You have probably already heard about good SEO methods that can improve your business's website and drastically improve your SEO scores. But what is the difference between the good and the bad SEO techniques? Is black hat SEO illegal and should you use these SEO methods on your website? We will try to give you answers to all of these questions.
Is Black Hat SEO illegal - Different types of SEO
In order to give you a better insight into which SEO methods are good and which are bad, we need to give you more information about all of them. You might already know that there are three types of SEO. We will give you a brief explanation about all three and try to give you a complete answer to the questions is black hat SEO illegal. These three types are:
- White Hat SEO. These methods refer to all of the legitimate SEO tactics. These tactics are approved by Google and their purpose is to grow your site's backlinks, improve the quality of your link exchange and most importantly, make your SEO scores skyrocket. These techniques also include influencer and social marketing, content curation, content marketing, social media marketing and many other legitimate methods.
- Black Hat SEO. These methods refer to all of the unethical, illegitimate and unapproved techniques that are used in order to grow the traffic on a website. Some of these tactics include using content that is hidden, taking advantage of link farming, using doorway pages and many other unapproved methods. Search engines discourage people from using black hat SEO techniques with penalties.
- Gray Hat SEO. These methods refer to techniques that fall anywhere in between the two previous techniques, white hat SEO and black hat SEO. Search engines don't have an exact algorithm that can expose these gray hat SEO methods, or any explicit rules that will result in banning these tactics, but gray hat SEO is still looked down upon.
Is Black Hat SEO illegal - What exactly is Black Hat SEO?
While we have previously explained that Black Hat SEO techniques are unethical and they aren't the proper solution to improve your SEO rankings, what are they really? It is true that Black Hat SEO methods can improve your SEO scores, but you don't want to use these techniques on your website.
These techniques aren't approved by Google's terms and rules of service and this can result in your website getting banned from the biggest search engines and all of their affiliate websites. There are many strategies and tactics that are being developed in order to find most of the users that are implementing Black Hat SEO into their business.
Most of the Black Hat SEO methods have been openly discussed and denounced by many big search engine companies, like Google, Bing and Yahoo. You should always consider if you are using techniques for SEO improvement just to gain better SEO scores, or are they actually improving your user's experience. If you are not adding any value that your potential customers might enjoy, you are just doing it to improve SEO stats. Most of the tactics that have this effect are highly influenced by Black Hat SEO techniques. You can also use this same logic when it comes to paid marketing and any other aspect of your website.
Is Black Hat SEO illegal - Black Hat SEO techniques
Search engine algorithms are improving each day and they are becoming more sophisticated. That's why you should try to avoid any Black Hat SEO techniques at all cost. You should always try to take a more ethical approach when improving your SEO scores. It's really important that you abide and follow all of the guidelines and terms that search engines have. This is the main principle that heavily influences the White Hat SEO methods. These methods encourage business owners to create quality content for their users and make their overall experience friendlier when visiting your website.
The Black Hat SEO methods are completely different from White Hat SEO methods. They go against all of the guidelines that are set by big search engines and they try to manipulate them in order to gain better SEO rankings for your business. While these techniques aren't really illegal, they can have some devastating effects on your website. Your business can be completely wiped from search engine result pages or make your business rank significantly lower.
That's why we are going to give you a better insight into each of these techniques so you can avoid them in the future. All of these methods can have a negative effect on your business, so try to avoid them at all costs.
Is Black Hat SEO illegal - Keyword stuffing
What does keyword stuffing mean? Keyword stuffing refers to all of the techniques that fill your content with many irrelevant keywords that don't add value to your articles. This technique is used in order to manipulate your web page rankings for a particular set of keywords. If you add multiple variations of a keyword where it adds no value to your content, it creates bad user experience for your potential customers.
Google has a pretty clear explanation on what keyword stuffing is:
- Creating list of phone numbers that doesn't add substantial value to your content
- Creating blocks of text that are listing cities, states or addresses for purpose to rank for them on search engine result pages
- Repeating the same keywords or phrases in your content too much. This makes your content sound unnatural and it doesn't add any value to your users
Here is a simple example of keyword stuffing on a website that offers outbound marketing software to their customers:
“We are in the business of selling outbound marketing software. Outbound marketing software is what we sell. If you are thinking of getting outbound marketing software get in touch with one of our outbound marketing software consultants.”
As you can see, this paragraph looks really unprofessional and it is obvious what the goal was here. It' easy to spot the usage of keyword stuffing and your potential users and customers won't like it.
It's pretty easy to use this method in your content, so you should pay extra attention when it comes to keywords stuffing. It is a common practice and you should avoid it as much as you can.
Is Black Hat SEO illegal - Cloaking
Cloaking technique is used when you want to show one content to your potential customer and a different content to search engines. The websites that are currently using Black Hat SEO techniques, such as cloaking, are experiencing rise in their SEO scores for a variety of keywords that are irrelevant to their articles and content. This is usually done by spam websites that only care about their SEO rankings. These websites don't provide any value to their users.
Making your content good for different groups of your users is acceptable. The example of this is shrinking the size of your web pages for your potential customers that are using mobile phones.
Tailoring your content to different groups of users is acceptable. For example, you might shrink the size of your website when someone visits from a mobile device. You might also change the language of a page based on the country someone is visiting from. A publisher like Forbes or Inc might change the ads that appear on a page in order to fund their content. These examples are completely acceptable. As long as you are not just changing the content that appears for search engine crawlers.
While there is no hard and fast rule to determine what's acceptable and what’s not, my best advice is to ask yourself, does what you intend to do solve for the user? If it does, then it’s acceptable. You should treat search engine bots that crawl your site the same as any other user.
If you are curious to find out how Google sees your website you can use the fetch as Google tool and compare this to what users see.