SEO is one of the most effective ways to boost your business’s online presence… but bear in mind that not all SEO is made equally.
Black hat SEO refers to web designers who use unethical practices to move websites up the Google ranking page. This can initially produce good results, but eventually the website will be penalized for using unethical techniques. And sometimes, the website owner isn’t even aware that their website is using black hat SEO.
Thankfully there are lots of ways to spot this kind of SEO technique. Here are four indicators to look out for.
Overuse of Keywords
Overuse of keywords (which is also known as ‘keyword stuffing’) refers to when a keyword is used excessively on a web page to try and boost the page ranking. This can cause problems for two reasons: the website will be penalized by Google and pushed down the search engine page, and people who visit your page will think that the writing is unnatural and difficult to read.
You can check for keyword stuffing on any website by simply reading the text. If you notice a keyword popping up over and over again which rarely makes sense, it is possible that the website uses black hat SEO.
Google uses backlinks to rank websites. The more pages that link to you, the higher your website ranking will be. However, it can take a while to build up genuine links, so some black hat designers add fake, paid-for links to websites to try and boost their ranking. Some indicators of paid-for links (which is also known as cloaking) are:
- Anchor texts that make no sense.
- Articles that use an excessive amount of links.
Are you worried that your website includes paid-for links? If so, it is possible to hire a local SEO agency to remove them.
Article spinning is when an article is reposted on a different website with slightly different text. This means that the article appears as a totally different article to a search engine bot, but it might read a little strangely to a human, especially if the article was duplicated by a machine. It is normally fairly easy to spot article spinning for this reason.
PBNS (a.k.a private blog networks) are used to build complex backlinks for new websites. Normally this is done using blogs and it helps to build domain authority for the chosen website. This does sometimes improve the search engine rankings, but Google can sometimes spot PBNs if the blogs have the same IP address, the same sever, the same website owner or the same content.
All of these methods may seem like a quick and easy way to boost your website ranking, but if Google discovers that your website is using black hat techniques, the website will be penalized. For this reason, you should always use white hat SEO, even if it does take a little longer for you to boost your search engine ranking.