Black Hat SEO: The Dark Side of SEO

Is our featured image really Darth Vader? How could that possibly relate to black hat SEO?

  • His intentions started out in alignment with the side of righteousness but resorted to darker means to get to his end goal
  • His helmet is black, after all

We won’t get into a dork argument with you (we totally could) and it’s okay if you disagree about Darth Vader, but for our purposes, Darth Vader is a decent representation of black hat SEO. Black hat SEO is using frowned-upon methods which are known to go against most search engines’ terms of service in order to get your website to rank higher.

A decade ago, a solid keyword strategy involved stuffing relevant words onto your website.

Webmasters tried everything: changing the color of the text to match the background, stuffing strange sounding language into the content, including five or more locations in the webpage title and meta description, publishing low-quality and hastily spun content, and more.

These black hat SEO strategies made websites rank high on Google, even when the sites’ content was terrible and uninformative.

But times have changed.

What’s Wrong With Black Hat SEO?

Strictly speaking: black hat SEO practices aren’t just bad for your business in the long term, they’re literally against terms of service and occasionally even illegal.

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So How Do I Know If My Current Strategies Are Black Hat SEO?

What’s the current goal of the copy on your website and in your paid advertising? If the current goal is ranking on Google and not helping your customers (while employing a measured SEO strategy), you may be participating in black hat SEO.

Ready to get started on your own? Google and Bing have provided quality content to help you understand how to produce ethical, search engine-friendly material for your site.

Need help? We can help you look over your site and determine whether your current SEO strategies are harming your site and how we can improve them.

Why Do Some Businesses Still Fall for Black Hat SEO Strategies?

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SEO companies that practice black hat SEO make a lot of false promises. They can keep some promises, but only in the short term. A typical example of this is guaranteeing a higher page ranking. These companies focus more on their profit than your success, often outsourcing content returned with keyword stuffing and low-quality, unintelligible language.

What Black Hat SEO Strategies Still Exist?

Linkbuilding is a legitimate strategy when used conservatively and properly.

Individuals and businesses also buy backlinks, but this is frowned upon by Google and now considered black hat. That said, people and businesses still do it.

Links on high authority sites are extremely valuable, and marketers invest in this today. They’ll sell the link, sometimes combined with quality content required to decrease Google’s suspicion about the link.

What Industries Practice Black Hat SEO?

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Specific industries still practice black hat SEO tactics, and with good reason: when done the right way, they still occasionally work. The gaming industry (online gambling) is most notorious for this, and marketers who use these tactics spend a fair amount of time keeping ahead of Google’s limitations. Black hat SEO is never a reliable long-term strategy, but it is still in practice today.

Don’t take that kind of risk. Your business deserves better, and so does its reputation.

What Are the Consequences of Black Hat SEO Tactics?

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Inside Google jail (Just kidding, it’s a figurative term. But seriously, you still don’t want to end up in Google jail).

Once Google recognizes your black hat strategy, they will likely ban your site. It takes improvement and filing a manual action penalty appeal to get out of the doghouse with Google. Only after you’ve removed the offending content, replaced it with natural copy, and applied for appeal can your site get listed again.

Unfortunately for content writers, white hat SEO specialists, and best practice marketers, it’s difficult to get companies to understand how and why it takes a while to recover from a black hat site that has been banned by Google. Business owners don’t want to hear that Google’s unlisted their site – especially if they paid a shady black hat marketer to do the dirty work for a top slot ranking.

Fortunately, though, sites damaged by black hat strategies are recoverable.

Black Hat Recovery Strategies

Have you been swindled by a black hat SEO company? Don’t worry: we can build a strategy to help you recover. Here’s what it involves:

  • An SEO assessment of your current site
  • Determination of whether Google has penalized your site
  • Competitive keyword analysis to determine the best future keywords for your site
  • New website copy
  • An appeal to Google to re-list your site
  • A comprehensive and strategic SEO blog strategy employing white hat SEO techniques, high-quality copy, and content written by informed, knowledgeable writers
  • An overall focus on ensuring your SEO strategy targets your customers and meets your goals
  • Domination of your competition, including locally

Grey Hat and White Hat SEO

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Grey hat and white hat SEO tactics are alternative strategies. Legitimate SEO and content companies employ these SEO strategies with the hope of helping your site rank. We subscribe to these philosophies ourselves.

White hat SEO strategies rely on Google-recommended, authentic marketing search engine optimization techniques, such as influencer marketing, creating friendly and informative content, encouraging users to leave questions and comments on your published content, and using smart plugins like Yoast SEO.

Grey hat strategies employ a few more questionable tactics, but are generally safe. An example of this would include heavy linkbuilding and guest blogging with the intent of earning a backlink. Google prefers backlinks to occur naturally.

Ultimately, it’s possible to employ an aggressive, competitive SEO strategy without resorting to black hat SEO practices, and here’s your predicted outcome with such practices:

  • Less chance of Google finding issues with your site or removing it from indexing
  • More targeted traffic
  • Long-term, sustainable growth
  • Measurable, actionable results
  • Genuine behavior: you’re truly helping your customers find what they need

Besides, the average cost of buying a backlink is over $350. That’s shady. Investing in evergreen content for less than a shady backlink provides Google-friendly staying power as well as content you’ll own for life.

When it comes to ranking on Google, you can do it with a clean keyword strategy and a focus on content that will attract the customers you adore. Grow fans and grow a community naturally with copy meant to help and engage.

Ready to get started with that kind of clean but firm strategy? Contact us at Dominate with SEO. We’re here to help you dominate.

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