In Hollywood, a general rule of thumb is that any cowboy wearing a black hat should be avoided…unless you want to end up with a belly full of lead. Turns out that the same rule applies to websites and black hat SEO. * Our lawyers have asked us to stress that Google won’t literally shoot you if you engage in black hat techniques – but this practice may negatively affect your search engine rankings.
So what is black hat SEO? Named after the black hats the aforementioned movie bad guys often wear, black hat SEO is – as you might have guessed – not good! It’s a way for website owners to rank higher in search engines by using techniques that go against search engine guidelines. If Google catches you using these techniques, you can be in real hot water. * Again, metaphorical – they won’t boil you. Jeez, you can’t say anything these days!
Here’s everything you need to know about this shady strategy – and why it’s to be avoided.
What are black hat SEO techniques?
So, how does black hat SEO work? Basically, it refers to strategies that Google isn’t cool with, such as keyword stuffing, buying dodgy backlinks, bait-and-switch link tactics, or using invisible links or text that search engines see but the reader doesn’t.
And why do people do these things? Well, black hat SEO used to work well in the short term, giving websites unfair advantages. But in recent years, Google has cracked down on websites using black hat techniques, penalising them heavily for these tactics. It’s a sneaky way to try to cheat the system and once upon a time it worked – but in 2022, the ol’ black hat just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Is it bad to use black hat SEO? Definitely. Sure, there’s a chance of a quick traffic boost, but it’s really not worth the risk. It can harm your hard-earned SEO rankings, reduce traffic, and damage your site, costing you leads and income. No bueno.
If black hat SEO is no good, what’s the alternative?
The best way to build your website and improve your rankings over time is by doing the opposite of black hat SEO: white hat SEO!
White hat techniques are strategies that fit into Google’s approved methods. This can include genuine link building, using keywords correctly, and optimising your image descriptions, meta descriptions and headers.
Google also cares greatly about the user experience, so if you want to see your rankings climb, you need to produce regular, high-quality content that meets user intent and keeps them coming back for more. This means killer blog posts, well-written pages, and a positive user experience when navigating your site.
White hat techniques can take some time to show results. But it’s 100% worth it if you want to grow your business organically and sustainably.
Is black hat SEO bad? Yep – it’s the baddest man in the whole damn town. Don’t go down that road, pardner! Instead, prioritise safe and effective SEO techniques. We can help you with everything white hat (we don’t touch the bad stuff!), from SEO audits to SEO-optimised blog posts that your readers will love.