankings. This technique used to be effective in the old days, until Google devised algorithms to discourage such activity. Websites should focus on building links naturally, rather than exchanging links that are mostly low quality and irrelevant. Link exchanges are sure to get you lots of links in lesser time, but this will not help you improve your rank, and is more likely to put your SEO efforts to waste. Check out what Google webmaster guidelines for link scheme.
3. Duplicate Content
Duplicating or copying content from another website is one of the worst Black Hat SEO techniques. Google search engine algorithms are modified every now and then to index original and unique content only. Search engines do not index the ‘original’ content more than once. In fact, all such copied content goes to waste. Therefore, you should focus your SEO efforts in creating unique and original website content only.
- How to prevent duplicate web content
One thing which you should know about duplicate content is, it can happen on your blog too. You can check out ShoutMeLoud earlier guide on WordPress duplicate content & fixes.
4. Buying Links
Links are said to be an 80% determinant of your Google ranking. The online world is full of such ads who call people to buy thousands of links for a few dollars. Google’s Penguin Update works in finding such spam websites who buy links in exchange of money. After the launch of this update, not only did such sites suffer in terms of their rankings, but other sites that paid to be featured on them were also penalized.
- Why you should never buy cheap backlinks : An experiment
5. Keyword Stuffing
This technique might have worked back in old days, but not anymore with Google’s search and ranking algorithms. If your website has an authority over a topic, it’s absolutely alright to include relevant and as much information regarding it. But, including keywords after every 2 sentences on every page will make your site look spammy, and annoy not only your search engine crawler but also your site’s human visitors. One should include only relevant and balanced quantity of keyword Meta tags and should not go overboard in doing so.
- What’s optimum Keyword density for better ranking
6. Hidden text
Hidden text implies that you have white text on a white background in order to stuff extra keywords on your site. However, we as humans can definitely not track or see same color text on same color background, but Google’s bots can. Bots have an automated system that goes through your source code to trace even the slightest of error. It might also be that because of not having enough site security, your site may be stuffed by lots of hidden text. Before Google finds it out and you get penalized for it, it is better to ensure. your source code and logs are ‘hidden text-free’
7. Link farms
A site or a group of sites that exist and serve for the sole purpose of increasing the link popularity of another site through link exchanges are called Link farms. What may look like a regular webpage is full of hyperlinks which are most often not relevant to the site being linked to. Google does not like unrelated links and link farming on the whole. So, your website will most likely be traced out and penalized. Avoiding endorsement from link farms is much better than hurting your rankings.
- Why link farming is bad for SEO
8. Writing for search engines
There is nothing wrong in writing for search engines, but many blogs uses spam methods to publish post. That included copying article text from different source, and using article spinning software’s to spin the article. Or using automated ways to generate content. Google’s Panda Update can now detect such spam content and remove them from the rankings or index.Instead of working on such methods to generate new content, the best approach would be to write useful and relevant content that attracts more and more targeted audience.
- How to optimize post title for Search engine & for readers
Working on your SEO the simplest and natural way can provide more friendly user experience and increase your rankings too. However, making your website over-optimized can hurt your rankings.
- SEO over optimization penalty : The axe hangs over whom
10. Low-quality content
You can lose your website’s credibility and ranking through low quality or spun content. Such content will more likely send the visitor away, so it is better to write new, error-free and original articles.
- How to find low quality content on your website
These are just few of many black hat techniques which results in deindexing of your website in Google search engine. A good practice would be, follow quality guidelines from Webmaster tool, and avoid any short term ranking scheme. On various internet marketing forums, you will find tips, and hacks to get higher ranking for your Website, and unfortunately they do work for a short term. But, after a while your effort will be wasted, as Google search sophisticated algorithm, identify any such black hat SEO techniques, and push your website to black hole.
What other Black hat SEO techniques you recommend others to avoid? Have you ever been penalised for using any bad SEO trick on your blog? Do share your experience with us via comments.