Black Hat SEO Link Building
Black Hat SEO is a practice that could increase your website’s rank in search engine result, but also violates Google’s terms of service. Black Hat SEO strategies are risky to use for any business. Although it can temporarily improve your site’ssearch rank, it could also end up with your site being de-indexed or de-listed. (Google calls this a manual penalty.)
The name “Black Hat” is a reference to old Western movies, where the villains usually wore black hats. Alternately, the good guys wore white ones. SEO strategies can be considered “Black Hat” if they increase rankings, but otherwise add no value to the user. It most likely won’t be worth doing long haul, as penalties from Google could be catastrophic to your business. If you rely on search to bring you business, you would not want to risk being removed from search results. Recovery takes a lot more effort than just having done everything correctly in the first place, if it is even possible at all.
While there are many different Black Hat SEO strategies that are commonly used, such as hidden text and cloaking, today we will focus on link building.
What Is Black Hat SEO Link Building?
Before we get to explaining the bad (Black Hat), we will first help you understand the good (White Hat). White Hat link building is a way of building links that the search engine (Google) would like you to follow. A company can make a deal with webmasters, bloggers, publishers, and editors to add a link back to your site. Some call this the process of “earning links.”
Google can’t catch everything. Having said this, you’re putting yourself at risk if you use any Black Hat link building tactics. As such, it’s best to avoid them. If you’re worried that some of your current link building methods might be categorized as “Black Hat SEO”, you can double check by referring to Google’s and Bing’s webmaster guidelines. But to help you out, here are some examples of link building strategies that will get you penalized.
Proper link building is generally a long and difficult process. This is why it can be very temping to buy links to boost your SEO, because the process is so easy. But you are better off avoiding this Black Hat link building strategy. It directly goes against one of the Google webmaster guidelines that we linked to above.
Buying or selling links that pass PageRank: This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
We have seen quite a few websites being penalized for product reviews. While this practice was used as a traditional PR strategy, many websites started abusing the system for the SEO benefits. This has forced Google to say that you cannot exchange money or products for a followed link that will pass value to your site.
Google wants companies to rank well in search results because they offer value to the consumer, and not because they are throwing money around to buy links that add no other value other than to boost their rankings. And if you think about it, it makes sense. Google has to worry about user experience, or else the users will find another search engine.
Exploiting Security Flaws To Inject Hidden Links On A Website That Isn’t Yours.
Like Black Hat link buying, this process involves using someone’s website without them knowing about it. You’d actively find a loophole in a site’s security and exploit it for your own SEO purposes.. This is pretty obvious Black Hat link building. Not only is this computer hacking, which is illegal by the way, it also won’t gain you any long-term benefits. Google is always on the lookout for these tactics. This means that if you’re caught, the work you’ve done and rankings you’ve gained can be gone in an instant. Did we mention this is also illegal? You could go to jail for it as well.
Using PBN’s (Private Blog Networks)
With this tactic, you create several obscure private blogs that exist only to link back to your main site. Linking back to your key pages will give you a ratings boost. This process actually takes a lot of work, as you have to register the sites and create the blog posts that go on them. Even if you don’t get flagged for this tactic, it most likely isn’t worth the hassle. If you would have spent your time creating quality original content for your own website, instead of your blogs, you would have ranked naturally anyways, without the risk for a penalty. What’s the point with this really?
Using duplicate content is a major Black Hat tactic that will almost always get your site taken down. Nobody wants to click on a link and read plagiarized content.
It’s also possible to plagiarize your own content.
For example, it used to be commonplace that companies advertising to different locations would create a web page that specifically targeted a city, and then duplicate it- changing only the city’s name.
This offers absolutely no value to your visitors. It feels unnatural, and looks like spam to search engines.
Instead, try the White Hat strategy of re-purposing content to make it useful.
Grey Hat Linking
Some other strategies exist in a sort of grey area, thus earning them the nickname “Grey Hat” tactics. They are OK for right now, but might eventually become no-no’s for Google as well.
This include sponsoring events, just so you can get backlinks. When you sponsor an event and they link to your site, Google actually would prefer that you make a “no follow” request. Directory submissions are generally OK, unless you pick up hundreds of directories. Using widget links is edging ever closer to being full Black Hat, but you can sneak by if you use widgets sparingly.
Comment links and website footer links are fine, but really won’t gain you much traffic. Regarding commenting on blogs, the plus side can be that if you comment enough, the blogger will know who you are and you can potentially leverage that relationship to achieve your goal. With footer links, it goes on the opposite direction. If you use too many, you will enter a penalty area.