With so many businesses and websites similar to yours on the internet, you’ll need the help of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to ensure that yours gets to the top of search results. Knowing this, there are two kinds of commonly-known SEO techniques that specialists practice: the White Hat and the Black Hat.
White Hat SEO refers to techniques that follow the terms and conditions set by major search engines. In other words, they’re known as the “legitimate” way to handle SEO. Black Hat SEO, on the other hand, are looked down on due to them violating terms of service and are seen as a dishonest way of ranking. While it can still boost your website’s ranking to an extent, getting caught practicing these techniques will cause you to get penalised or even banned from the search engine itself.
Avoiding Black Hat SEO practices is something that you have to do if you want to have a successful business website. This article provides you with a few Black Hat SEO techniques to avoid along with some White Hat alternatives that you can practice instead.
Black Hat SEO techniques you need to avoid and their White Hat alternatives
1. Keyword stuffing
Keywords are essential items that, when implemented correctly to your content, will help your website rank in SERPs. A higher ranking in SERPs will always lead to more traffic and possibly conversions. This often leads to some websites publishing content that are stuffed with keywords.
Keyword stuffing is the practice of repeating your focus keyword, or another variation of it, as much as possible throughout the page’s contents. Also known as spamdexing, this method would no doubt make your content seem incomprehensible, inconvenient and downright irritating. It will also harm your SEO campaign once Google and your users catch on to what you’re trying to do. Despite this, some websites practice this method in a misguided attempt to rank higher.
Alternative: Focus on high-quality content with naturally-implemented keywords that fit your page’s messages well. Google ranks pages based on the quality of their content, not by the amount of times you repeat a keyword.
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2. Buying links
Inbound links are one of the best ways to improve traffic to your website. It’s also a good method of boosting your Google rank. Also called backlinks, inbound links are an off-site SEO element and are done by having another website link some of their content to yours.
This might make you think that buying links is an easy way to get that sweet boost for your website. Although link-buying is an easy way to increase backlinks, doing this goes against Google’s guidelines. If you get caught by Google, or if one of the link farms you bought a backlink from is considered suspicious, it will hurt your SEO efforts.
Alternative: Start link-earning efforts that will generate natural backlinks. One of the easiest ways to get other businesses to link your pages is to create high-quality content, often in the form of blog articles. The content should be aimed towards your target audience or to businesses with a similar industry to yours. If your content is good enough, then other businesses will most likely start linking to it.
Related: 5 Reasons Why Blogging is Now a Must-Have for Your Website
3. Internal link stuffing
Internal linking is the practice of linking another page in your website to one of your page’s contents. This practice provides benefits for your website namely:
- A boost in page views. Content provided through internal linking, if relevant, will push your users to read more articles.
- Increases the time users spend on your website. Similar to the first benefit, relevant links will increase the time your users spend reading and browsing on your website.
- Helps with crawling and indexing. A strong internal architecture via internal links will help bots browse through your web pages that aren’t normally visited by users.
- Spreads link juice. Link juice measures how much power a backlink passes onto another site.
- Improves PageRank. PageRank is an algorithm used by Google to rank pages in their SERPs. It works by determining the quality and number of links to a page.
Similar to keyword stuffing, providing too many internal links leads to link stuffing. This term refers to incorporating too many internal links to your content. It makes your page seem spammy. Also, PageRank is split between the internal links you’ve incorporated. So the more internal links you put in, the less valuable they get.
Alternative: Keep internal links relevant, but minimal. Two to three internal links is enough within a single page. Google prefers naturally-occuring links that lead to your website.
4. Duplicating content
“In the world of online marketing, content is king.”
Content is important if you want your website’s ranking to get boosted to the top of SERPs. Since all the information within this industry is already widely known and available for every business and specialist practicing it, it might be difficult to come up with original content that no one has discussed before.
Knowing this, black hat SEO specialists take content from another site, or from their own, and make a few, very minor tweaks to it in an attempt to pass it off as new. Although it may be easy to hide, there are a set of disadvantages that this technique might bring to your table. When users start noticing that your content is an exact copy of other web content within the same search result, this leads to poor user experience. Moreover, Google penalises duplicate content, possibly leading to your website being removed from SERPs.
Alternative: Monitor updates and all the latest news within your industry and publish content based on those. It might also be worth creating content focused on incoming holidays or important events. You can also publish articles that are specifically-tailored to your target audience.
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5. Hidden text
As mentioned before, using keywords is a good way to increase page rankings. But incessantly repeating keywords throughout a page’s content can make it really hard and annoying for the reader to understand.
To get around this issue, black hat SEO specialists “hide” keywords all throughout the webpage. In a way, this can be considered a form of keyword stuffing. The only difference is that the repeated keywords are hidden from the user’s view by setting its font colour the same as the background colour.
This might fool users, but Google bots aren’t so easy to dupe. Doing this will penalise your website and will only help you achieve the opposite of what you’re aiming for.
Alternative: Fortunately, not all hidden texts are considered deceptive, according to Google. Sometimes, search engines have trouble accessing certain web content like images and videos. Adding descriptive texts to these elements will help improve your website’s accessibility, thus improving UX. Transcripts for videos can also be helpful for users with a slower-than-average internet speed.
Up your SEO game with the help of Verz Design
Verz Design is one of the leading web design agencies in Singapore with over a decade’s worth of experience. Over the years, we’ve developed websites for more than 3,000 active clients, spanning across a variety of industries. We can guarantee you that our SEO services are all White Hat, clean and effective! With these in mind, we’re sure that we have what it takes to bring your business website to the top.