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When it comes to SEO, there are generally two ways of going about things; white hat and black hat SEO.

White hat SEO is the name given to the tactics that follow the “rules” of the internet; mainly the tactics that follow Google’s rules, best practices, and strategies. Black hat SEO refers to the tactics that try to manipulate, or cheat, the system that Google has set in place.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO is the act of going against search engine guidelines to manipulate search engine results pages (SERPs) for higher rankings. Marketers found to be using black hat methods can be issued Google penalties, be wiped from search engines, or see metrics completely drop.

What are Some Black Hat SEO Techniques?

The entire point of SEO and search engine algorithms is to provide users with best possible experience and results for whatever search query they use. Using black hat methods means you are no longer trying to care for the user, but instead are only caring about the search engines. This means these marketers are effectively stealing higher SERP positions from those who are using well-established and organic white hat methods. Here are some common black hat SEO techniques:

Low-Quality Content

Does low-quality content mean content that is just not up-to-par when it comes to grammar or the subject matter? Not at all. To Google, low-quality content can be any of the following: an existing article that has just been paraphrased by another writer, or computer. This used to be easy to bypass until 2011 when Google released their Google Panda algorithm update.

As we mentioned before, the primary purpose of Google is to provide the users with as positive of an experience as possible, and this includes the content they see. This means that serving duplicate content would give users a negative experience. This is exactly why Google punishes pages that utilize this tactic.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is exactly as it sounds. You are stuffing your content with any and all keywords you can think of to help you rank higher than the rest. We all know how important keywords are for rankings and traffic, so you might be thinking “why is this a bad thing?” Well, Google is only getting smarter and it is able to tell when a piece of content has been manipulated with keywords rather than organically occurring.

Google has laid out exactly what they deem to be keyword stuffing:

Paying for Links

Links are the lifeblood of SEO. Having external links point to your website is what shows Google that your site is trustworthy and authoritative, so it’s impossible to not have backlinks be a part of your SEO strategy. That being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to acquire those links.

Getting new links as a new site can be extremely difficult because why would anyone link to a site that doesn’t have any traffic or authority to transfer to their site? It’s that exact reason why many SEOs will fall back to paying for links. There are many sites that will either charge money or services to place content and links on their site.

This is bad for you because not only does it break Google’s guidelines, but it can also hurt your website in the long run. As we said before, links are the lifeblood of SEO. What we mean by this is that links can help transfer “value” from one site to another. So, if you have one of your links on another website, that link will transfer the value of the other site to yours. But, if that website has no value, or even a negative value, that will also transfer to your site.

These websites where you purchase links rarely have any real value and will typically be seen as “toxic” to Google. And when Google finds your link on that site, that toxic value is now being transferred to your site, resulting in worse rankings.

It is possible to see results in the short-term after buying links, but it is only a matter of time until Google finds those links and punishes your site for using them. That is why it’s easier to just avoid them altogether.

If it seems like all the simple ways of gaining links are deemed black hat SEO tactics, then you’d be right. But that doesn’t change the fact that gaining links is a very important part of SEO. If you need help with backlinks or any other SEO services, contact us today.

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