Businesses looking for quick results may be tempted to resort to aggressive SEO techniques and tactics that do not obey search engine guidelines. Such practices are sometimes recommended by untrustworthy “experts” who don’t have the patience wait for the results of a long-term website promotion strategy. Website owners should be cautious about adopting such practices because they could result in the website being de-indexed (banned) by search engines. It’s even happened to brands as big as BMW, and as far back as 2006.

Black Hat SEO techniques

(Pixabay / tookapic)

While black hat SEO may give a website owner instant gratification by immediately improving their search engine rankings, there are some serious consequences that the website could be in for in the long term. Being declared unethical and therefore getting banned by search engines is a severe punishment that could cost the website owner his or her business.

Here are a few “black hat” SEO tactics to steer clear of at all costs.

Keyword Stuffing

After narrowing down keywords that a business wants to target, some business owners or their marketing team figure “more the merrier” and stuff keywords indiscriminately throughout their content.  This causes for an unnatural read, which makes visitors leave your website quicker, which negatively impacts your site’s search engine visibility.

Hidden or Invisible Text

If you can’t visibly stuff your content, why not invisibly stuff it?

This strategy is not as common as it used to be (hallelujah!), however, some website owners and internet marketers purposely added text to a page so that readers don’t get bored of the content, but search engines “see” keyword-rich terms mentioned over and over.  Hello, keyword stuffing again?  This is usually done in the form of white text on a white background, but search engines can easily see that pattern and are quick to penalize you.

Article Spinning

Alright, so we can’t stuff our content or hide it?  Maybe just rip it off from other credible websites?  Wrong.

Search engine bots and web crawlers are looking for new content on your website, so it’s in your best interest to update your blog regularly. While this is a good SEO practice, the tactic of article spinning (re-arranging content that’s already been written) is frowned upon by search engines.  Article spinning aims to make it look like the website content is being updated without putting in any work to generate new information. However, the resulting new articles don’t have any fresh content, are usually very poorly written, and do not read naturally.

There are many other kinds of black hat techniques that aim to, at least in the short term, boost your search engine rankings. Don’t fall for them. These shady practices can do more harm than good to a business and could even get a website permanently banished.