This is an IMPORTANT question to address because it is important to know the difference between black hat and white hat SEO practices. This is particularly relevant if you are considering hiring an SEO agency.
Black hat SEO is a set of unethical practices that are used by computer hackers, virus creators and bad SEO agencies.
These practices are used to increase the rank of a page in search engines in ways that violate the search engines terms and conditions.
Basically, it is anything that search engines see as trying to manipulate their results. You can get penalized for using black hat methods.
Black hat SEO includes but is not limited to:
Cloaking is a black hat SEO technique whereby the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user’s browser.
It is used in order to manipulate, and trick search engines into giving the relevant site a higher ranking.
Redirecting involves sending a visitor to a different URL than the one they actually requested. This is, of course, acceptable in the case where you have moved your site to a new address.
However, just like cloaking, this technique is highly deceptive because it attempts to show different content and can take a visitor to an unexpected place.
Hidden text or links.
Hiding text by:
- Using white text on a white background
- Setting the font size to zero
- Using CSS to position text off the screen
- Putting text behind an image
Is also a deceptive practice and a violation of the search engine’s terms of service.
Doorways are pages that are created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because it results in them ending up at the same destination or pages that are not as useful as the final destination.
An example of this scenario is: having multiple domain names that are targeted to specific cities that then funnel users to one page.
Keyword stuffing is a practice where specific keywords are used several times within web copy in an attempt to manipulate the ranking of the page.
This violates the search engines terms because it has a horrible effect on user experience.
Why you should avoid black hat SEO
Assuming that you’re trying to build a long-term business, you should avoid all black hat SEO techniques like the plague!
This is because using such methods can get your site banned from search engines.
You really can’t afford to get your site de-indexed.
So make sure that you stick to alternative methods of improving your search engine ranking.
I hope this has given you a deeper insight into some of the black hat SEO techniques.
For more SEO definitions, check out this glossary on the Pearl Lemon website.