There are so many tactics you can include in your search engine optimisation campaign that will help you boost your search rankings and get more site traffic. With so many good options out there, there are also some not-so-good options that are actually unethical and penalised by Google.
These tactics are called black hat tactics and your business should never resort to using them. Marketers who use them risk harming their website, page rank, standing with Google and reputation.
You should use keywords throughout your site’s content, but you shouldn’t fill the page with them. Keyword stuffing is the process of using keywords too often, in your content or meta descriptions, solely to rank for them.
What to do Instead: Use keywords naturally on all of your pages.
Hidden text is text that is the same colour as a site’s background, so it is invisible to readers but still crawled by search engines. This tactic is becoming less common but some businesses still try to use it.
What to do Instead: Do not use hidden text, but include keywords naturally throughout your site’s content.
Paid links, or links on other pages that point to your website for a fee, are frowned upon. This strategy may help you gain some rankings in the beginning, but will backfire in the long run.
What to do Instead: Get links through guest blog posts, media coverage, directories, earned media, press releases and other natural tactics.
Google also penalises paid reviews. Reviews on sites like Yelp and Google can help your rankings, but paid reviews won’t help your optimisation efforts and could hurt your ranking.
What to do Instead: Encourage your customers to write reviews about your business and work to get good reviews by providing excellent products and services.
Link farming is another black hat tactic that Google discourages. Link farm websites are sites that link to thousands of unrelated websites in an effort to help them rank. Getting links on these pages will hurt your search rankings.
What to do Instead: Build links from legitimate and trustworthy sites instead of link farming sites.
Duplicate content doesn’t help your rankings. Content scraping, or the act of taking content from another website and publishing it on your own, isn’t just unethical, it will bring penalties and low rankings.
What to do Instead: Write high-quality, original content for your website. Be sure to include keywords naturally throughout your site.
Webpage flooding is the process of using software to create hundreds or thousands of pages full of internal links and keywords so that your website seems bigger than it really is. These pages are only seen by search engines and are not accessible to your visitors. This is deceiving search engines, and won’t help you gain page rank.
What to do Instead: Strategically build your website with pages that have keywords and internal links but do not create fake pages to earn rankings.
Comment spam is a black hat link building technique. This refers to leaving spammy comments on blogs or forums just to get links back to your website.
What to do Instead: Leave helpful, insightful and real comments on blogs that are related to your industry. Doing this the right way may even help you get some traffic from the sites where you leave comments.
Gateway pages, sometimes called doorway pages, are penalised by search engines. These pages are set up to gain rankings and are only visible to search engines, but automatically redirect viewers to other pages.
What to do Instead: Work to build page rank for the real pages on your website, and don’t create fake pages for the sake of earning rankings.
Social Media Spam
Social media spam is an SEO tactic that won’t help you get rankings. Posts and messages that are full of links or nonsense and messages that are sent too often and aren’t targeted hurt your rankings and your brand.
What to do Instead: Use social media marketing to connect with your market, promote your business and build your online reputation. As you do this your SEO campaign will benefit as well.
Black hat SEO strategies will harm your campaign, website and business. Avoid these tactics and use ethical, strategic tactics instead, which will help you gain more organic traffic and improve your business.