Black-hat SEO can be defined as deceptive and underhand techniques used to scale up to higher rankings in search results. Most people tend to underestimate the potency of search engines in determining whether the techniques used are appropriate or deceitful. However, search engines are getting smarter by the day and can figure out whether you use improper tactics and strategies to fool them.
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■ INTRODUCTION TO SEO
Black-hat SEO may get results in the short term, but eventually you will be penalized by the search engines. The following are a few ways these techniques are implemented:
- Stuffing keywords into content: Using massive numbers of keywords in your content may achieve short-term gains. However, if the keywords are not relevant to your content and are placed there just to fool the search engines, then eventually your site may be penalized. Remember, SEO is all about quality, not quantity; if your content is not good enough and is packed with keywords, your site may not be visible in the top search results because you are being penalized by the search engines.
- Link farming: Buying links is never fruitful, because the search engines will know you are manipulating them. Using inappropriate links pointing to your website is detrimental because the search engines will realize that the links have no relevance and are not authentic. For example, suppose your site offers plumbing services to people in Florida.
If several links on a travel website in Toronto point to your site, it doesn’t make sense: travel services are in no way connected to plumbing services. Using such deceptive techniques can have long-term consequences and may even result in your site being delisted from search results.
- Doorway pages and cloaking: Doorway pages are used to gain high rankings in search results in a deceitful manner. These pages contain keywords and phrases that are picked up by search-engine bots and crawlers.
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Once you click to access the page, you are redirected to the actual page that the site owners want you to visit.
Cloaking is a mechanism that renders a page visible to search engines but not website users. This short-sighted technique can prove detrimental in the long run. Google has announced penalties for using doorways, deceptive redirects, and cloaking. There is much more to black-hat SEO, which you learn about in later chapters. White-hat SEO is the opposite of black-hat SEO and is focused on using optimal, organic tactics to help your site rank higher in search results.
Usually it means adhering to the guidelines provided by the search engines and playing by the rules. Factors such as quality link building, user-engaging content, and optimal performance are some of the white-hat SEO strategies used by SEO consultants to streamline accessibility and visibility in search rankings. In short, you need to focus on user intent rather than try to fool the search engines.