Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are simply used to increase the visibility of a website within a search engine’s results; however, there are certain SEO techniques that are approved of by search engines and other techniques that are not.
It is critical for any business utilizing SEO methods to stay away from “black hat” techniques as these strategies are typically used to deceive search engines in an attempt to improve site rankings and visibility within search engines. Black hat SEO involves different tactics of search engine deception.
A Few Techniques to Avoid:
1. Invisible text – Don’t color text the same color as the site background, position text off screen, or format text or images as visually undetectable links.

  • Example: This text is ineligible because the text color blends into the background.

Write content that is intended to be read, create obvious links, and contrast background and text colors.

2. Cloaking – Don’t present search engines with one set of content and site visitors with another. Cloaking tricks users into visiting a page with different content than they expected.

  • Example: A user searches for “puppies”, clicks on a search result that seems to be about how to train puppies, but is greeted with a page about buying clothes.

Create web pages that accurately reflect the description on the search engine results page. Ensure the site is what the user will want and expect to see.

3. Unrelated Keywords – Don’t add unrelated keywords to the body copy of a page for extra page hits.

  • Example: “Kim Kardashian would use our Bounty paper towels if she had kids.”

Focus the content on a specific topic so that the users find what they are searching for. This sentence is much better: “Our Bounty paper towels are absorbent and will help you clean up after kids.”

It is within the rights of search engines to penalize sites found to be using black hat SEO techniques. The search engine may reduce the site’s ranking or delete the site’s listings from their database entirely. If a site has been removed from the search engine results list, it is necessary to correct the offending pages in order to be reentered into the search engine’s database.

It’s important to use white hat SEO techniques, not only because it is ethical, but because these methods ensure long term results that are ultimately more helpful to the end user. Keywords will be more effective and accurate with white hat SEO practices. It’s much easier and more effective to create web content for human users and then later optimize the content for search engine spiders than to partake in black hat SEO. Are your SEO practices ethical and effective?

As a full service marketing agency, The Belford Group creates branding, websites, marketing, social media and search engine optimization solutions to assist our clients in finding and reaching their ideal audience.

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