January 3, 2022

What is Black HAT SEO?

In the world of SEO, there are two paths to take: right and wrong. Unfortunately, taking shortcuts for a quick, short-term result is not always the best solution. Black Hat SEO is a practice of using unethical techniques to increase the rankings of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs). These techniques generally violate the search engine’s terms of service and can result in a website being penalized or even banned from the search engine’s index. Common methods used in Black Hat SEO include keyword stuffing, link farms, hidden text, and link manipulation. But Google can detect this and, as a result, penalize sites by devaluing them in search results.

To properly optimize a website, SEO tactics should be used with caution. It’s essential to take a holistic approach and focus on quality more than quantity. That way, a site can gain an advantage over competitors and still be in line with Google’s policies.

The takeaway is clear: always look for the right way to get the job done. Following the rules may take more time and effort, but it will ultimately pay off.

So, what are the rules of Google?

As with the algorithm, the rules have changed throughout the years to combat those who exploited loopholes in Google’s effort to bring relevant content to users. At its core, Google wants to serve its users with the most relevant and quality content applicable to their search query. Their algorithm is designed to assess the relevance of the sites they have indexed and deliver them to searchers when appropriate. For a complete breakdown of the rules, check out the Google Webmasters Guidelines and reference the video below.

With an understanding of the rules, it should be fairly obvious that Black Hat SEO is any tactic that violates the Webmaster Guidelines. Black hat SEO tactics work and they often work fast. However, much like the aforementioned poor building methods, over time problems will begin to arise; possibly in the form of penalties. There’s no definitive number of violations that will result in a penalty or any way to know exactly what penalty was levied once penalized.

To complicate matters further, there are two types of penalties.

Manual Penalty

A manual penalty from Google is a penalty that a Google Search Quality team member has imposed. This penalty can be given for various reasons, including violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, such as keyword stuffing or cloaking. A manual penalty can result in a drop in rankings and/or removal from Google’s index.

If a website has been given a manual penalty, the owner should receive a message in the Google Search Console with details of the penalty. This message should contain the specific issue that caused the penalty and any steps needed to fix it. It is crucial to address the matter as soon as possible to avoid further penalties or being removed from the index completely. After the issue has been fixed, the website owner should submit a reconsideration request to Google to have the penalty removed.

Algorithmic Penalty

An algorithmic penalty from Google is a penalty that is applied when a website is found to violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This penalty is applied automatically by Google’s algorithms and can result in a website’s rankings being lowered in search results.

Google algorithms are constantly updating and changing, so webmasters need to monitor their websites for any violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. The most common violations include keyword stuffing, link scheming, cloaking, and hidden text. If any of these activities are found on a website, the website could be subject to an algorithmic penalty from Google.

The severity of the penalty depends on the type and amount of violations found on the website. In some cases, the penalty may be a simple loss of rankings, while in others, it could be a more severe penalty such as removing the website from Google’s index. Therefore, it is important for webmasters to adhere to Google’s guidelines in order to avoid any algorithmic penalties from Google.

More about penalties

Black hat SEO is a type of unethical practice that can be used to manipulate search engine rankings and gain an unfair advantage over competitors. It is a deceptive practice that can lead to severe consequences, such as penalties and being banned from search engine listings. When it comes to penalties, bouncing back is both costly and time-consuming. In some cases, starting from scratch with a new URL could be the smarter and cheaper option than attempting to lift the penalty.

It’s not worth the danger of lost profits and wasted marketing funds to go for black hat SEO tactics. All benefits from SEO efforts are lost, and the budget needs to shift from marketing to penalty recovery or a new website build. The temporary advantages of black hat strategies are attractive but risky. Alternatively, establishing a solid SEO plan can lead to greater brand awareness, lead generation, and ROI from spent marketing dollars.