What’s Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO strategies are frowned upon by search engines. They are ways of boosting SEO results using artificial methods and automated tools. It is the counterpart of white hat SEO, of doing everything by the book.
The name black hat SEO and white hat SEO are derived from the old spaghetti western movies, where the good guy usually wore a white cowboy hat, and the baddies a black one.
Examples of black hat SEO
- keyword stuffing
- referral networks
- booster sites
- comment spamming
…and there are many other black hat SEO techniques. Basically, everything that does not lead to a natural growth of back links can be described as undesirable by search engines and therefore black hat SEO.
Some black hat SEO strategies don’t work anymore, such as keyword stuffing or adding keyword metatags. As search engines get more and more sophisticated, black hat SEO practitioners run a considerable risk of being penalized. This results in a temporary or permanent drop in rankings, or even of complete websites being delisted.
There are several ways that black hat SEO can be detected:
- Through changes in the search engine’s algorythm (very common)
- By manual checks through search engine staff
- Investigations after complaints from website owners
Some types of websites (e.g. affiliates) and fields of businesses (e.g. finance) have been heavily impacted by black hat SEO. It seems that websites with certain topics and business models are more apt to suffer the consequences of being found guilty of black hat SEO.
Searchify advises to stay clear of black hat SEO because:
- The risk and backlash of being caught is considerable
- Changes in search engine’s algorithms can cause all effort to be obsolete
- Successes in the past are no guarantee for the future