Black Hat SEO explained for beginners

If you’ve ever dabbled in a bit of search engine optimization, then there are many terms you’re likely to come across. Two of these terms are white hat and black hat SEO. A lot of the time, you see or hear them, and you don’t really stop to think about what they actually mean. Don’t worry, if you’re an SEO newbie, I’ll explain them to you, with more of a focus on black hat SEO.

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What Is Black Hat SEO?

To explain this, we may as well start by defining white hat SEO. Essentially, this term refers to all the techniques you use that aim to follow the search engine guidelines. Your focus is on doing things that play by the rules.

On the contrary, black hat SEO is the opposite of this. Instead of focusing on the search engine guidelines for SEO, you try and trick the system. Primarily, the rules and best practices set out by Google dictate that white hat SEO is more about human users. You do things to your website that are designed to enhance the human user experience. As a result, you’ll rank highly. Black hat SEO is more about looking at ways to manipulate search engines, without caring about your human audience.

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Examples Of Black Hat SEO

There are plenty of examples of black hat SEO out there, the most obvious of which is keyword stuffing. This is where you fill your web content full of keywords, to the point where the content is almost unreadable and makes no sense. The theory is that Google ranks websites based on keyword density, so the more you have, the better. Another idea is generating backlinks by spamming your website link everywhere you can imagine. Again, we know Google ranks sites depending on how many backlinks they have, hence this idea.

If you’re unsure if something is black hat or white hat, there are two things you can do. Firstly, check out the services offered by any search engine optimization companies you can find. They tend to only use white hat techniques, so if you’ve got an idea that isn’t part of their services, then it’s probably black hat. Secondly, you could read through the Google search engine guidelines. Granted, this takes time and effort, so make sure you’ve got both of these things spare.

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Should You Use Black Hat SEO?

No, absolutely not. Why? Because black hat techniques will harm your search ranking, rather than improve it. Only focus on clean, white hat techniques if you want to improve your organic search engine optimization. Otherwise, Google hands out penalties to sites that don’t follow the rules. You might think spamming backlinks and stuffing keywords will help you out, but it will actually result in a ranking penalty that decreases your exposure.

It’s easy for beginners to accidentally use black hat techniques without realizing. From my perspective, the best piece of advice I can give is to think about user experience. Focus on making your site good for users to go on, and you should naturally start incorporating white hat techniques that give your ranking a big boost.

*This is a contributed post

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