Popular websites offering real value to visitors invariably rank high on search engines. However, not all websites that rank high on search engine results page provide real value to web surfers. Those who deploy SEO strategies designed primarily for the human visitor can be said to be using White Hat techniques. Those who are merely trying to game the search engine algorithm to boost rankings are guilty of resorting to Black Hat techniques.
In the past, the distinction between White Hat and Black Hat techniques was pretty clear. Creating invisible text filled with thousands of keywords was bad. Using relevant keywords in visible content was good. Using spun content, switch and bait, comment spamming, or even domain squatting was pure Black Hat. Creating interesting fresh content and avoiding unethical practices like spamming and doorway pages was White Hat.
However, there are some seemingly-harmless Black Hat techniques that can ruin your SEO strategy in the long run. While you wouldn’t dream of using invisible text on your page, resorting to the following tactics can spoil your SERPs in the long run.
Treating Guest Blogging As A Link-Building Assembly Line
Posting a guest blog on a third-party website that provides really useful information to readers is a perfectly acceptable way to build links. However, reducing this to a formula and placing poor quality guest blog posts in irrelevant websites in a bid to boost link building numbers can lead to a severe penalty from search engines.
The easiest way to differentiate between good and bad guest blogging is to ask: Would this blog post be acceptable on my site for my loyal visitors? If the answer is no, then you are better off not submitting the post at all.
Thin On Content But Rich In Keywords
Keywords are merely the means to an end; treating them as the ultimate target when creating content is a very bad idea. Search engines lose credibility when they direct visitors to pages containing low-quality content that are ranked high merely due to keyword stuffing. This practice is frowned upon, and it is advisable to treat it as Black Hat and avoid it altogether.
Selling space on your website to third-parties interesting in advertising their services is fine. Adding links to your content in exchange for consideration is converting SEO into a commercial exercise. Search engines want the best links to be placed on top, not the most expensive. While the ethical aspects can be debated at length, you are likely to suffer penalties and loss of credibility by allowing sold links to come across as standard links on your page.
Keyword Stuffing In Alt Text
Black Hat techniques are about the letter as well as the spirit of your tactics. Resorting to keyword stuffing in images’ alt text just because it won’t be visible to viewers is just not done. True White Hat strategies will never try to boost rankings artificially. This tactic may yield good results in the short run. However, you are likely to lose your rankings when your site is reviewed by the search engines.
Smart web developers don’t make the mistake of trying to grade Black Hat SEO techniques. Instead, it makes sense to just avoid them altogether. The Internet is not going away anytime soon, and a site that sticks to acceptable strategies to improve rankings will, sooner than later, reach the top of the results page.
L4 Group specializes in helping business owners and marketing executives throughout the United States. L4 Group will optimize online marketing strategies that will increase traffic, sales, and profitability. Call today for a free consultation and web analysis.