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Tipping Your Black Hat to SEO? Not if You Want to Rank

author image Written by: Content Team           Categories - SEO Tips

5 Bad SEO Tricks that Will Put Your Website at Risk

Darth Vader likes black hat seo Now that we’ve talked about good SEO analysis strategy, let’s get into some bad SEO techniques. Black Hat SEO tricks that you will get you into troubled waters with Google…or maybe even drown you with no hope of resurfacing. Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but we’re not joking when we say you can cause some major damage to website’s rankings if you try and trick Google with unethical SEO techniques.

1) Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Look at the product descriptions below for a glorious example of keyword stuffing.

black hat seo Keyword stuffing
Take a wild guess at what the optimized keyword is!
  At the very least you can admire the writer for his or her aggressive effort. It is so aggressive I wonder if the writer was actually playing a joke on visitors to the site. Why is this something that should be avoided? Stuffing your content with too many keywords, especially in a short length of text, doesn’t provide visitors any value and it sounds extremely awkward to read. Google doesn’t reward you for lazy SEO, but if for some reason you do get on the first page despite having a 90% keyword density, it is highly unlikely that visitors will want to stay on your website anyway. No one will gain anything by reading the same word or phrase over and over again. Instead, you can make use of synonyms and long tail phrases.

2) Keywords, Caitlyn Jenner, Keywords

While we’re on the topic, there is another way to abuse keywords that Google will penalize you for: putting keywords in your content that are unrelated to your website or blog. Imagine that you run a blog about souping up your car à la Pimp My Ride. If someone visiting your blog wants tips on installing neon lights in their car’s underbody and sees this: There are many brands of LED lighting that Caitlyn Jenner loves to use on her car. Make your car’s underbody glow like Harry Potter’s wand in battle. Why would someone do this? The aim is to drive more traffic to their website by piggybacking off the popularity of unrelated keywords (Caitlyn Jenner and Harry Potter). But more doesn’t always mean better. You want quality leads coming to your site, not people who are looking for something else and will click away pretty quickly after they realize what they’re looking for isn’t on your page. There are ways to relate your content to popular and newsworthy subjects like celebrities, but only if you do it in a way that makes sense and creates value for visitors.

3) Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Highlight the space after the word “is” in the heading just above this sentence… Ah, there she is! The use of hidden text, which is done by making the font colour match a website’s background or shrinking it so that readers can’t see it, is a very old school Black Hat SEO trick that was used a lot in the 2000s. However, there are some people that still engage in it to this day. Googlebots will crawl your website and see this text, its sole purpose to add more keywords to your website, and knock your rankings down. Make sure that all the text on your website is relevant to your visitors and is useful to them in some way.

4) Say what? What did you say? Come again?

Have you ever searched for information on a topic and stumbled upon a few sources that pretty much say the same thing, just in different words? Article or content spinning happens a lot because it is easier to “massage” good content that someone else has already written than to come up with your own. Words, phrases and paragraphs are rewritten so that the text doesn’t count as duplicate content (which search engines penalize). This can be done manually or automatically. But, putting a “spin” on existing content will bring the article down to a lower calibre because it becomes so distorted and awkward it barely makes sense, at least for the automatic process. Take this sentence for example: Dogs make really great companions. Put it into an article spinner and it could very likely churn out: Canines create very amazing friends. Imagine what a full blog post would look like. There is also the option of doing it manually to avoid nonsensical text, but why not better spend your time writing your own interesting articles? Not to mention, Google rewards websites with timely and fresh content. This is not to say that you can’t use content from different sites/blogs or even quote certain parts of the article word-for-word (as long as you cite it properly), just make sure you use multiple sources, put it into your own words and provide your own insights on the topic. For example, the content in this article didn’t just appear out of thin air and everything laid out here is not a new discovery.  Many people before have written articles about the same subject a thousand times over, but I have looked at several sites, writing it in my own way (to make it easy to read for people who know nothing about SEO) and relating my own experiences back to the topic.

5) Links-plosion

Have you ever come across some spammy-looking links while browsing a blog’s comment thread? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have read a comment imploring you to discover a new method “of making $3,356 in just two weeks working from home!” A lot of the time the comments are along a similar vein to what I was talking about above:

black hat seo link spam
Wait…how do you pronounce Jill’s last name?
This technique is used to create backlinks to one’s website by posting its links on other websites. Spamming software allows people to easily post hundreds and even thousands of links on blogs in an attempt to drive more traffic. But these are easily caught by search engines and your website’s ranking will suffer. If you’re going to comment on blogs to get people to visit your site, do so on a relevant and reputable blog while actually offering some useful information in your comment that will be valuable to visitors. Don’t be afraid to use your real name to show that you are a real human; it will help with gaining trust among visitors. There are tons of Black Hat SEO tricks that we have not covered here, but these are just some of the most common ones. If we were to go through them all, we’d be discussing it for weeks! We understand that some business owners couldn’t be bothered with the complexities involved in applying good SEO techniques to their website; give us a call and we’d be more than happy to help! Sources: Forbes The Blog Press Weidert Group WordStream Search Engine Journal Search Engine Watch White Wikipedia Baynado (image idea)

Content Team

Outdated Content Trends You Need to Avoid For Good in 2021

02/06/2021

Fads go out of style for a reason. After all, you wouldn’t be caught wearing neon shoulder pads or animal-print spandex in the 21st century.

So why do some of us still hold on to outdated trends when it comes to digital marketing? The world of web content cycles through trends faster than we could have ever imagined, and it’s important to reflect on what doesn’t work anymore.

We’ve listed some of the most common marketing strategies from recent years that have lost their magic. Avoid these at all costs – they’ll produce weak content, disgruntled site visitors, and a poor reputation – not to mention a low SEO score.

Why “Black Hat” Strategies Don’t Work

You might describe some of the outdated strategies on this list as “black hat.” What does this mean exactly?

Think of who might be wearing a black hat: a sneaky villain or a sketchy magician. Those personalities are represented in black hat marketing strategies. Content is shared with the goal of misleading the visitor in some way, or “cheating the system” to trick search engine bots and show up higher on searches.

Both search engines and internet users have caught on to most or all of these techniques. In fact, Google updates its search algorithm hundreds of times per year, often finding ways to penalize pages that rely on unethical SEO practices.

Outdated Content Trends to Avoid

Clickbait Headlines

This Web Content Technique Will Save Your Life. Just kidding – it will actually push readers away.

Even casual internet users are familiar with the term “clickbait.” As the name suggests, these articles lure readers in to clicking the link using a headline that is alluring, but often deceptive or found to oversimplify its content.

Customers groan at the sight of headlines like, “7 Ways to Grow Your Business — #3 Will Shock You.” Instead of relying on content that reeks of desperation, publish sincerely helpful articles.

Keyword Stuffing

Using keywords in your content is a must, but avoid keyword stuffing. This practice involves overusing a single keyword to boost a site’s ranking on a search query for that keyword. If you’ve ever seen content that aggressively repeats a word or phrase to the point where it seems unnatural, you’ve probably stumbled upon keyword stuffing.

Aside from being transparently greedy, you should drop this tactic because it probably won’t work anymore – Google’s search bots can identify keyword stuffing and penalize you for it.

Spinning Articles

This technique is similar to keyword stuffing. Spinning involves taking content and using software to create nearly-exact copies – usually, a few words are slightly changed. These are then distributed across the web to avoid being perceived as duplicates to bots.

Search bots are being tuned to catch on to spinning, and it can ultimately damage your SEO ranking.

Cloaking

Have you ever clicked on a link only to be taken to a page you weren’t anticipating? This is called cloaking, and it’s one of the most frustrating black hat content techniques.

When this happens, the site takes Google bots to a page filled with the keyword the user had searched – meanwhile, the user is taken to an unrelated page. This is usually a spam page, an undesired advertisement, or something malicious.

Like many other items on this list, search engines are becoming better at identifying cloaked sites, and they are frequently blacklisted.

Content for The Sake of Content

You don’t want your website to empty, of course. However, you shouldn’t just fill your site with weak, unnecessary filler content. Instead, consider that potential visitors are real people who are drawn to content that is genuinely useful. Keep this rule of thumb in mind: quality trumps quantity.

Copying Another Site’s Content

A student would receive a failing grade for copying answers from a classmate’s test. Using another site’s content won’t land you in summer school, but you will face other consequences. Search engines are able to identify content that is duplicated, and often flags this content, lowering its chance of success in searches. It’s better to give your site’s visitors unique content.

The items on this list were once viewed as clever techniques to earn clicks. Now, they’re widely considered to be cheap and unethical tactics. You’ll push away visitors and sabotage your SEO score by doing these. Instead, publish genuine content that visitors will really benefit from. You’ll be surprised at how far authenticity can go – even on the web.

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