I’m sure we are all engaging in both white-hat and black-hat strategies to improve our rankings and visibility. Sometimes we unknowingly engage in activities that will tarnish our hard work and sometimes we implement such activities intentionally. Today’s blog is about the two common methods used by marketers all over the world, I hope this piece will help you.
Before I go any further, let me make clear the difference between white-hat activities and black-hat activities.
|White-hat strategies||Black-hat Tactics|
|White hat methods usually refer to optimization strategies or tactics that focus on your audience instead of search engines solely.
Such a strategy follows search engine guidelines/policies.
|Usually in SEO, black-hat strategies make use of aggressive strategies, tactics and techniques that mainly focus on search engines instead of the actual human audience.
Such a strategy doesn’t obey search engine guidelines.
Examples of white hat techniques: Writing quality content, Semantically structuring your mark up, using titles and meta data, using effective keywords & using inbound links
Examples of Black hat methods: Paid links, spam comments, duplicate content, Article spinning, keywords stuffing, invisible content and cloaking
It has become quite obvious that recent updates have hit sites pretty hard that have made use of hostile link profiles.
Here are the most common link spam methods you should be avoiding.
- Unwanted Marketing of Articles
Did you know that article link addiction still exists? What happens is you get at least 2 links with anchor text (of your choice). Such articles are cheap and easy and your ranking practically improves. You won’t be visible on the first page but every time you implement this strategy you get one step closer to your goal.
Such articles don’t require any creativity or mental effort. Many articles today are made for the sole purpose of getting a link. Most of these links are self-generated instead of endorsed. Google has reproached many article sites for their low-quality content.
- Fake Blog Networks
Let me tell you something- Google abhors blog networks. Blog networks include fake blogs or blogs that are meant to just drive traffic back to their client’s site.
Using guest blogs and other forms is a good way of contributing to your site but keep in mind that low-quality content is considered blog network spam.
When you come across content that’s of poor quality and has a couple of backlinks don’t you just feel appalled? Usually, if your guest blogs are of high quality then the word count doesn’t matter. Getting someone to guest blog is a great white-hat tactic and as long as your content is plagiarism free and doesn’t lack quality you aren’t in an y danger but if you have low-quality content with many backlinks, you’re in big trouble!
- Use Website Site Links Sparingly
Site wide links are usually present on the footer or on the side of a site. These links may have an attribute of no follow. Such tags usually do not give you credit on search engines.
Penguin has slammed numerous websites with a high quantity of site-wide links that most of us would not consider manipulative.
- Redirecting Domains
Though this isn’t technically a form of link building, 301 “purification” or “refinement” of domains is a dynamic of link manipulation. If you play the black hat game then you’re more likely to get burned. Building links to a domain that redirects one to a main domain is a safer way to recover from actions like Penguin. 301 is a redirecting command. Let’s say A and B have two separate websites. A has more traffic on his website whilst B doesn’t. Now, B wants to have more traffic on his site so what he does is ask A to redirect traffic from his site to B’s site. Earlier, it was easy to get away with this but ever since Google came up with an updated version of Penguin, such tactics were spammed.
- Poor Syndication of Press Release
If you’ve got poor syndication services then you’re bound to get it sent through almost any site which in turn will lead to a lot of links that will get you spammed.
The only way you could get authentic coverage and a high Return on Investment is to write up original and good quality Press Releases. Also, remember to make it news-worthy.
- Paid Links
There isn’t ever going to be a fail-safe way to notice or detect every paid link. That said it is easier than you think to leave a trail when you do it in immensity. You will have to rely on your seller to not make it obvious.
There are a couple of buyers out there (who have no relationship with you) who buy links irresponsibly. The inspection can dribble down through the sites they are buying from and this will eventually lead back to you.
If you do buy links, make sure everyone concerned knows what they are doing. Google does not forgive if you’re ‘caught’ buying links.
- Do not trick users with linkbaits
Linkbait on a website is content designed to attract attention & encourage viewers to create hyperlinks to the site in question. The aim of this is to improve the site’s position.
Linkbait and switch here means creating a bait of credible links for replacing the content with something that’s more beneficial to you financially. This tactic is used to trick people into linking to content that isn’t okay with Google.
- Use Directories scarcely
If your directory has no true standards then Google will most definitely devalue your links from such directories. You should only be making use of a link if at least one answer to the below-mentioned questions is yes.
- Would I want to pay money for a listing on this directory?
- Are the major current listings on quality sites?
- Does the listing link with the business site or the name of the site?
- Link Wheels and link exchanges
First, you’ve got to understand the difference between link wheels and link exchanges.
A link exchange can only occur when links are exchanged between two websites. This is a common practice today and many websites implement this tactic to improve traffic.
Link exchange is a big no-no especially since the Panda and Penguin updates. If you’re still engaging in such activities then Google will penalize you and let me tell you there is no ‘fun’ in being penalized.
Link wheel on the other hand is a backlinking strategy or tactic that is used by many today. Let us say there are 5 websites and each one of these websites wants every website in the circle to redirect their links to one another. Avoid this strategy under all circumstances.
- Be wary of Link Farms
Link farms are nothing but a series of web pages that are created with the main purpose of linking to a certain page (or a target page as others call it) to try and improve the ranking of your page on Search engines. Avoid this because Google can be really strict.
- Maybe Bookmarking isn’t what you thought it was
Breaking news: the links from major bookmarking sites have no value! Even if you point several of them on your page it isn’t going to get your page to be crawled (feeling bad?) There are many such sites that control and tame such links or as others call it- trash.
- Don’t aimlessly place links on sites
Today, everyone finds ways to aimlessly place links on a site or page just so that content goes viral. This can be a huge screw up from your side. Many people place links in their journals, forums or bios just to get attention (traffic) from other sources.
In some cases, this type of link spamming works but once you’ve been detected, you will be spammed.
- Comment Spam
This kind of unethical activity is very common. Very doesn’t even justify how common it is. No matter which page you’re on or which forum you come across you will find a lot of comment spamming. Users usually place links in their comments to redirect another user back to their own site (which is wrong) and that is why such comments are considered unethical. If your comment isn’t pure or is filled with pornographic content then welcome to Google’s black list!
- Forum Junk is a major setback for your business
This is when you post a question or content several times on a forum. If you do get comments with links those are also considered ‘junk’ and Google will detect such activities and penalize you.
- Buying Domains and redirecting them
In very rare cases (Emphasizing RARE) domain buying still works. What many do after buying domains is redirecting them and this leads to unwanted traffic. I can’t really go in-depth because I haven’t had first-hand experience in buying and redirecting domains but I hope this sums up what I want to say.
- Misusing profiles for business
There’s a tiff regarding what kind of unwanted material is considered trash because many businesses and brands need to reserve their rights to prevent others from stealing their brand name or imitating it.
In most cases, when a profile is followed by links and is also indexed then Google will interpret that page as a user page and will assess it consequently. It’s pretty obvious that the system isn’t up to par but it probably will get there someday.
Have you ever heard of the aphorism “everything is good but only in restraint?” Well, to be frank, black SEO isn’t all that awful if you do it in moderation. Everyone does it there is no point in lying about it but you should try implementing more of white hat strategies.