In terms of SEO, there are only two types, and these are commonly known as white hat and black hat. While these terms date back to when SEO was fairly new, today you can be certain that when someone refers to SEO they are talking about the white hat version of SEO.
The names white hat and black hat are fairly easily recognized as being the good kind and the bad kind respectively. The bad kind black hat include such underhand tactics as tricks and gimmicks designed to fool the search engines into believing a website deserves a higher rank that it actually should have. The good kind, white hat SEO uses tactics that follow Google’s recommendations and are more natural.
While using white hat techniques to improve search engine ranking takes considerably longer to provide good results it minimizes any risk of being penalized by search engine algorithms. On the other hand black hat tactics tend to occur in a short time frame but leave a site vulnerable to being penalized, which will most certainly happen once Google realizes the manipulative measures being used to try to fool the algorithm.
As with most things in life there is black or white and telling the difference between the two can be challenging. While some people may consider any SEO tactics as manipulative because certain techniques are being employed that assure better search rankings, compared to black hat tactics Google gives white hat techniques far more value. Which then raises the question of whether all the tactics that are considered to be black hat are pointless or do some of them actually work and therefore have value?
Let’s take a look at some of the more commonly used black hat SEO tactics as follows:
Keyword Stuffing – This technique involves the strategic placing of a specific keyword within content on a website a certain number of times. In the early days when Google used keywords to gauge the relevancy of a website this tactic worked very well, but then Google’s added semantic search to its algorithm and the placing of keywords a large number of times on a website became known as keyword stuffing and considered manipulative. To use this tactic today would not only be a pointless waste of time but will also likely result in Google penalizing a site that employs this tactic. This is not to say that keywords don’t still have a part to play in SEO. Today keywords can still impact search ranking provided they are naturally occurring within a website.
Hidden Text – While this tactic is rarely used today it once was quite widely used to try to fool Google’s algorithm. Text would be written in white on a white background to ‘cloak’ it from the eyes of viewers but still be ‘seen’ by Google. Any information that was considered able to sway Google into seeing the site as having high authority but which a viewer would find of little to no value, it could be hidden using the white on white tactic.
Today using hidden text is pointless because Google puts a higher value on what viewers find relevant and of value on a website. Therefore whatever the viewer sees is what Google needs to see also, and hidden text used on a website today is likely to cause a website to be penalized.
Paying for Links – Inbound links, also referred to as back links, are viewed by Google as being indicative of the authority of the site from where the links originate. Working on this knowledge you would assume that if having a few inbound links is a good thing having lots of them would be great, but the truth is the opposite. In fact Google will penalize any site that appears to have a bunch of links that lack relevancy and have been gained through unnatural means. As a general rule, any site that is willing to link to yours in exchange for money or a reciprocal link is likely to be a low value site at best. Link exchanges, paid links and link farming are all link building tactics that are definitely something to be avoided at all costs.
Spun or Duplicate Content – You may have heard the term “content is king” and like many others think that the more content your website has the better Google will like it, and supposedly will give your site a better ranking than others with less content. Unfortunately the amount of content your site has very little impact on the Google algorithm unless the content is of good quality, original, relevant and provides value to visitors to your site. Some website owners make the mistake of plagiarizing content from other websites, believing that as long as they spin it so it is not exactly the same as the original that it will be acceptable. Others will just publish stolen content as is without changing a word of it. Another mistake some website owners will make is to re-write their own content several times and while it is slightly different in each version, it essentially says the same thing, which adds no value to their website whatsoever. Any of these tactics provide very little if any benefit and may lead to your site being penalized.
Cloaked and Sly Redirects – Leading a visitor to your site into believing that by clicking on a particular link will lead them to a different page than the one they actually land on is considered a sly or sneaky redirect. Cloaked redirects take a site visitor to a different page than has been indexed by Google crawlers. Websites that contain either of these types of redirects are not only attempting to trick Google but more importantly are misleading site visitors and will likely result in Google penalizing the site and visitors not having any desire to return to your site to be misled a second time.
The above black hat tactics are just a small number of the ones that at one time did have some effect on search engine ranking. Anyone continuing to use such tactics is very unlikely to even get their website ranked as Google sees through these methods quickly. While some of these tactics may work in the very short term the end result is always the same – a Google penalty that your website may never recover from. Oh, and let’s not forget that your site visitors will click away from your site very quickly once they realize that it provides very little value. Steer away from these black hat tactics and stick with the white hat SEO techniques that Google recommends website owners use. Your chances of ranking are far better and your visitors will be happier too. If you want to talk to experts that know which methods to use, check out Las Vegas SEO company.