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Black Hat SEO – What It Is and Why You Should Avoid It

Everyone knows that search engines are the #1 way to get business referrals online, and everyone wants that coveted number-one spot on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. To obtain that spot, some people employ what is known as “black hat” techniques. These techniques, which although may go undetected for a short amount of time by search engines, are sure to get you blacklisted by search engines, removing your website from the top referral tool on the internet.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO, simply put, are SEO techniques that go against search engine policy due to the way that they are used to manipulate the system. If a search engine knows that you are employing black hat techniques, your website has a high change of getting ‘kicked off’ search engines entirely and permanently.

Examples of Black Hat SEO Techniques that may seem harmless, but should be avoided:

  1. Keyword Stuffing
    • Keyword stuffing is repeating multiple keywords into your content to increase the number of keywords on your page but don’t lend any usefulness at all to the content itself. For example, taking a keyword and inserting it 40 times in a row is ‘keyword stuffing.’
  2. Hiding Keywords
    • If your website has a white background, and you type in all – white letters the keywords you want to rank, this hidden text will eventually be found by search engines and your page rank will suffer dramatically.
  3. Reporting Competitors
    • Reporting competitors to get their pages blacklisted by search engines so that yours can move up in the ranks is not only unethical but fervently disapproved by Google and other search engine sites. If you are caught doing this, you will undoubtedly be blacklisted. This is akin to reporting a website for health code violations just so you can eliminate your competition.
  4. Buying Inbound Links
    • A link back to your site is a virtual word-of-mouth and should only come from a high-quality site. Search engines can tell when your inbound links are of low quality or purchased.
  5. Article Spinning
    • If you write an article for content purposes and then take the article and edit it only enough to differ in terms of wording, this is known as article spinning. Search engines scan the internet for articles that are useful to people in terms of relevance, and duplicating your content (even if it’s changed) can result in a hefty penalty from search engines.

While this list of Black Hat SEO tactics is not exhaustive, these are practices that should not be used any means. If you are new to SEO or are caught up in the complicated nature or doing your own SEO, employing a company to do your SEO is beneficial, but only if the SEO company employs only white hat techniques.

At IOM Partners, we pride ourselves in ethical white hat SEO that we know to be effective. Don’t take a chance on getting your website blacklisted by Google and be sure that you are only using a strategy that is compliant with search engine terms of service.

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