How to Avoid Black Hat SEO Companies
If this is your first time seeking out an SEO company, you may not know exactly what to expect. You should never get involved with black hat SEO techniques, no matter what you do. But, to prevent your involvement with a pseudo-SEO company, you need to know exactly what black hat SEO is. Here are the differences between black hat SEO and white hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat is a term used to describe SEO practices that go against search engine regulations. Over the years, people have tried to improve their website rankings by incorporating manipulative and just plain dirty SEO tactics into the design of their websites. These tactics don’t yield very good results, however, as they often result in the user’s website being penalized or even banned. Nevertheless, people may try to sell you on some of these strategies. Here are some black hat tactics to look out for:
Keyword stuffing is exactly what it sounds like. This is a tactic that involves you stuffing as many keywords as possible into a webpage’s content. The theory behind this strategy is that the more keywords you have on a page, the more search engines will believe that your site is the correct place to direct queries for said keywords.
In reality, keyword stuffing is a horrible idea. Google’s algorithm is very sophisticated. Google can differentiate between good content with a few keywords in it and many keywords with a few bits of content in them. If Google senses that you might simply be trying to rank higher in SERPs, you have a good chance of getting penalized.
This is a particularly dirty kind of keyword stuffing implemented by black hats. Hidden text involves stuffing a bunch of keywords into a background color that is an exact match to the color of the text. Hence, you can’t see it. This is an attempt to hide keyword stuffing from site visitors who would otherwise find the site to be shady (because it is).
However, just as Google can tell if you’re stuffing keywords into your content, it can also tell if you’re stuffing keywords into your margins. And that is a no-no.
A doorway page is essentially a fake page that is of no use to human visitors. Instead, doorway pages aim to trick search engine spiders into thinking that the site is larger than it actually is, and that it contains more keyword-related topics than it actually does (black hats will often throw some keywords in these fake pages too). Doorway pages are prohibited from most search engines and, as mentioned previously, it’s getting more and more difficult to outsmart Google.
White Hat SEO
The only way to truly improve your index rankings and to draw more traffic to your website is to practice white hat SEO. White hat SEO means that your optimization strategies are ethical, conform to the search engines’ guidelines and provide valuable content to search engine users. Rather than keyword stuffing, you should be creating interesting and unique content that readers will find useful. A few keywords here and there aren’t bad, but you can’t go crazy with them.
The biggest difference between black hat and white hat SEO is time. Black hat SEO users expect to see results overnight. But even if they do, it’s almost guaranteed that the site will be penalized or banned, thus, no more rankings. On the other hand, white hat SEO takes a lot of time, sometimes months and months, before big results are visible. However, if you practice good SEO, those results could serve you well for quite a while.
Check out our rankings list of SEO companies to find a trustworthy agency.