If you are finding that your SEO company is not delivering results, you may be the victim of Black-Hat SEO.
Welcome to Bouncerank, and in this guide, we are going to go over what it is and how to tell if it is being used on your website.
What is it
Hubspot defines it as:
“SEO practices that are against search engine guidelines, used to get a sites ranking higher in search results. These unethical tactics don’t solve for the searcher and often end in a penalty from search engines” .
But honestly, I do not think that definition is enough to describe the damage that it can do. If Google suspects that your website is gaming them, they may send your website to manual review. If a human viewer finds that it is not compliant, your website will be removed from the index.
Poof – there goes your traffic.
And with Google owning 92.24 percent of the internet market share (wpdevshed). I would not take this lightly.
Here are 3 common instances of Black SEO, that we will explore today:
- Keyword Stuffing
- Link Farming
- Doorway Pages
By the time you finish reading this post, you will be able to:
- identify warning signs
- fix them if they are being used
- Fire your SEO agency
Yes, I hate to say it, but as an SEO Expert, that prides themselves on only using White-Hat methods, I do not feel comfortable vouching for SEOs who go against this because they make it harder for people like me to get opportunities. So with that being said, let’s get into the list
1. Keyword Stuffing
For optimizing your content it is important and best practice to have relevant keywords in your content. Such as your Title Tag, Meta description, Headings and alt text.
But like anything in life:
It should not be over done.
If you notice that the same word is being repeated over and over again in your content. To the point where it makes the page hard to read and follow along with.
Then you may be witnessing “Keyword stuffing” or know simply as “spamming”.
Google doesn’t particularly like this:
“Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking”(Google).
Like most things from Google, their response is to the point. But I think the effects are bigger than that. Just think about the perspective of your user or customer. Does it produce a good user experience if you are using the same words over and over again.
It makes it seem like you are writing for a computer rather than a person.
SEO Best practice is to use your keyword in your title once, in your description twice, and in your content where it makes sense.
Just be natural with your writing, and you should be fine.
If you thought keywords stuffing was bad let me tell you about link farming.
2. Link Farming
SEO Companies may try to sell you on being able to produce hundreds of backlinks to your site in days. This is total BS. Any real SEO knows that building quality backlinks takes time, effort, skill, patience, and dare I say – Money.
So don’t be fooled by these Fiverr sellers that claim they can get you thousands of links in a day. Just know they are not going to be relevant and more than likely will harm your site.
This scheme is called “Link Farming” and it is where links to your site are sold to other businesses.
Often these businesses are untrustworthy and have content that is not even remotely related to your business.
Or even worse:
So you may find your website being linked to lewd, violent or suggestive content.
All of which can produce poor rankings and your site potentially being flagged by Google, if not removed entirely.
Here is an example of “Link-Farming”:
The picture is a bit blurry, but as you can see, there are some nasty things that this website is being linked to.
3. Doorway Pages
Doorway pages, also known as “page cloaking” is where a user may try to game search engines by replacing content that the searcher may see with content that is designed to rank higher on search engines.
This is done in an attempt to get the page to rank faster.
Here’s a graphic of it:
As you can see, the Search Engine gets one piece of content while the user get’s something else.
While nowadays, search engines are smart enough to detect this, it still is used today.
So watch out.
Okay hopefully by now you are able to identify warning signs of Black Hat-SEO. Now I wish I could say these are the only examples, but unfortunately there’s is more. I would recommend checking out Wordstream’s post to learn more.
You may be thinking right now:
Is this stuff happening to me?
How the hell do I fix this?
So in my next post I will explain and walk you through step by step by how to fix these things.