Things don’t always have to be so black and white.
In the world of search engine optimization (from here on out referred to as SEO) there are nice ways to boost your websites ranking in search engine results, and not-so-nice ways.
Black hat SEO is a term for using unethical tactics to bump a website up the search engine results page (SERP). There are several tactics of black hat SEO that we will outline, and also present the safer “white hat” alternatives. We say safer, because there is real risk in using black hat techniques. If Google becomes aware of your site using unethical SEO measures, they can give penalties to your website.
Black Hat SEO Strategies
Hidden Content – Hiding content and keywords on a site can make that site appear in search results that may not be relevant to the visible content. Content can be hidden in several ways, for example, black text against a black background.
Stuffing or Spamming Meta Tags – This tactic used to be viable, but now it will most certainly get your site flagged for black hat SEO. Stuffing meta tags is simply including keywords in your meta tags that are not in any way relevant to your content. For example, a food site that includes tags not relating to food at all, perhaps “kate middleton” or “celebrity news” could stuff their meta tags to try to end up in search results that are not relevant to their content.
Link Farming – Link farming, also called link building, is the exchange of inbound links with other sites for the sole purpose of boosting your site’s PageRank. Usually these links are invisible and serve no purpose for users, making them a black hat SEO strategy. For a more in depth explanation read our article about no-follow links and why they exist.
Doorway Passages – Also called portal, gateway, or bridge pages. These pages are basically trap doors, they are optimized to show up for certain keyword search results, but once you click into these doorway pages you are immediately redirected to another website that is irrelevant to your original search.
White Hat SEO Strategies
Using Solid Keyword Phrases – Before committing to a keyword phrase, make sure to research it thoroughly and test it on search engines to ensure that you will be reaching your desired audience. Once you select your keyword phrase, use it in your content frequently. The more usage the keyword gets in a relevant context, the more quality the site will appear to a search engine.