If you’re doing search engine optimization (SEO) for the first time, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of techniques and strategies available.
Most businesses spare themselves the hassle of starting from scratch by partnering with the best Oklahoma City SEO companies. If they have extensive experience working with businesses from your industry, you can expect them to have a ready-made, tried-and-true strategy that only requires minimal tweaks to fit your company. If you’re strapped for funds or just unwilling to outsource for whatever reason, the good news is that SEO is something you can do in-house. However, before cherry-picking SEO techniques, you first need to learn that not all SEO techniques are legitimate. Some techniques leverage known search engine criteria to improve search engine rankings through spammy and dishonest ways. These techniques are known as “black hat” SEO.
A closer look at black hat SEO
“Black hat” is a colloquial term that refers to those who use their expertise to wreak havoc on computer networks. These can be anyone from hackers to SEO strategists.
Black hat SEO gained notoriety when SEO strategists realized they were faster and took less effort than legitimate SEO techniques. Black hat SEO techniques bypass search engine guidelines and use spammy and irrelevant content to cheat the system. Those who utilize black hat SEO don’t care if their website offers a good user experience or valuable content. The sole purpose of black hat SEO is to get a high search engine results ranking quickly.
This topic is important for business owners because if you intend to incorporate SEO into your business strategy, you need to approach SEO experts with a certain degree of knowledge to avoid getting scammed. Nowadays, search engines are more adept at identifying if a website uses black hat SEO. If you unknowingly let an SEO company run black hat SEO tactics on your website, the search engine will demote or ban your site, which could lead to disastrous consequences for your business.
How do you avoid black hat SEO?
Avoiding black hat SEO is easy once you know what to look out for. We asked the best Oklahoma City SEO companies to list several well-known black hat SEO techniques and how to avoid and counter them. Read on for a basic guide on black hat SEO techniques.
1. Keyword spamming
Keywords are the lifeblood of search engines; it’s how they match users to the websites they need to find. Usually, a company notes keywords relevant to their business and generates content around those keywords. Legitimate SEO strategists would warn you to use keywords sparingly. It may limit your keyword targeting, but forcing too many keywords into your content may cause the quality to decline. Black hat SEO strategists don’t care about quality. Instead, they stuff their content with as many keywords as they can. This way, they get listed in as many search engine results pages as possible.
You can suspect that keyword spamming is in use if the content has an excessively high keyword density. If so, edit your content until you only have a low percentage of keywords in the overall text.
2. Plagiarized content
Consistently writing and producing high-quality content takes much time and effort. Black hat SEO strategists will instead take high-quality and successful content from other websites and publish it on their own to trick users and the search engine into thinking that their site offers relevant and original content. It’s easy to catch plagiarized content through a plagiarism checker.
3. Paid backlinks
Search engines pay attention to the number of backlinks your website has because they view these backlinks as something akin to external recommendations. Their logic is: if a website links an external website on their page, they’re telling their users to go to that other site because it offers more valuable information. Search engine developers believe that websites won’t risk damaging their reputation by sending their users to suspicious or low-quality websites, the same way humans wouldn’t recommend a restaurant unless they firmly believed it was a good restaurant.
However, black hat SEO strategists have hijacked this system by paying websites to link to their site. This artificially inflates their backlink count and tricks the search engine into believing that their site is reputable.
Monitor your backlinks. If you’re noticing an unnatural spike in backlinks from suspicious or irrelevant websites, there’s a high chance these backlinks aren’t organic. Remove them immediately to keep from being penalized by the search engine.
4. Link spamming
This is another way black hat SEO strategists artificially increase their backlink count. They use bots to spam their website link on various platforms, be it YouTube comments, blog comments, Facebook comments, etc. Once again, remove these inorganic backlinks to prevent any untoward consequences to your search ranking.
Clickbait is, as the name implies, the act of baiting a user to click a site through sensationalized headlines and intriguing thumbnails. Most black hat SEO strategists will even couple clickbait with internal linking to force the user to venture deeper into their website in the hopes of finding the information they originally came for. Clickbait may temporarily increase your rankings thanks to the high volume of clicks, but the high bounce rate will cause the search engine to demote your site.
It’s easy to detect when your SEO strategist is using this technique. If you notice your titles are wildly overhyped but don’t align with what the articles are discussing, then you know it’s clickbait. Use titles that are relevant to the content. There are ways you can write an eye-catching headline without being dishonest.
These are only some of the most common black hat SEO techniques, but there are many resources online that can guide you through others. Technology is evolving every day, and these people continue to develop unscrupulous techniques to combat improved search engine AI. As long as you do your due diligence and work with reputable the best Oklahoma City SEO companies, you’ll have no trouble developing a legitimate SEO strategy.