A formal definition of black hat SEO is doing things which are against search engine guideline to achieve ranking quickly which is not possible ethically. Either you do it intentionally, or get it done accidentally, when search engine detects it, your website will get penalized from search engine result pages.
As per the current ability and sense of search engines for detecting such a kind of behavior, we must avoid black hat SEO at any cost, if you want to achieve long lasting results through quality SEO services and thinking about long term goals.
First, let’s have a quick look at old and popular black hat SEO techniques and then discuss about newly introduced or announced techniques due to updates in search algorithm.
Popular and Old Black Hat SEO Techniques So Far
Black Hat in Website Optimization
- Keyword stuffing in content, Title, Meta, ALT tag, URL or any other portion of your website
- Hidden text in the content for ease of delivering more quantity to search engine bot
- Cloaking : Showing different content to search engine and users
- Copying and scraping content from other authority websites through RSS
- Large no. of URLs Redirected to your targeted website from your own domain or from other domains, with intention of increasing PR of that page.
Black Hat in Link Building
- Acquiring links from High Authority and high PR irrelevant sites.
- Links from blog and forum network without meaning and relevancy
- Participating in link farm or link networks
- Large quantity of Links from Same IP addresses websites
- Using the same content among large no. of websites and content marketing network with intentions of acquiring more backlinks
- Acquiring large no. of irrelevant links in short time
- Link exchange with High PR, authority and irrelevant websites
- Purchasing links from authority websites (sidewise links as a blog roll and footer links)
- Creating doorway pages with content intentionally developed around single key phrase for higher ranking for that specific phrase
- Promoting a website with various link building techniques with the same content
- Using duplicate content from other websites and utilizing it for link building
- Fixed pattern links from large no. of irrelevant and low quality websites
Disclaimer : Things mentioned in this post are considered as black hat and KingsWebMedia doesn’t encourage or motivate to follow any of the things mentioned here. We recommend you not to follow or try these things for your website, it may result in permanent penalty.
New things Introduced as Black Hat after Panda and Penguin Updates
Due to Panda and penguin algorithm updates, certain link building or the website optimization techniques, which were not being categorized as black hat, now get considered as things which may hurt your ranking. Till to the date, there are 23 updates in panda and 3 updates in Penguin imposed by Google. If you missed it, check out our posts “All Panda and Penguin updates” and “Recovery from Panda and penguin Updates”.
Over Optimization Penalty
Before Panda and Penguin updates, it was ok to focus too much on link building rather than website optimization. Due to this, webmasters focused more on website promotion through link building and gave less importance to website optimization by mean of content implementation or design updates.
As of now, we need to focus equally on both, having a great website and great links. Websites achieved ranking just with off page efforts, might have experienced over optimization penalty.
Link Relevancy, Quality, Authority and Other Parameters
Previously, using the same anchor text in large quantity was a key tactic to acquire top position for that keyword. Now, we need to vary our anchor text and need to map keywords on pages accordingly, instead of creating links with single keyword as an anchor text.
Previously, getting links from high authority and high PR ( .gov and .edu domains) sites were working nicely. Now, we have to make sure those sites are relevant and natural without any financial arrangement.
Using low quality content for link building was not as sensitive as of now, and original content with low quality was working somehow. Now, more importance is given to content with high quality and uniqueness.
Links from high PR pages without having any relation between linking or linked domain, by mean of content or business theme.
While targeting the local audience of a different city or state, ideally, you should have a physical business location. In other words, targeting keywords which include city or name of a specific place, one should have their business location in that place.
Certain websites were targeting similar pattern of keywords just by replacing the name of city or state. It is the normal situation for websites like a yellow pages directory or large business portal, but just having webpages with content optimized for that keyword, it is not considered as natural. The websites with such keyword targeting pattern might have faced down ranking for that city specific keywords.
Creating Doorway pages on Your Own Website
Doorway pages within a domain are those pages for which, content is written with a focus on optimization of single keywords and that keyword link to your main targeted webpage. In other words, you create lots of pages on your own site without any meaningful content (even if the content is original) and link those pages to your main landing page for creating more interlinks, those pages are also called doorway pages and may signal for black hat.
Cloaking: Flash to HTML Versions and Desktop to Mobile Versions
This type of cloaking happens incidentally. When you have a flash website, you create alternative HTML versions for users who visit from browsers or device without any flash support. Sometimes, your script for detecting flash support misinterprets and shows alternative HTML to search engine bots as well. This will result in cloaking and can be avoided by integrating the same content in HTML, and in Flash version. Read our post “SEO for Flash Websites“for implementing best practices for flash websites.
Same way, when you create an alternative mobile website for mobile users, you need to switch the versions as per visitor’s device and browsers. Same way, search engine crawler for mobile content should be served mobile website and search engine crawler for desktop version with original website. This will also result in cloaking and can be avoided by specifying alternate versions of pages on each page or blocking search engine bot for mobile to crawl desktop version and bot for web content to the mobile website. Read our post “Complete Guide to Mobile SEO” for implementing best SEO practices for mobile websites.
Some of the things explained above happen accidentally and it is a duty of webmasters to make sure that your website doesn’t violate any of the things mentioned above, incidentally or intentionally.