Black hat SEO is like a forbidden fruit of the marketing world.
It tempts you with its sweetness and may even work for some time. But in the long run, you end up with a desolated website, flagged by Google, never to be ranked again.
SEO case study recently picked apart popular black hat SEO tactics, explaining why you should avoid each at all costs.
Here are some of the most notable offenders…
#1 – Hidden text and links. This is when you stuff an article with keywords and links, then hide them with text color, another element, put them off-screen, or make the text tiny.
Google bots may skip this initially, but will eventually understand that you’re hiding something, which can put your article—if not your entire website—in jeopardy.
#2 – Bait-and-switch. A popular method where you build a website’s authority with top quality content, only to switch some pages with lower quality copy or unrelated content later.
For example, Groupon used this technique to host a legitimate promotion that stayed on the first page, but later they switched it to something else entirely… leaving the expired promotion content intact so it still ranked.
#3 – Paid backlinks. Yes, we know. This is still a subject for debate. However, Google officially states that paying for links is out of the question in their guidelines.
For now, you need to earn links organically and not through monetary transactions or similar “schemes.”
#4 – Spammy programmatic content. Although programmatic SEO exists and can sometimes be legitimate, most automatically generated content makes no sense.
Such content provides no real value to the reader. Think auto-translated pages with no context, auto-paraphrasing, or rewording to avoid plagiarism checks, merging pages, and similar.
Of course, you could risk it… Some private blog networks (PBNs), A-B-C link exchanges, and similar methods still seem to be going strong. It’s up to you whether you want to embark on that journey.
But there’s always the worry that the next core update will burst that bubble, too.