You may have heard of the infamous black hat SEO. Hearing about it now sounds like an urban legend that has eerily been practised by many before. Actually, black hat SEO is not an urban legend, no matter how less prevalent they may seem today. Some SEO companies may even practise it to this day, knowing or unknowingly. As the term implies, black hat SEO would not do your online presence any good. Allow us to share with you a few of the red flags that you may be doing black hat SEO.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Let’s put it this way: one method writes for actual readers or users on the Internet while the other one writes for SEO. The first method creates content that will be geared towards the interest of their target audience. This offers the efforts of creating genuine content that the users will also genuinely click, love, and share. This can make pages rank higher in SERPs in the most organic way. The other method will be pulling SEO strategies that are geared to appearing as much as possible online, with the attempts to rank high in SERPs. With this method, you can pull just any stunt—this is Black Hat SEO and the other, White Hat SEO. Since search engines like Google are now focused more than ever towards user experience, they now start penalising those who use black hat SEO—those who don’t go by the guidelines set by search engines.
What are the Red Flags of Black Hat SEO?
Now that you know a few things about Black Hat SEO, you may not know it but even you might not be safe from it. Some SEO strategists still practise Black Hat SEO without knowing it. With that said, here are a few red flags of Black Hat SEO:
1. Paid links
Links will be your best friends here with SEO, though not all the time. Businesses opt for SEO because it offers more cost-efficient publicity than relying on expensive paid advertisements. With SEO, paid links are one of the things that are frowned upon and are deemed as Black Hat SEO. Instead of generating content, some just choose to buy links. The anchor chosen for this is must be chosen according to customer preferences. Once users view this anchor text, they will be redirected by a link to another page. They then scatter their links to different domains. More often than not, the anchor text is not entirely related to the link where they redirect you, drastically making the user experience less conducive.
2. Keyword stuffing
Don’t you just hate it when with your every click, just another page reappears because apparently, there are just too much keywords embedded on a text? This is called keyword stuffing—an activity where a keyword appears far too many time in order to make it rank higher on SERPs. If you’ve ever read a text that has a few phrases that don’t make sense, this is probably keyword stuffing.
3. Hidden links and invisible texts
Hidden links are links hidden on pages. Users may not see them, but search engine spiders can still sense this and can still rank you on SERPs. It can manifest in many ways like placing text behind an image. It can also be by off-screen links or text with font size zero. It can also be by linking a small part of a text. This can be pretty tricky.
Another example of hidden links is invisible texts. Invisible texts are lists of keywords (in white) hidden on a white background. With this method, users won’t be able to see the keywords but search engines can still sense it.
4. Spams and duplicate content
We’re pretty certain that everyone hates spams. You may have run across numerous worthless messages and comments that contain non-related promotional links. These spam comments are supposed to create free backlinks, though these links are a nofollow and transfer no SEO juice. The joke is on them, though, that this technique is just a waste of time.
However, it is one of the most popular black hat SEO practices which might not be done manually, but with the help of tools that can plant comments across the Internet. This can be bad for your blog as it can make it look unprofessional.
Duplicate content, on the other hand, refers to a content only copied and pasted from another page and domains. As search engines aim for user experience, they would most certainly prefer unique content.
There are a lot of things and practises that can manifest as black hat SEO. Some may not even be aware of it. With this, it is necessary to detect and avoid these kinds of SEO techniques. To keep you on track, it is best to choose an SEO company in Singapore that ensures to use white hat SEO, like OOm.