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  • SEO Recap – Avoid Black Hattery

    When you are enthusiastically trying to attain good rankings for your website, it’s easy to get off track and buy into black hat concepts that will eventually get your website banned in search engines!  Even Google recommends that we design our web-sites for the users and not for the search engines. This means  that each website should be transparent, and not contain anything that is invisible to a human visitor (with the exception of backend coding required to operate the website).

    This means no hidden texts or hidden links in the website that are placed there with the intention of tricking the search engines. Hidden text is created by changing the color of the font to the color of the background, making the text and the links invisible. This is considered to be very bad black hat activity by Google and can get you a penalty fast!

    Google recommends that we implement keywords that we know people use for searching for information or services we offer or products we sell. We should include these in the page content to make our page relevant to the searches made.

    However, another black hat tactic is keyword stuffing; when webmasters misuse this concept and stuff keywords which are not relevant to the page into the content with the sole intention of artificially increasing the keyword density.This leads to a tendency to hire copywriters who will churn out keyword stuffed content, repeating the keywords in the content as well in an unnatural way, which makes the website text read awkwardly.

    Other black hat webmasters create multiple pages with the same content (which will lead to duplicate content issues. Not only pages, but even multiple domains or multiple sub domains should not be created with duplicate content. This also applies to ‘mirror sites’ and articles spammed across directories.

    In addition, don’t use doorway pages to attract users to your website. If you are participating in any affiliate programs, your affiliate page should never contain exactly the same content as the other affiliates in the same network. This does not add any value to your website, and just makes it a carbon copy, ranked lower than senior affiliate pages.

    Another black hat trick some webmasters try to use involves tricking both the users and search engines by using illegal redirects. This means the actual landing page will be different from the page the visitor thinks they are going to. The search result will show a page that is different from the actual page the visitor lands on.

    This is normally used when the competition for keywords is high.  Keywords that are slightly related to the services offered by the website but less competitive will be used to target customers and search engines.

    However, most of these keywords will not be very close to the actual landing page offered. When users click on those results, they will be forwarded without their knowledge or intent and arrive on a different page which could not be ranked well in the search engines due to the level of competition.

    Finally it goes without saying that your website should not contain any malware or viruses that will take over the browser of the visitor or install any program in the computer of the visitor. You should never try to make your website their default homepage without their authorization or perform other similar actions such as installing anything without their consent.

    There are many other black hat tricks used to get good rankings or to get more traffic to websites, and they should all be avoided.  Anyone who is really serious about their online reputation will do well to avoid these spammy tricks, not only for their reputation among visitors, but to avoid penalties from Google and other search engines.

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