If you’re just starting with search engine optimization, you have probably been warned about black hat SEO and only using white hat tactics to increase the organic ranking of your clients. But, what exactly is black hat SEO is techniques and the strategies that fall outside of Google’s webmasters guidelines?
The Old Tricks
Invisible Keywords Stuffing – Ghosts don’t have a place in search engine optimization! By stuffing pages with invisible text goes against the guidelines laid out by Google. Previously, websites could be ranked organically by adding text that would blend into the background or setting the size to zero. There is not a specific percentage or ratio for the number of times your target is mentioned within your content. If you’re using the keyword meta tag for keyword stuffing, this tactic is outdated and the meta tag holds little weight for search engines.
Paid Links – You wouldn’t give someone money for a fun-sized snickers bar out of their trick or treat bag, would you? There’s nothing fun-sized about the links you buy from link farms, in fact, you will be penalized! Your links should all be organically built, and not based on page rank.
Duplicate Content – Avoid toil and trouble by creating content that is unique to your services, website and business practices. It is vital to your search engine optimization to create pages that are relevant to your services and are not plagiarized with content from other websites.
Comment Spam – You may notice spam advertisements being posted if your blog allows comments. The author will most likely have a URL linked for their name or within the body of the comment itself. Monitor your comments, just as you would your bag of Halloween goodies.
Cloaking – It is important to remember to build your website for your customers and not the search engines. Cloaking is a black hat technique that essentially lies to both customers and search engines as to what your content is about. Being invisible may be a cool super power, however… for search engine optimization, this may be a party trick you want to avoid!
Sweet, Sweet Treats
When it comes to optimizing your website, there are a few tools that will make your life easier.
Moz’s On-Page Grader – is a great tool that will let you know if you’re missing anything, from H1’s, images without alt tags, links without title tags.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Trends – Google Trends is a great way to see when your services are being searched for the most. Whether you opt for an AdWords campaign, or increase your optimization efforts, you may find something a little surprising in these results.
Webmaster Tools and Analytics – What are users searching to find your website and how many impressions are you getting? By combining this tool with Google Trends, you’re bound to find a new avenue!