Black Hat SEO Techniques in 2023- Exposed!
As the name suggests, Black Hat SEO is a practice played with tricks. The only difference is that, unlike a magician’s tricks that entertain a live audience, these SEO techniques include cheap and unethical tactics to fool search engines.
Many companies practice these techniques without realizing the damaging consequences to their site. This article intends to uncover the practices that may initially seem lucrative, but violate guidelines laid down by the search engines such as Google; and also aims to highlight the enriching benefits of White Hat SEO. As a skilled digital marketer, you should have adequate knowledge of both!
What are the Black Hat SEO techniques:
Despite being unethical, many companies indulge in these practices to improve page rankings. Few even succeed, but the achievement is always short-lived. It is a very risky task to trick the search engines as they are getting more sophisticated by the day.
Many sites are getting banned by search engines and affiliate sites and are also openly blacklisted by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines. Still, such SEO techniques are openly practiced. Let’s have a look at the most common ones:
1. Keyword Stuffing
As the name suggests, this technique means filling your content with too many keywords, so that the search engine ranks your page higher in SERPs. However, this simple technique to stuff keywords is now easily dodged as search engines continue to get smarter.
A decade ago, this SEO tactic was freely used to deceive search engines, but now it is not. It not only affects your site rankings in the long run but will also leave a bad taste in the mouth of your readers. That is why it is considered one of the important black hat SEO techniques.
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This simply means showing a different type of content to users and an entirely different piece of content to the search engines and it is one of the most popular black hat SEO techniques. This is kind of a trick to manipulate search engine bots from not discovering the spam content they serve the users. Websites practice this technique to rank their pages higher, with keywords that are irrelevant to their users.
Following a site migration or just updating a site can lead to redirects; it’s a fair practice. This helps a website in optimizing its pages in the SERPs. However, some marketers will initiate sneaky redirects to mislead users in the hope of letting search engines index pages before any user experience.
Another tactic that can be one of the black hat SEO techniques is to link an irrelevant page to a highly authoritative page with several backlinks to simply get a higher rank in the result page of search engines.
4. Poor Quality/Copied Content/ Hidden Texts
This is one of the black hat SEO techniques that will definitely hamper your site. Google has the algorithm to locate the original content and display it to the user. Content in today’s date plays a crucial role in website rankings. If your site lacks good quality content and is rather copied from another site, you are certainly going to be penalized.
Another way in which sites are manipulating content is by adding invisible keywords to the page. So, when a user types a keyword and opens a page in hope of finding their required information, the content is totally irrelevant because keywords might be hidden in the same color as the background.
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5. Link Schemes
Buying or selling links in order to rank your page higher is strictly banned by search engines. Unfortunately, many site owners are doing it, without even realizing that it’s an unethical SEO tactic. A search engine such as Google, states that if found, it will penalize both buyer and the seller of the links.
Therefore, you should totally abstain from this practice. Spam comments which aim to create free backlinks are also a big no in your list of SEO practices. Such spam comments undermine the overall user experience of your site or blog and can even make your readers uncomfortable in leaving genuine comments.
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6. Private Blog Networks (PBNs)
Another link scheme, PBNs are a collection of links of high authority websites. Their aim is to fool search engines from noticing the several websites they have networked with to rank their main website higher.
But, penalties are high if a website is caught connected to such PNBs as search engines have gotten clever in spotting them. It is advisable to create your own unique good quality content on your own website rather than spinning fake ones.
7. Abuse of Structured Data
Misuse of structured data by providing factually wrong information or creating fake sites to abuse the data is one of the widely used Black Hat SEO techniques. Known as schema or snippets, the work of this structured data is to make your site stand out on the search result pages and consequently increase traffic. But, marketers are filling incorrect information misleading the users. The best example to explain this tactic is the creation of fake users and writing fake reviews to bluff the search engines.
8. Negative SEO Tactics.
As negative as it can get, such practices include attacking the competitor’s sites and trying to sabotage their rankings. This is generally done by writing bad reviews, or flooding the site with spam links that are either of low quality or redirect to shady sites.
This technique is not only unethical but also a sheer waste of time and effort, as even if you outrank one site through these methods, there will be another site coming up pretty soon to outrank you.
- Other than the above mentioned, there are several other black hat SEO techniques such as URL hijacking, mirror sites, spams, HTML Heading over-optimization, which are being used to manipulate search engines.
Black Hat SEO Tools
Despite being unethical, several tools are being developed to practice SEO techniques that are regarded as unscrupulous. These include:
- Automatic Backlink
- SE Nuke
- GSA Search Engine Ranker
- GSA Content Generator
- Market Samurai
- The Best Spinner
- Tweet Attacks
- Traffic Booster Pro V3
- Long Tail Pro
Beware of these tools, as they will give you shortcuts to several SEO practices, but they all are unethical ways, and sooner or later, search engines will be able to detect and ban these techniques. Some of these tools might work great and deliver excellent results, however, it can be a huge risk to fall into their trap.
What is White Hat and Gray Hat SEO
White Hat SEO is just the opposite of black hat SEO techniques that means the right way to do SEO. In simple terms, if you aim to create a platform for your users in line with the guidelines and policies of the webmasters; which serves their purpose and gives them a fair overall experience, your methods of doing SEO fall under White Hat SEO.
Over the years search engines, such as Google have got updated and now can easily detect and punish sites for unethical practices. There is no law as such for most of the practices, however, your site can be banned, blacklisted, or heavily penalized for such practices.
White Hat SEO in 2023
Ethics is not the only reason for following White Hat SEO. There are benefits to your website which will lead to more traffic, better user experience, and higher ranking of your pages on search engines. Let us have a look at the benefits in detail so that any intention to implement unethical techniques is immediately diminished.
- Great Long Term Results: Few of the Black Hat SEO tactics can possibly give good results, but they are guaranteed short-lived. Adapting a White Hat SEO approach promises you better results in the long run.
- Successful Marketing Strategies: Targeting specific audiences with high-quality content as part of promotional strategies will attract long-term loyal users. These users will further promote your website on their social media, consequently expanding their audience reach.
- No Legal Hassles: Black hat SEO techniques can land you in legal trouble. Monetary penalties, business fraud, and even prison in extreme cases are the punishments for practicing these unethical methods of SEO.
White hat SEO will prevent you from all this because all the techniques are within the legal boundaries. You can earn through your digital marketing efforts, without having to worry about the law.
- Saves Time and Money: Black hat SEO techniques will require investments of both your efforts and finances. Paid links, content spamming, are the best examples of the same. To keep up with the changing algorithms of the search engines, you will have to be constantly on your toes. But with White Hat SEO, you can be free from the extra investment, plus from the pressure to constantly update as you will not be violating any rules.
Any Website that has Organically Implemented White Hat SEO in its Efforts will have:
- Unique and Good Quality Content: The information shared should be relevant and helpful to the targeted users.
- Proper Use of Keywords: Unlike the Black hat SEO techniques of keyword stuffing, White Hat SEO will follow the mentioned ratio of keywords by the search engines in an effort to rank on the websites.
- A Site that is Mobile Friendly and Easy to Navigate: Websites that have a smooth user interface tend to result better in organic searches.
- Improved Domain Authority: Your site’s domain authority will also improve if a number of genuine websites are directed to your site through hyperlinks. Therefore, the importance of link building is huge. Any shady SEO technique to buy fake links will be easily detected by the search engine algorithms and must be avoided by the marketers at any cost.
- Rich Snippets: Supported by Google’s schema tool, Rich Snippets are a great tool to rank your pages higher on the search engine. Rich Snippets are basically. HTML tags that are added to the pages create detailed descriptions that help users understand the page better and get what they are looking for.
There is a third kind of SEO, other than the Black Hat and the White Hat SEO – the Grey Hat SEO. As the name suggests, tactics of this type fall in a sketchy horizon of the SEO world. This practice combines methods of both the Black and White Hat SEO.
The tactics have not been identified yet as a threat by the search engines but can still be unethical. Not being in direct violation of the guidelines makes it more tempting for marketers, but it is still risky. As the guidelines of all the engines keep updating, you would never know when you might be caught with such practices.
Of course, White Hat SEO techniques can take a longer time to show results, but you don’t have to worry about a penalty being issued or your website being delisted. Your patience and efforts will give you desired results by staying in the good books of the search engines.
Why Avoid Black Hat SEO at all Costs:
1. It can have a Negative Impact on Your Search Rankings: It is quite evident that websites that have engaged in petty SEO tactics have been negatively affected, losing on rankings as well as traffic. Consequently, this will lead to losses in business revenues following a decline in conversions.
2. Dissatisfied Users: If a website truly wants to succeed, they need to provide an excellent user experience. This is what the search engines also ultimately aim for. But marketers practicing Black Hat SEO tactics only want to rank their page higher, mostly ignoring the requirements of the user.
This cannot sustain a successful business in the long run. If users are not happy, the traffic is eventually going to drop, and webmasters are going to notice that fall.
3. No Long Term Outcome: It has been repeatedly mentioned in this article that Google or any other search engine is constantly updating its algorithm. Once the faulty technique is detected, your site is certainly going to bear the outcome.
Therefore, be assured that the positive results you must be observed by manipulating search engine guidelines are short-lived. These risky techniques can never promise long-term success and sustainability.
How to Report:
Whether it’s a competitor or just a random site you found doing Black Hat SEO, it should be reported. No genuine marketer would want spammy sites to rank higher than them. But how to go about it?
The answer to this is simple. Any search engine will have the option to report such unethical practices. For eg., Google has Report spam, paid links, or malware pages. Reporting is easy and webmasters should be notified. Though the time for taking the necessary action could not be that quick, at least, reporting will enable the algorithm of the search engines to be updated of the spam.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What are Black Hat SEO tactics?
A . The most commonly practiced include – content spamming, keyword stuffing, paid links, redirects, cloaking, misused structured data.
2. Is Black Hat SEO illegal?
While the techniques are not technically illegal but are certainly unethical to practice. They violate webmasters guidelines and can be easily penalized by being banned or blacklisted.
3. Do Black Hat SEO techniques work?
A. For many marketers who are using these tactics, the results can be very positive. But it is damaging in the long run. The sites will see a drastic fall in traffic and visibility if the users and the search engines are being fooled.
4. What are the benefits of White Hat SEO?
A. Quality and relevant information are offered to the users for an overall satisfying experience; in return, the site gets more visibility, traffic, and rankings.
Despite the emergence of several Black Hat SEO tactics and the tools to apply them, these practices are not as common as one might think. Violating the guidelines of search engines can never guarantee an effective and successful long-term business plan.
Experts strictly recommend against using unethical SEO methods for your site. Rather, focus on organic tactics and rely on White Hat SEO to make your site more visible and rank higher on search engine result pages.