After all, a Search Engine is a machine. A machine that tries to understand the content on the web and decides which is better.
Of course, a human and a machine think differently in some way.
Search Engine Crawler and Indexer are made in such a way that they could understand content more similar to humans.
However, it’s a machine after all. People use many methods to trick the Search Engine to rank their website at the top of SERP. And, these methods are described as Black Hat SEO by Search engines.
Let’s study the most commonly used 11 Black Hat SEO techniques and the way they may harm your website.
You can learn more about doing SEO of your website yourself.
PBN stands for private blog networks which is a practice of establishing many websites with the purpose of linking the main website.
Many people use this method as a link-building strategy.
They buy expired domains with high authority and put some content with a link to their money website.
This increases the domain authority of the main website and ranks it higher on Search Engines.
Take this as a PBN example, you won a website and created 8 other websites that link back to the main website.
The other 8 websites are often on the same niche as the main one.
These websites are regularly updated (sometimes you hire content writers), also link to other’s websites, so that search engines do not easily catchup.
PBN works as an SEO technique as long as Google or other search engines catch it.
Google uses advanced technology and algorithms to control people using private blog networks to increase ranking.
Google easily detects the PBN with the same IP, WHOIS information, content or design.
With the announcement of the 2012 Google Penguin update, Google penalized or banned many websites that had used black hat SEO like PBN and starts not counting low-quality backlinks.
If you use a private blog network of new or low authoritative websites, then keep it in mind that this causes more harm to your website with no SEO benefit.
You may be penalized for using PBNs if you are engaging in this type of black hat SEO technique.
Many SEO consultants use PBN to provide backlinks to their customers without letting them know how their website is acquiring links.
Therefore, I don’t recommend buying links. That’ll be very harmful to you, and I suggest disavow any paid links.
PBN should be avoided, otherwise, you’ll surely be penalized or banned by Google, not today but one day.
Instead, you should use genuine/white hat SEO techniques like guest posting or creating quality content worth sharing.
Cloaking is a black hat SEO technique in which the content shown to search engine crawler is different from that shown to users.
It is considered a violation of Google webmasters’ guidelines and may subject to penalty or deindexed, so you should avoid this method as an SEO.
Google discourages cloaking because it may really ruin the user experience, as a result, the user may not use Google the next time.
Let’s assume, Google ranks a webpage as a travel blog but when a user clicks the page and redirected to a Porn. This makes the worst user experience.
Showing content to the users on the basis of geolocation or IP address and mobile or desktop devices is not cloaking.
For example, you show a different version (translated) of a webpage to a user from France than that of the user from the UK, or, you can show a more compressed or optimized version to users from mobile devices than that of a user accessing the webpage from the desktop.
As long as you are not misleading users or just focusing on IP addresses on the narrow range, it’s fine to change the webpage version for better user experience on the overall basis of IP address.
The question is, are you treating Googlebot the same way you treat other users. The answer to this decides whether you are at risk or not.
Bait and Switch
In this technique, users are attracted by showing them something that easily grabs attention but when they visit the link they find something irrelevant.
For example, a webpage with title “Download free Bollywood movies” but when you click and visit the site you’ll find something different like news about newest released movies but no option or talking on download.
Today most of people use this method to rank their website higher on Google.
They use keywords that have high search volume like “download free movies” but once the website gets ranked, they change the content (with products for sale and advertisements).
This method was very popular in ancient times, but it’s now very hard to stay out without getting caught by a search engine.
Still, many untrained so-called SEO uses this method to rank higher on SERP, but they only stay there for a short period of time.
After you get hit by Google, you’ll struggle to rank again.
So, I always recommend using white hat SEO techniques that ultimately help you in the long run.
The technique Bait and switch is used by advertisers in which they attract customers by showing products at a low price but when the customers visit them, the product is no longer available, instead, something similar or different product with higher price is available.
A similar technique is nowadays used on the internet for higher ranking on search engines or to get more traffic.
Writing an original, unique, high quality, and valuable content is not easy.
It takes a lot of research and dedication to write high-quality content.
Content automation is a process of generating automatic content through different software and AI.
Lots of HTML content with a format that contains headings, paragraphs, even infographics can be created with tools in a very short period of time effortlessly.
In WordPress, many plugins are available for automatic content creation that do all the work for you to create posts with trending topics and keywords.
These systems also do the SEO part, but soon or later you’ll start losing rank on search engines.
Content automation seems very attractive at the beginning but in the long run, it does more loss than gain.
When Google didn’t have advanced technology, the quantity of posts matters more than the quality for higher ranking.
But, these days, more than 4 million posts are published each day.
Therefore, a higher number of posts on your website doesn’t mean you’ll rank higher, however, consistency is the key.
That’s how content automation no longer works, so, create content manually even it takes time.
Learn more about creating high-quality content that easily ranks on Google.
Using keywords the right way in the post helps search engines to find what the article is about.
Search engines rank a webpage by looking for the keywords the user typed to search.
But, when you miss using keywords wisely into the blog post you’ll surely lose your ranking.
Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO technique used to trick search engines for higher ranking in SERP.
It includes the overuse of keywords on meta information like titles, meta descriptions, headings, image alternative texts, and paragraphs.
Keyword stuffing is practiced with an intent to get a higher rank on search engines but this may lastly result in the website being de-ranked or completely deindexed.
I never recommend keyword stuffing to be used.
Instead, you may choose some better white hat SEO practices that ultimately give you better results.
This black hat SEO technique used to work before the announcement of the Google Panda update in 2011. Many sites that had used this method to trick Google got banned or penalized.
This is why most of the webmasters left keyword stuffing, but still, there are a few who use this and get nothing in hand.
Keyword stuffing also makes user experience worst and websites cannot build trust. Because of this, people are never going to be your customer.
Search engines are very smart nowadays to detect any keyword stuffing in the blog which makes this technique completely useless.
This is the most common black hat SEO technique that people still use to artificially boost a website ranking on the search engine.
You may find people on Fiverr who provide 10 dofollow links on $5. Don’t get confused with these types of offers, they’ll surely harm you in the future.
Google considers buying and selling links the violation of their webmaster’s guidelines.
And, websites that violate these guidelines may be penalized or completely removed from search results.
Showing a link advertisement on your webpage also taken as paid links.
So, the ad or affiliate links should be nofollowed by rel=”nofollow” attribute or blocked by robots.txt file.
You need not worry about ads from search engine networks like Adsense, Bing or Yahoo.
But, if you are placing ads from other networks or affiliate links on your website, make sure those links are nofollowed or blocked by robots.txt file.
Otherwise, you may face problems regarding website ranking on SERP.
Have you ever done comment containing a link on a website, forum or social media?
Continuous posting of comment as a link or ad is taken as comment spam.
When you repeatedly comment a link on social media, it blocks the link to be posted again.
When social media like Facebook blocks your website, the users who visited your site cannot share the content that causes social shares to be zero.
This is a negative sign to Google which leads to gradual rank loss.
Google doesn’t count any low-quality backlinks which make backlinks from comments a complete waste of time.
Moreover, you may be penalized by Google for doing spam.
Article spinning means writing content by manipulating or paraphrasing the already present article with a different version having the same core meaning.
Automatic content is created with the same logic of article spinning.
Articles that are duplicated from already exist content with basic word replacement and paraphrasing that seem similar are considered a black hat SEO.
However, the articles that appear more original and dissimilar with a different format than others are not penalized for article spinning.
Before writing articles you can read other webpages having a similar topic, then start writing in your own words on the basis of your understanding and knowledge.
Always make sure you are not spinning someone’s article but writing your own original that provides value to the users.
Otherwise, you may not be ranked on SERP by Google for content spinning.
It is a really bad black hat SEO technique that is used with the intention of ranking higher on SERP.
But, this doesn’t work.
Google penalizes or does not rank a website that copy content from already ranking websites.
Sometimes, copying content may cause legal disputes, so never duplicate content from other sites.
Instead, create your own unique and original content that helps you compete with others and rank as you deserve.
Copying images and data are also examples of content duplication.
If you want to use somebody’s images or data, you should take permission and mention the source.
Abusing Structured Data/Rich Snippets
Structured data or rich snippets are the additional information added to a webpage that helps search engines understand what the content is about.
For example, for a product page, the price, availability, the brand, the release date, etc.
Google shows the structured data just below the title. This also helps users to decide what is best for them.
Providing structured data that is irrelevant to the content just to increase CTR and attract users is a misleading activity that makes your website never rank on Google.
Sneaky redirect is an activity of redirecting a user to a different webpage than the page shown to Search Engine Crawlers.
But, redirecting the search engine spider to a different page than other users with the intention of deceiving search engines to rank on the result page is a black hat SEO.
This may result in a penalty or complete removal from SERP. That’s why use redirects for good.
Must read the top Google ranking factors that help you rank higher on SERP.
I have described the most common 11 Black Hat SEO techniques that should be avoided.
Search Engines are getting smarter and smarter each and every day. Google is announcing an update every week and month to make it more think like a human mind.
It’s hard to stay for a long without getting caught by Google if you are engaged in any kind of black hat SEO.
I always recommend doing only white hat SEO that will benefit you in the long run.
Yes, black hat SEO works, but only until Google detects what you’re doing. Once, you got hit by Google, you’ll struggle hard to get that position again.
Instead of wasting time on deceiving Google, focus on creating content with awesome quality.
I hope this was helpful.
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I’m from Baitadi, Nepal. Usually, I write about WordPress, Blogging, SEO, and Digital Marketing. This blog provides me an opportunity to help new bloggers through my knowledge and experience. I’ve worked on more than 30 websites as an SEO and content writer for a period of 2 years.