I was asked to take a look at a new customer’s website recently. She had experienced a rapid fall in her search engine rankings for key search terms just a few weeks after employing off-shore ‘SEO specialists’ to improve her site’s search positions.
In this case, the SEO company had created several hundred spamtastic links back to her site by posting irrelevant comments on some pretty dubious foreign article websites.
In fairness, they did provide an Excel sheet that details all the links they had posted in order to prove their endeavors. At least we have a starting point for disavowing these links.
Now Google takes a rather dim view of this particular kind of search engine poisoning and was quick to punish this innocent site owner by rendering her site invisible in searches.
So, here’s the big lesson: You can’t fool search engines by using black hat techniques to boost rankings. There was a time you could, but the best you could hope for now is a temporary lift before search engines cotton on and spank you mercilessly for trying to trick them.
Here are five more classic black hat techniques you should avoid like the plague.
Search engines want to serve up good, relevant content and one of the main barometers for content quality is the number of natural links from other pages pointing to it. Search engines don’t want to see reciprocal link exchanges. A reciprocal link is no quality indicator and at best will be ignored by search engines. If your site has too many of the little blighters, you’ll get spanked.
This is quite a common one and often you’ll find them in the footers of websites. You’ve seen them. There will be a ton of them with anchor text that describes in many different ways a single service or product or multiple locations. Just don’t do it. It looks desperate, it’s not effective and if it is deemed your links are only for ranking purposes, you’ll get a Googlesmack.
This still goes on in 2015! This is the dodgy practice of text and background being the same colour to hide the keywords to all but search engines. Just don’t do it! It really is pathetic.
If you search for ‘article spinning’ you will find loads of free tools that will take articles and supposedly paraphrase and reword them, so you can use them without being wellied for publishing duplicate content. First, these spinning tools usually churn our rubbish and secondly, the duplicate content detection software in search engines can usually sniff out spun copy. It’s lazy and it’s intellectual theft. Avoid at all costs.
Bought directory links:
Okay, buying a link on a good quality, humanly-edited, no-follow directory is fine. There’s no SEO value to it but it doesn’t harm you either. On the other hand, buying a link on a generalised directory for SEO purposes is frowned upon by search engines and when I say ‘frowned’ I mean creases in the forehead and everything. Steer clear!
Tricking search engines by employing black hat techniques simply isn’t sustainable. If you’re looking to outsource to an SEO company, first ask them about their tactics and methodology. If it sounds a bit fly and dodgy, it probably is and you should walk away.
If you’re worried that your site may have had some black hat work carried out on it, get in touch and we will check it out for you.