Shady SEO tactics can result in severe penalties for a website. Punishments can range from losing organic search engine traffic for a few days to losing it permanently.
While many “best practice” search engine optimization (SEO) techniques exist, there are a number of “worst practice” techniques that website owners must avoid to stay above board with the search engine giants.
Quite simply, link buying is the practice of purchasing links in an attempt to make a site seem more authoritative.
A common element of most search engine ranking algorithms is link popularity. To the search engines, the number of links that point to a domain is a measure of the authority and trustworthiness.
It is common for websites to try and cheat the system through link purchases.
Buying links should be avoided at all costs, because it is a violation in the eyes of most search engines and it can get a site banned from an index.
Cloaking refers to offering different content to search engines than to humans.
With cloaking, a web server will deliver different content based on whether the request is coming from a search engine or a Web browser. Search engines do not look favorably on cloaking.
Perhaps the most common form of black hat SEO, keyword stuffing crams a page’s content full of certain keywords to make the page appear more relevant for those keywords. Keyword stuffing is a very old-fashioned tactic that stopped working well a long time ago.
Keywords are important to a quality SEO campaign, but stuffing a page to the point where it doesn’t make any sense to the reader, will always land a website owner in hot water.
The use of hidden text is another attempt to offer one type of content to the search engines and another to humans.
Hidden text and keyword stuffing often appear together. Since keyword-stuffed text reads so poorly, the idea is to hide it from visitors while still having it read by the search engines.
Quality content is essential to a website’s success.
There are plenty of legitimate ways to balance content with aesthetics and conversions, and hidden content isn’t worth the risk.
The Internet is an important marketing tool for most companies, which is why it is as important as ever to ensure that marketing tactics are focused on the long-term health and success of a website.
The risks associated with black hat SEO tactics are never worth the reward.
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