blackhat earning methods risks and rewards
Black Hat SEO: Definition, Risks, Features
It is from this thirst for success at all costs that come to the methods of “black hat”, or black hat in French.
But what is a black hat technique in reality, and what are its specificities?
You can find all the answers on this subject in the following lines.
Black, grey, white hat, what’s the difference?
To improve the positioning of your website on search engines, you must optimize its referencing.
This includes being aware of search engine SEO requirements.
While some people follow them to the letter (white), others choose to circumvent them (black), and still, others stay on the middle line (grey).
This is what makes the main difference between black, gray, and white hat in SEO.
Black hat SEO definition
In the field of natural referencing or SEO, black hat refers to methods that do not meet the requirements of search engines, mainly Google.
Webmasters and marketers use black hat techniques to fool search engines.
Thus, they can get their websites back on the first page of Google results and get very strong website traffic, but for a limited period of time.
Smart black hat SEO specialists also take the necessary measures to prevent their actions from being easily detected.
The idea is generally to identify flaws in Google’s algorithm and then exploit them for their own purposes.
Gray hat SEO definition
Using white hat SEO techniques is not always enough to obtain a good position on Google, so some SEOs do not hesitate to deviate from the rules.
However, they use some Black Hat SEO techniques and combine them with SEO methods in accordance with Google Webmaster guidelines (white hat SEO).
Thus, this practice can also expose you to a penalty if Google identifies your actions.
Here are the commonly used Gray Hat SEO techniques:
Construction of link circuits
Content spinning or generation of alternative content to an initial text (in a large number of versions)
Registration of old or recently expired domain names.
Google bombing or Google bombing.
White hat SEO definition
White hat SEO consists of respecting Google’s guidelines, in particular by favoring SEO-optimized quality content and offering relevant information to readers.
This optimized content is then shared through specialized forums or on social networks to reach the maximum number of targets.
Inbound marketing is also another legal way you can use to drive traffic to your website and get it up in the SERPs.
Unlike black hat techniques, white hat SEO is more focused on user experience and added value, and not on results at all costs.
What techniques are considered black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO consists mainly of automation actions, such as the automatic generation of sites or blogs containing many links.
Here is a list of the main techniques used in black hat SEO:
Cloaking consists of offering Google a page that is perfectly optimized for SEO and showing the user another page at the top for the user experience.
It is a black hat method with great potential that Google judges very severely.
This SEO black hat practice can be done via:
The user agent
The HTTP_Referer or Accept-language header
The IP address.
It should be noted that Google nevertheless tolerates certain types of Cloaking, such as geographical targeting of the Internet user.
Negative SEO consists in preventing or limiting the development of competing sites in order to be able to place themselves in front of them.
This very unfair method goes against the search engine and the users because one page is often placed before another because of the value of its content.
The main techniques used in negative SEO include:
The generation of unwanted backlinks
Rewriting paragraphs on a page to generate duplicate content, etc.
Duplicate content is a practice whereby some unscrupulous sites take content that already exists on an external site and copies it to their own site.
Thus, in the Google index, several similar textual contents are accessible on different URLs.
This therefore also applies to content copied from sites in foreign languages and then translated automatically.
Misuse of Snippets
By Featured Snippets and Rich Snippets, we mean additional elements of a page to enrich the search results.
This can be information placed under the title of a search result (reviews, prices, answers to FAQs, etc.) or displays generated by Google in position 0.
Thus, the user can more easily find the answer to his request.
In particular, some professionals decide to integrate fake opinions or false ratings into the schema.org markup.
Google can hardly verify this kind of manipulation which, moreover, does not directly affect SEO.
Although a positive rating can influence Internet users and tip their clicks in favor of your website.
Content spinning on a satellite page
Doorway pages are website pages created for the sole purpose of gaining high rankings in a search engine index and manipulating users.
Usually filled with keywords and phrases, they lead to several similar pages in search results.
Eventually, each result takes you to the same destination.
Thanks to content spinning, you can, for example, duplicate the content of a page for each city, in order to attract more traffic to your website.
This is contrary to white hat SEO practices since each page you create should provide unique value to the reader and have a purpose.
Hidden text content
Hidden texts were created for SEO only and are more suitable for flash sites.
However, it must be used in a rigorous and insightful way so that Google does not consider it spamdexing.
Some webmasters use it as part of black hat SEO, for example by playing on colors or fonts to blend the texts into the mass.
Hidden content is present on a page, but users do not read it.
Automated bulk link generation
Although still used today in black hat SEO, mass link generation techniques are less and less effective.
Indeed, search engine algorithms detect them quickly.
We can mention in particular:
Comment spam: mass submission of comments on thousands of sites including links to your website
Forum spam: mass creation of forum profiles by integrating a link to your website
Automatic generation of free blogs: to integrate duplicate or poor-quality content with a link to your website.
It can also be to redirect an authoritative page (with many backlinks) to another irrelevant page, simply to strengthen the position of the latter in the search results.
In order not to be assimilated to black hat SEO, redirections should only be used for their initial purpose: change of domain name for example.
Keyword Stuffing or keyword stuffing
This practice involves stuffing your content with irrelevant keywords in an attempt to manipulate the page’s ranking on search engine results.
Given the different evolutions of Google’s algorithm, keyword stuffing is less and less used today.
Instead of stuffing your content with irrelevant keywords, prioritize providing a good user experience, focusing on topics rather than keywords.
Hacking a website
Some black hat SEO specialists do not hesitate to hack websites to take advantage of their SEO.
After accessing these websites, they take the opportunity, for example, to insert a free backlink in their favor.
They can also do negative SEO and delete pages, insert a virus on a server, steal sensitive information, etc.
Link farm evolution
This tool is appreciated by SEOs who do black hat SEO because it helps generate quality links as part of a backlinks campaign.
With the Link farm evolution, it is possible to take better advantage of content management platforms, such as Pligg or WordPress.
Naturally, the exploitation of this tool is frowned upon by Google, which does not hesitate to apply sanctions when it detects cheating in the referencing of websites.
What are the risks of using black hat methods?
Using black hat SEO techniques to rank your website carries significant risks.
Most SEOs avoid such practices for obvious reasons:
A degraded user experience
Black hat SEO creates a bad experience for your target.
When the content on your web pages looks like spam, most visitors abandon your website because of the bad experience.
Search engines then note these negative results and remove your website from the SERPs to ensure people are having a good time online.
This is why you should always work with a search engine optimization specialist who follows the rules of white hat SEO.
The latter will implement ethical and sustainable SEO practices so that you build trust with users.
Penalties from search engines
By embarking on black hat SEO, SEOs know full well that they risk penalties from the algorithm of search engines like Google.
If the black hat makes it possible to quickly obtain a good positioning in the SERPS, the final results however remain ephemeral.
Risking having your website penalized for cheating is not the right option when you want to engage in a serious SEO operation.
To avoid downgrading your site and claim a more stable SEO result, rely on white hat SEO practices instead.
Significant losses for your business
If your website loses traffic and visibility due to black hat SEO, it will negatively impact conversions and revenue for your business.
Not only is your income likely to decline, but job losses or even the closure of your business may follow.
At best, a sharp drop in your organic traffic may force you to invest more in PPC or other paid media.
Judicial sanctions in extreme cases
With some black hat SEO methods, you can expose yourself to legal penalties, but these are usually extreme cases.
If, for example, you hack a website in order to take advantage of its referencing and visibility, you logically expose yourself to legal proceedings.
Note that companies also have legal recourse if Google punishes them because their SEO agency uses black hat tactics.
Even though the law does not address SEO, it does provide various legal principles that might apply to seeking legal redress or even obtaining damages.
How does Google sanction black hat practices?
When a website owner’s illegal actions are detected, their site can be downgraded or even worse, blacklisted.
The penalties can indeed be:
Algorithmic: applied automatically
Manual: Inflicted manually by Google’s anti-spam team.
In either case, these penalties mostly affect your page rankings in the SERPs.
Google may trigger an update to its algorithm, resulting in your website’s ranking being downgraded or permanently banned by the search engine.
Websites placed on Google’s blacklist are generally destined to disappear.
In other words, your website no longer appears in search results when your target audience searches for you.
Of course, it is possible to avoid this sentence and to return to the good graces of the master of search engines in various forms and processes.
In summary, is black hat SEO reliable?
Black hat SEO is in stark contrast to white hat SEO, which is based on techniques strongly encouraged by search engines like Google.
In order to benefit from the advantages of both worlds, other specialists opt for the gray hat. However, this strategy can also expose you to a penalty if Google identifies your actions.
Black hat SEO techniques are essentially based on worthless content, abusive redirects, link manipulation, and negative SEO.
You should always keep in mind that using them to rank your website carries significant risks: penalties from Google, lawsuits, lower revenue, etc.
The key to avoiding them is to put the SEO of your business in the hands of knowledgeable people.