SEO hats and the dangers of dishonest optimization
28.08.2012 by Kristjan Raude
Google algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin cause trouble for many companies using dishonest SEO methods. Google has announced that they will continue fighting for ethical SEO with numerous future updates. 86 algorithm updates were applied in June and July only (Search Engine Land). To get an idea whether Google updates may threaten your homepage we give an overview of different SEO methods.
White hat SEO
White hat SEO is so called ethical optimization that follows the Google Webmaster Guidelines. The guideline sets the rules of optimization saying what should and can be done. When practicing white hat methods you don’t need to worry about Google next attacks.
White hat methods:
- Internal linking – creating on-site links to increase the user experience.
- Page titles and descriptions – using keywords in your page titles and description.
- Headings – using H1, H2 and H3 in body text headings.
- Optimizing pictures, videos and links – giving relevant names for pictures, videos and links. Using anchors links.
- On-page keyword optimization – using keywords in texts, headings, titles, meta tags according to Googles guidelines.
- Fresh and quality content – using blogs and guest posts to increase external linking.
Grey hat SEO
Grey hat stands between ethical and unethical optimization. The tactics used in grey hat are not accepted by Google nor are they considered as spam. However grey hat requires some cautions as Google gets more ruthless with suspicious methods.
Grey hat methods:
- Excessive keyword density – using keywords too densely that has an artificial effect on text. But not using keyword at the level of keyword stuffing and spam.
- Using duplicated content – using the same content on-page or publishing the same article in various sources.
- Building irrelevant links – creating links without considering the relevancy.
- Three-way linking – trading links between 3 sources to scatter the suspicion of reciprocal linking.
Black hat SEO
Black hat is using dishonest methods for better positioning in search engines. It’s prohibited method that may cost your good reputation and a ban from Google if discovered.
Black hat methods:
- Link farming – using pages for linking purpose only that has no relevant meaning for the page.
- Keyword stuffing – creating content with unnaturally high keyword density that offers no value to the reader.
- Duplicated and/or irrelevant content – content that is irrelevant or that’s copied from other sites.
- Cloaking – search engine spiders get different information about the content of a page than people.
- Hidden texts and keywords – using keywords that are same colour as the background, placing keywords in hidden layers or behind the browser edge where visitors cannot see it.
- Doorway pages – pages that are meant only for search engine spiders for higher ratings and are never seen by any visitor.
- Google bowling – raising your own position by damaging your competitors’ reputation doing negative SEO for them.
Why black hat SEO is bad?
You can think of many other dishonest ways to trick SEO that are not so cleaver as you originally think. Google is actively fighting against dishonest optimization by frequently changing its algorithms. After its last update massive linking, content copying etc. are rather dangerous, because if Google notices you have cheated it will not give your homepage a ranking. If you are not worried about Googles algorithm changes then you should be worried about your competitors who may tell on you to Google.
Black hat can be compared to gambling and doing drugs because it is extremely addictive. If your homepage is missing a normal organic SEO, then it’s not possible to get on Google search results without cheating. If you decide to quit using dishonest methods, then you page is gone from Google search for a really long time, until natural SEO starts giving results. And it is really hard to clean up the mess that Black hat has made on you page.
In conclusion it is not worth wasting your money and energy buying links, if a high quality link strategy is worth the same amount of money. Black hat may seem like a good way to trick the search engine, but in reality this method will quickly start developing loss.
SEO is important for every company that is on the web. There are many companies that offer SEO services, including many companies that promise your webpage reaches nr 1 quickly and cost efficiently using dishonest SEO methods. On our next SEO themed blog we will discuss about how to recognize dishonest companies that use dishonest service providers.
Used sources: Google Webmaster Guidlines