In the past decade or so, the world of Search Engine Optimization has been split into two camps: Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO. Each of these approaches seeks to improve the rankings of websites in search results, but only one of them does so in an ethical, sustainable way.A Black and White Issue

It helps to think of Black Hat SEO tactics as bending the rules as opposed to following them. Whenever a search engine user enters a keyword or search phrase into Google, Yahoo, or Bing, that information is run through a series of ‘checks’ against all of the data that is available on the internet. These checks are also known collectively as an algorithm, and Black Hat SEO tactics seek to ‘game’ the system through the use of keyword stuffing, cloaking, or redirects.

So, What is Black Hat SEO?

Keyword Stuffing

Let’s say you’re trying to get more traffic to a website that sells fashion jewelry. To do this, you could take your time thoughtfully designing the site, making it user-friendly, and doing all you can to make the visitor experience on the site as ideal as possible. Or, you could just pack every single page with keywords like ‘fashion earrings, fashion bangles, fake gold necklace, cheap rings’, and on and on.

The idea with keyword stuffing is that by overusing certain keywords, search engines will think the site is relevant to people searching for those keywords. The truth is that virtually all of the biggest search engines have advanced measures in place to detect keyword stuffing, effectively making this practice very difficult to execute.

Cloaking

When a website presents content to search engines different from what the user actually sees when clicking a link through search results, that’s cloaking. The intent with this black hat SEO technique is to make the user think they’re getting one thing, when really they’re getting something else entirely.

So, while you might have clicked a link that looks like something related to cute puppies, you might get a solicitation for an investment, instead. Similar to keyword stuffing, search engines have gotten ‘smart’ enough to detect most forms of cloaking, but it’s still a commonly used Black Hat SEO tactic among dubious internet marketers.

Redirects

Redirects are similar to cloaking efforts in that the URL that the user clicks on isn’t the same URL that they end up visiting. There are actually useful ways of using redirects to make the user experience better, but they shouldn’t ever be used for the express purpose of improving the search rankings of a particular page or website.

Intentionally using redirects as a replacement for producing high-quality content will not work in the end, as the practice itself is considered a violation of many search engine guidelines.

White Hat SEO Always Wins

At Altitude SEO, we never use underhanded methods of tricking users or baiting content just to get more traffic. We know that these practices don’t result on long-term results, and they can actually be a detriment to your online presence.

To learn more about putting smart, White Hat SEO tactics to work for your business, contact Altitude SEO today.