The top goal of digital marketing is to get your products and services in the place where they will be most noticed by your clients. This privileged spot is right at the top of the search engine ranking result’s page associated with your keywords.
Just as in any game, there will be techniques and solutions to winning that fall within the rules and guidelines of the game and those that could be considered cheating. In the game of SEO, those questionable methods and techniques are called black hat techniques. While many websites and online endeavors employ black hat SEO techniques, their use has a set of consequences that should be considered.
What Are Black Hat SEO Techniques?
Any techniques that do not follow the guidelines set out by Google for properly ranking your site, can be considered black hat. While these tend to have dramatic results in the short term, once they are discovered by internet crawlers, they carry with them scathing reprisals that are best avoided.
To keep you on the safe side of search engines and making progress toward your online goals, here are 5 Black Hat SEO techniques that can potentially ruin your search engine rankings.
1. Keyword Stuffing
You will need a good amount of keywords on your page so that your visitors and search engines know exactly what they will find when they arrive. But, placing too many keywords on your web page can be just as bad as having too few.
Some misguided webmasters will stuff their content to the gills with keywords hoping to make it more attractive to the search engines, but this high keyword content reduces the readability of your page and can incur a penalty.
2. Duplicate Content
Copying your content from other sites and posting it on your own site as if you had written this content is called “plagiarism” and will be identified very quickly by the Google Search Bot. Those that are found with duplicate content will have their rankings reduced. The best way to avoid this is to not use the entire content, just copy and paste the part you need and be sure to link back to the original source.
3. Doorway And Gateway Pages
One of the more advanced black hat tricks is kind of hard for the Google bot to detect, but when it does you can be sure the penalizations are very heavy.
Doorway or gateway pages have very little importance to the website or the user, but they are loaded with keywords and calls to action that improve rankings. Sometimes these pages succeed in getting ranked by accident.
So, even though this technique may be ok in the very short term if you have no future plans for this domain and its pages. If you are building a long-term SEO campaign you will not want to get your Domain Authority dropped and therefore it is best to avoid this technique.
Clickbait is getting more and more common online. This sneaky trick will allow you to drive a lot of misguided traffic to your website in hopes of increasing your rankings. The idea is that by using especially eye-catching titles and images the curious visitors will click on the link and be sent wherever the webmaster chooses. Of course, the page they will be directed to rarely have anything to do with the link they originally clicked.
While this may attract a fair bit of misguided traffic, the amount of time they will stay at the site will be very short as they soon find that this is not what they were looking for. This will increase the bounce rate and eventually begin hurting rankings. The best thing to do is to use clickbait as much as you can but keep it honest and factual.
5. Link Buying
Building a healthy set of top-quality backlinks is one of the best ways to boost your presence in the online rankings. This can be done with sites with a very high domain authority to gain some domain authority for yourself as well.
But, if this is not done properly, the results will not be the same. Many websites will begin purchasing links in bulk and this can have the opposite effect to the one you were hoping for.
In the end, it may seem like there are plenty of good reasons to begin using black hat SEO techniques on your website. For one the results can be enjoyed very quickly whereas white hat SEO can take much longer to bring about any worthwhile results. But in the end, black hat SEO will do much more harm than good.