Semalt Expert: Why To Stay Away From Black Hat SEO?

It is the intention of every person that owns or builds a website to have it serve a purpose. Getting penalized by recognized search engines is not one of them. SEO has both a good and a dark side. Among the good SEO practices that abide by the rules are the creation of relevant and easy-to-find content that meets the needs of a target audience.

The dark side of SEO involves methods better known as "black hat." They include any unethical activities that help rank a website high on the SERP. The people involved with black hat techniques usually try to cut corners to gain significant traffic without putting in work.

Igor Gamanenko, a top specialist from Semalt Digital Services, characterizes them in the following way:

  • They do not adhere to the search engine rules and regulations
  • Poor user experience
  • Unethical presentation of content in both visual and non-visual ways

Initially, most of what is now considered to be black hat were thought to be legitimate ways to get traffic and rank high in the SERPs. It was not until the SEO community discovered that their continued usage put websites and brands at risk. It undermined the overall quality of the site as well as its relevance on the search results page. The benefits of using black hat techniques are short-lived and provide limited gains in ranking. Furthermore, if the owner of the site is found to use such techniques, search engines tend either penalize the site or ban it from appearing in search engine results (which is rare). Penalties have negative implications on the search traffic as well as rankings. Black hat strategies offer a short-sighted solution to the problem that all business currently face, which is to provide relevance to their customers on a continuous basis into the future.

SEO experts advise against using any of the following methods to gain traffic to the site:

Keyword Stuffing

It involves including as many of the high-ranking keywords into the website's content to increase visibility and chance of appearing in the search results for several queries. When doing so, it makes the content unnatural, and when search engines find this out, they penalize the site since it undermines the user experience objective of search engines.

Invisible Text

The technique involves embedding a series of keywords on a white background, making it invisible to the visitors. However, the black hat knows that the spiders crawling the site will find them and index them, consequently making the domain appear on the search results page. Users are directed to the page only to find irrelevant content and thus, a poor experience.

Doorway Pages.

These are fake landing pages which present the crawl spiders and users with entirely different content and URLs. They are attempts to manipulate the search engine to rank the site higher.

Black hat strategies, however unethical, are very tempting and it is very understandable since they have short-term results. However, if the website is found out, it stands to lose more in its ranking, or worse yet, banned from the SERPs.