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SEO 12 min read September 21, 2017

10 Black Hat SEO Techniques to Kill Your Search Engine Visibility

10 Black Hat SEO Techniques to Kill Your Search Engine Visibility

Kulwant Nagi
Blogger and Affiliate Marketer at Blogging Cage
Half a decade back, getting ranked for literally any keyword was 10x easier. The competition was extremely low no doubt, but along with that there were strategies which got you placed #1 in days and weeks.
Today that's not the case. Google is rolling out more and more updates, algorithms and changes which render those quick-rank techniques useless.

But a huge proportion of the masses still haven't been able to let go of those old tips and tweaks, which not only are useless, but also have a negative effect on their projects, fatal in many cases.

So here are the top 10 black hat techniques which most likely to guarantee your failure.


What are blackhat techniques?

In the simplest possible terms, they are aggressive techniques which manipulate Google into thinking that your page is more relevant than others and thus deserves to be ranked higher, even although actually it isn't.

In other words, any technique which doesn't follow the natural course of actions and which goal is to push your site up the ladder (in an aggressive manner) is a blackhat technique.

The crucial point to note here is that Google doesn't have an official list which clearly states which are black hat techniques, and which aren't. But it does announce and publish "What it prefers" kind of blog posts from time to time via interviews, press-releases and stuff, so anything against those preferences is likely to be a black-hat technique.
Doing black hat SEO is like playing sapper, two many chances to step on a mine.


Top 10 most common, and penalty-welcoming black hat techniques


#1:

Keyword Stuffing

A while ago, all you had to do to get ranked higher was to stuff your page with the keyword you're trying to rank, get an exact-match domain, and poof you're ranked much higher!

But then Google got smarter and since late 2012, Google actively started recognizing keyword-stuffed pages and as a result penalizing them.

Here's an example of how keyword stuffed page looks like:
So in case you're one of those who stuffed their pages with the same keywords from top to bottom, you need to change your practices.

The best solution to insert your keywords while not triggering an alert is to use LSIs. They basically are keywords with the same meaning as your primary keyword, but don't necessarily spell the same.

For e.g. "Best SEO agency" can also be referred to as "#1 SEO company" "Best SEO service" etc. Place these LSIs around your page instead of using the same one several times.

Check his video to learn more about LSI keywords and where to find them:


#2:

Cloaking

Cloaking was another one of the most popular "Fool Google" techniques back in the days when Google wasn't so clever. It basically is the practice of inserting a script on your website, which shows one piece of content to search engine bots and completely different to the users.

It was used to rank for certain keywords by showing clean SEO pages to Google bots, while in reality when a human users landed on the site, they were bombarded with images, flash installers and other spammy stuff.

SEO specialists also use this technique to fool search engine bot as to the number of pages the website has. The website shows thousands of pages to search engine bots, while users see the website with several pages with worthless content in the most cases .

Here's an illustration of what cloaking looks like:
The solution? Don't try and fool Google. BTW, Google officially announced cloaking as a black hat SEO technique.


#3:

Private Blog Networks

Better known as PBNs. These are the most trendy, in-fashion blackhat SEO techniques being used by SEOs all across the planet. As the name suggests, they are a bunch of blogs, owned by the same person or group of people, created with the sole purpose of passing link juice to the primary website. They're totally spammed with low-quality content with links pointing to the primary website(s).

This technique is quite popular nowadays as even if these blogs are penalized, the primary site remains safe. It's a strategy that hasn't been actively detected by Google yet.

I recommend you to think about the future and be careful in using this technique as sooner or later Google will learn how to detect this and your primary site may be affected.


#4:

Web 2.0s

Web 2.0s are the lighter version of PBNs. They do not need a custom domain, or server. They are built on the free web2.0 properties (blogger / Tumblr / WordPress etc).

They again aren't content or quality rich, but are used as it's slightly higher to boost the domain authority and other metrics for such web2.0 properties. As far as Google is concerned, any link which has been made manually to boost ranking is an unnatural link. So obviously Google doesn't trust web2.0s.


#5:

Buying lots of irrelevant links

Gone are the days when you just built hundreds of links in a day and your site popped up on the 1st search results page. Today, Google values quality more than quantity. So it's of utmost important for your links to be from relevant sites, even though lesser in number.

Note that even if you get a bunch of backlinks from the relevant sites, you can also be penalized, because Google knows that no one gets organic links that fast.
So, making a lot of links isn't the best approach, in fact, it's one of the worst as they're instantly detected by Google unlike some other black-hat techniques on this list.

The solution? You need to get relevant, quality links, at a reasonable time-gap.

The easiest trap many fall prey to is buying backlinks. You can literally buy thousands of backlinks using $5-25 fiverr gigs, or create them using automated tools like GSA. The thing is, those links are totally random, and are extremely harmful to your site. So that's another one of those techniques you need to distance from.


#6:

ClickBaiting

This is a simpler, easier version of cloaking. It's primarily popular on Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

It's the practice of using misleading images, falsified data, and catchy headlines which are there only to grab the attention of the readers, without really being true or legit.

Here's an example:
It's not exactly an SEO practice, but the traffic that you gain from those kind of clickbaits does convert and add to your overall SEO efforts.

And recently, Google and Facebook both took steps against clickbaiting. Currently, it's widely used, and isn't on the direct radar of Google, but I'm more than certain that in the (very) near future, it will be.

And when it is, your site will be done for good, so if you're currently using clickbaits, it's about time you go legit.


#7:

Domain redirection

Let me be honest, it's one of the best black hat techniques, with serious results. But hey, it's still black-hat. It basically is the process of registering an expired domain, with good metrics and authority, and it generally is an EMD (exact match domain) for your keyword, or highly related to it.

So once the domain is acquired, it is permanently redirected to your primary site, and thus all it get all the authority and juice. Considering how 301 redirection in itself is legal, it's a tad-bit harder for Google to penalize all the sites redirecting to other sites.

But then again, it's not a practice you should be indulged in, cause sooner or later Google will figure it out (it figures everything out) and then your years of hard work go down the drain.


#8:

Page Switching

It's the act of taking up a page which is ranked on Google and is getting good traffic, and then changing its content altogether. What a lot of black-hats do is target queries which have good search volume and seem helpful to the users.

And then, once the page is ranked, they change the content to something of commercial value. Basically, the user totally gets mislead and doesn't get his problem solved.

Now, the primary goal of search engines is to "help users land on the most appropriate, useful links". So if your link is in exact contrast to that agenda, and you're caught, best case you're penalized, worst case you're banned for good.


#9:

Spun Content

It's primarily used by people who either can't or won't write useful, unique content. There are a plethora of tools available on the internet which let you take up existing content on the web, and spin them.

Spun content is basically the same content, with most of the words being replaced by their synonyms. So what happens is, the content remains the same, but it doesn't trigger a duplicate content alert because the sentences aren't exactly the same.

Here's an example:
Although this greatly reduces content quality, and readability thus, as a result, your content isn't unique, and users hit the back button (pogo-sticking) because they can't understand what's written, and this finally lowers your rankings.


#10:

Duplicate Content

Copy pasting content is again one of the most common blackhat SEO techniques, although it's sheer waste as now Google tracks duplicate content almost instantly.

The reason it's being mentioned here is that it's still a prevalent technique, and a large number of people still do use it.

Bottom line? Do not, I repeat to not copy-paste content. Create unique and high-quality content.


Summing up

Again, black hat techniques aren't pre-defined, in fact, most started off as skyrocketing techniques, which boosted your ranks ridiculously.

But Google is getting smarter by the day, so no matter what your technique is, Google will find it out. So all I can say is, if you're thinking long-term, distance yourself as far away from the above-mentioned techniques as possible.

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