Website optimization for search engines stays one of the best ways to improve online presence, reach significant brand awareness and improve revenue. In order to achieve all these goals, everyone should optimize the business website in the correct way and avoid some SEO techniques that look suspicious to the search engine.
During all these years, Google detected and penalized those kinds of SEO techniques and refers to them as misleading and manipulating. All those are included in the Black-hat SEO category and no business owner should optimize his website using those techniques.
In this article, we will cover the practices that will ruin your website performance and will hinder the expected goals. By learning about their negative impacts, you can avoid these techniques and focus on effective optimization for your website.
What Black-hat SEO Means
Google has specific guidelines, and all website optimization processes should meet the requirements. You will be promoted and rewarded if your website meets the guideline. However, this is not a short game, and you need to make an investment for a while. Sometimes, business owners feel impatient with SEO results and the Black-hat SEO techniques may look attractive since they can bring some quick improvements, violating the search engine’s guidelines. However, this will not last long as Google will penalize the website. In short, Black-hat SEO includes manipulating techniques that violate the search engine’s guidelines and can be the reason for further penalties.
The penalties can be reflected in different ways, depending on the website’s wrong optimization. Those can be:
- Drop in ranking positions, losing many ranking keywords,
- Consequently, a drop in organic traffic and conversion,
- De-indexation of the exact page or the whole website.
It’s rather easy to lose all the achievements than to recover the website’s previous performance after the penalty. The best practice in this occasion is avoiding that kind of stuff and patiently optimizing the website in the right way. To perform your website optimization process better these are the main black-hat techniques that everyone should avoid:
1. Poor Content
Google always stands for the user’s side and shows quality content to its readers. It has released the Panda update that estimates the quality level of your website content. If you want to rank in higher positions, you need to produce detailed and quality content that attracts your readers’ interest. You will hardly get ranked with your low-quality articles. So, by providing value to your reader you will make a good investment in your content quality and upcoming performance.
2. Plagiarism Content
This type of content is also regarded as poor content, as you are stealing from other websites, without featuring them. This practice is risky as that website owner may sue you for that. From the SEO perspective, the search engine easily detects duplicate content and understands which one is the original. The outcome will be a drop in the rankings or de-indexing of the page.
Instead of plagiarizing your competitors’ content, it will be more effective to do deep research to find the gaps in the content. Based on the gained information produce more detailed content with up-to-date statistics.
3. Spinning Content
To avoid plagiarizing content, spinning has become one of the Black-hat trends. This action is a quick and good way to bypass the penalty. This practice involves replacing certain words with synonyms to make the content original. It is not uncommon for new website owners to spin articles in order to fill their website content. However, Google is rather intelligent and is able to detect that kind of practice. Also, it is easy to find the spun content by comparing your website with your competitors.
Instead of these kinds of techniques, just do everything correctly:
- Produce high-quality, unique content,
- Update and optimize your old articles,
- Include up-to-date statistics in your content,
- Make your blog posts SEO-friendly and well-structured,
- Conduct an effective content marketing strategy.
4. Keyword Stuffing
our well-structured content should be optimized for the keyword to get ranked on Google. Unfortunately, this approach has been associated with keyword stuffing for those, who are not aware of SEO too much. The practice includes using the target keyword in the text too many times so the text sounds unnatural and artificial. One should remember that the target keyword should be used naturally, having the keyword density in front. Google easily detects the stuffed keywords and you may never have that page ranked. To define your target keyword you should conduct deep keyword research and find a suitable keyword.
5. Hidden Content
This kind of content is regarded as cheating and manipulating starting from the early days of search engine development. People thought that in this way they can have more texts containing their keywords which will make search engines improve the rankings of the website. However, search engines find this spam, consider it unfair, and penalize the website. To hide the content, people place the text behind the images, using too small or 0 font, so that can be invisible to the user but to the search engine. One should always remember that you are writing for the user and optimizing for search engines.
6. Cannibalizing the Keywords
It’s really annoying for SEO specialists to face the keyword cannibalization issue when two pages are optimized and ranked for the same keyword. By doing this, you are breaking up the internal competency, which is bad from an SEO perspective. Even though you may expand your presence in SERP and have some improvements, however, that will not last too long as Google will detect that and will remove your second page.
Instead of all these keyword-misleading techniques:
- Optimize your website and blog posts for relevant keywords.
- Use them in the content properly and avoid tricky actions.
- Choose one unique target keyword for each page.
- Also, include alternative keywords in the content.
- Use your branded keywords by optimizing your website for branded search and improve your brand awareness.
7. Unnatural Mentions
Thanks to backlinks, you will increase the possibilities to rank, as the backlinks transfer the link equity. The more backlinks you have, the more authority your website will gain. However, not all backlinks will work, as there are many nuances to pay attention to before getting featured. Unnatural backlinks will not only work for your website but also will harm your website’s performance. These kinds of links will not transfer any equity, as they are not relevant. Google algorithm reads the content with the links, and it has become so intelligent within these years that it easily detects link issues. Despite the possibility of having a backlink from a high-authority website, it would be harmful to your website if it wasn’t relevant.
8. Link Farming
As far as link building is a rather time-consuming and a little bit hard process, people found an easy and quick way to get backlinks. One of the common ways for that is link farming when one creates different low-quality websites and links back to each other trying to increase the authority of his targeted page/website. Google finds this violation, misleading, too, and penalizes the websites. Your website rankings will significantly drop, and it will be rather hard to recover.
Instead, try to get relevant and natural backlinks from high-quality websites. There are several link-building techniques to use in practice and get results. It will take time and much effort; however, high-quality and natural backlinks will transfer value and benefit your website’s performance quickly. The most important feature to remember is the relevancy between the context and your link.
9. Doorway Pages
It is one of the most black-hat SEO techniques with serious consequences. The doorway page is the created page for the specific search query. Sometimes, website owners may create different pages for the same keyword thinking of increasing the chances to appear in high positions in that way. This example will make the process clear:
“X Best Cars for New York this Year”
“Top X Cars Arizona next Year”
You create these pages and link to the “X Best Cars for this Year” page to increase its authority to get ranked on the first page.
Generally, those pages don’t have unique content and have similarities with fewer modifications.
The same situation can be done at the website level, creating two different websites for the same search query.
Google has a separate update, customized for doorway pages, and does its best to get rid of doorway page-owning websites. Ideally, there should be only one page covering the topic in depth on this occasion.
10. Outdated Website Design
Keeping your website design up to date will work for you, as the design really impacts SEO. Since most of the users are doing searches with their mobile phones, Google runs a separate update, especially for mobile. It is recommended to have a responsive website design. Your website should be mobile-friendly, have an optimized loading speed, and have simple navigation. Combining all these optimizations in one place, your website will avoid Google penalties.
Summarizing the SEO Techniques You Should Avoid
No one should include these Black-hat SEO techniques in their website optimization process. However, the outcome of SEO optimization can be seen after a while, be patient and continue optimizing your website based on Google’s guidelines. If everything is done correctly, your website will face the reward sooner or later. Keeping these Black-hat SEO practices in mind, produce valuable content, have them appropriately optimized with your target keyword, and earn high-quality backlinks. Only in this way, your website will reach tangible results.
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