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Black Hat SEO

Search engine optimization has been around since the first search engines rolled out in the mid-90’s. Search engine algorithms were pretty bare bones compared to their algorithms today, and many website owners were able to take advantage of them using various techniques to get their site to rank better for competitive keywords. These techniques are now viewed as manipulative and referred to as black hat SEO techniques.

At StatCounter, we provide our loyal members with access to detailed analytics and information about their traffic, and with our Growth Plan, the health of their website. We never recommend the use of black hat SEO techniques, as these tactics will only end up hurting your website rather than helping it. With this, let us fill you in on some of these black hat techniques so you can avoid including them as part of your SEO strategy.

Suggested Reading

Whether you’re aware of the pitfalls of black hat SEO or you’re ready to move on to further SEO reading, you can find more helpful information on the pages provided below:

Common Black Hat SEO Techniques

As mentioned before, in the early days of search engine optimization, there were a number of tactics website owners could take to get their website ranking well for highly competitive keywords. As search engine algorithms have become more complex, many of these techniques were penalized and could actually cause your website to be de-indexed or lose rankings. Some of these black hat SEO techniques you should avoid are:

  • Using Unrelated Keywords: Keyword usage is important to getting your website ranking properly. However, using keywords unrelated to what your website or the content on a given page is about will cause your website to be penalized.
  • Keyword Stuffing: Keyword density is also important, and overuse of your keywords can cause your site to be penalized. Finding the optimal keyword density can be tricky because if you use it too little, it likely won’t be picked up by search engines. A keyword density between 0.5% and 2% is a good benchmark.
  • Using Link Farms: In the early days of search engines, a website’s backlink portfolio was the main ranking indicator. The more backlinks a website had, the higher they would rank for keywords. Website owners would then get backlinks from spammy sites, known as link farms, and usually they would have to pay for these links. Backlinks from link farms will now hurt your website and your rankings, so they’ll need to be disavowed.
  • Duplicate Content: Another black hat SEO technique that can easily be avoided is using content from another website on your own. This is known as duplicate content and search engines have taken steps to reward unique content and penalize duplicate content. This can easily be avoided by simply writing content for your site yourself. Of course, you won’t have to worry much about similar content within your own site, though you made need use the canonical tag.
  • Typosquatting: Typosquatting, also known as URL hijacking, is the technique of registering a popular domain with a misspelling. For example, if you have the domain ww.StatC0unter.com, any visitor to this site will likely think they are on StatCounter.com. Many think that this can help improve their traffic by biting off a bigger brand’s reputation, however, your site likely won’t be indexed at all. Plus, any visitors who do land on your site from the misspelled URL will simply bounce and find the intended destination.
    • Black Hat SEO Penalties

      As mentioned before, if you take part in any black hat SEO techniques, your website will likely be penalized by search engines. As search engines have become more complex, they have begun penalizing sites to ensure they are serving up the most relevant websites for each keyword, also known as a search query. If a search engine were to fall behind the trends in terms of keeping their search users happy, their market share could fall as users go to another search engine to find what they are looking for.

      Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms because of this, and they let the public know so website owners don’t continue to take part in these practices. In fact, Google, the world’s most used search engine, alerts everyone once they have rolled out a new and important algorithm update.

      Real World Application

      When Google rolled out an update to their algorithm making mobile friendly websites necessary, they sent out a press release notifying the public of such. This algorithm update was meant to improve the user experience on their site as smartphones have become the most used device for browsing the web.

      Unfortunately, not every algorithm update is big enough to warrant a press release, making it difficult for search engine users and search engine optimizers alike to keep up. Luckily, Moz updates everyone on the changes they have noticed to help fill in the gaps.

      Start Tracking Your Progress with StatCounter Today

      Now that you know the black hat SEO techniques, you can be sure to avoid them by using some white hat SEO practices. Of course, in order to assess how your SEO strategy is performing, you will need to track your progress with StatCounter. If you have any questions, please contact StatCounter member support by completing the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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