Blackhat Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics are very risky. Many of them can get you delisted on Google and other search engines if/when you get caught.
Even worse, you could be labeled as a spammer and watch your website’s organic traffic vanish in short order.
Blackhat SEO: Why People Do It
Yes, these techniques can help increase your blog’s search rankings and search traffic quickly. In fact, some of them might very well deliver on increased search traffic for months or even years.
But the risk remains the same, and you could see all of your hard work wasted if you try blackhat SEO and it backfires.
If your goal is to develop a successful blog with a long lifespan, don’t try to mislead visitors or search engines, and you should be okay.
Avoid These Blackhat SEO Tactics
Over the past couple of decades, we’ve seen a long list of shady SEO behaviors attempted. And some of them worked at one time.
Below are some of the most common tactics we’ve seen and how they work.
When users click a link and see different content or URLs than search engines receive, that link has been cloaked.
Visitors and search engines might see completely different content. Or maybe it’s just a different format. For example, perhaps Google sees only text and HTML content, while other visitors receive flash or images.
Link cloaking is considered a spam technique.
HTTP Header Cloaking
Every web page has an HTTP header. These headers include requests and responses that provide information about a page to search engines and to users via their web browsers.
Don’t try to send different HTTP headers to search engines than you send to visitors in an effort to get around the search engine algorithms. When you eventually get caught, you’ll see your rankings vanish immediately.
Link hijacking happens when your website presents the anchor text of a hyperlink differently to visitors and search engines.
For example, a search engine will crawl the page and find hyperlinks with specific keywords for which the site wants to increase its search ranking, while visitors see different text. Again, this is a deceptive tactic that search engines will punish.
Doorway pages are a guaranteed way to violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
What are doorway pages? They are a large number of poor quality webpages that are each hyper-optimized for individual, specific keywords.
The only reason these pages exist at all is to get a website ranked for one high-value keyword, with no concern for UX or website flow.
Google explains in its support documentation that “doorway pages are written to rank for a particular phrase and then funnel users to a single destination.” They view doorway pages as very deceptive, and would consider your domain to be running blackhat SEO tactics if you engaged in such behavior.
Blackhat SEO Don’ts for Bloggers
There are many search engine optimization tips (SEO tips) that you can follow to boost your blog content’s rankings in search engine keyword results.
However, there are also specific things you need to avoid to ensure that your content gets the ranking and traffic it deserves.
Avoid the following sneaky behaviors at all times!
1. Keyword Stuffing
Never stuff keywords into your content.
It’s perfectly acceptable to use your keywords. However, if they appear more than once every 200 words or so, you’re overusing them.
Blog posts aren’t the only place you can be guilty of stuffing. Some websites jam them into lists of sidebar links, or in the footer.
You never want to be accused of keyword stuffing. Avoid it in posts, on pages, and even with your internal linking strategy.
2. Hidden Text and Hidden Keywords
Don’t try to hide keywords in an extremely small font or in text that is the same color as the background of your blog.
That’s a well-known Blackhat SEO trick. It is a guaranteed way to get flagged as spammer if you get caught.
3. Duplicate Content
Google prioritizes original content and punishes duplicates. Never republish (steal) content that has already been published online.
This holds true for content within your own blog.
Even if you originally wrote the content, don’t publish it in more than one place without a proper canonical tag added to the secondary locations.
Canonical tags allow you to safely syndicate your own material while letting search engines know which copy of it to prioritize for ranking.
4. No Original Content
Never publish content on your blog that includes a page filled with ads or links with little or no original content. That’s a big red flag for all of the search engines.
5. Paying for Links or Publishing Paid Links
When people pay for links, it artificially inflates their popularity.
Search engine algorithms typically reward sites with a lot of incoming links by ranking them higher. They do this under the assumption that pages with a lot of links must be good or no one would link to them.
Google doesn’t want to reward artificial inflations of website popularity, like you see with paid links. They’ve made examples of websites that buy or sell links many times in the past.
If they catch you doing it, you can expect to be penalized all the same.
Blackhat SEO might be intriguing to you on first glance. You might even be able to drive results. But nonetheless, don’t do it.
Even if you hire a search engine optimization professional or company to help you optimize your blog for search, make sure they aren’t using any of the “fast results” SEO techniques discussed in this article.
If they do, your domain will suffer the consequences in the long run.
Instead, follow proven white hat SEO techniques that can help you get more organic search traffic the right way.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.