What is Black Hat SEO?
Jason: The term “Black Hat” came from sorta the Western movies where the good guys wear the white hats and the bad guys wore the black hats, that’s from my understanding, where “Black Hat” comes from.
So, it’s certainly a negative thing. Black Hat SEO is basically a different technique that can be used to manipulate search engines. It is something that we do not practice here at Clix, but many other companies do or individuals do, but it’s ultimately a way to manipulate the search engines in an automated fashion or a way that isn’t for a human-being.
Basically, an example of that would be link wheels, article spinning, content stuffing. Back in the “old days”, you would take hidden text or you’d take text and you’d put it in HTML on your website, so if you have a white background you would make the text that you’re trying to hide white so that the user wouldn’t see the actual content, but the search engines would pick it up.
So, unless you knew it was there or did a command + select all to see all of the hidden text, that would be a method you would use to manipulate the search engines, which would be considered Black Hat.
There’s a lot of different ways you can identify Black Hat techniques. One is, you can obviously look at the actual code of a website to see if there is hidden text. You can also see visible text which is called “Keyword Stuffing”. If the page is about a dentist and you’re just stuffing dentist in there left and right, that’s one way.
What’s going to end up happening is, you’re going to have that short term gain, your website will increase in rankings and once the search engines really figure out that you’ve manipulated them, you’re in for a world of hurt.
From a monetary perspective, it can be crushing. You’re always better off, the turtle wins the race. You’re better off in a slow, organic method as opposed to drinking through a firehose and trying to manipulate the search engines, getting hundreds, if not thousands, of backlinks on a monthly basis, which isn’t a natural progression in terms of building your authority.
You get what you pay for in our industry. So, if you were paying a low amount to an individual or a company, they’re probably not doing anything for you. We are a technician, SEO and inbound marketing requires a technical skill set, it requires a lot of knowledge, and it requires advanced learning on a continuous basis. And from that perspective, you want to deal with a high-end company and you’re going to pay more, but you’re going to get more.
It’s gotta pass the sniff test, is what I always say. So, a lot of times people will call us or prospects will call us and if they reference that they can do the same thing with somebody on Craigslist or somewhere else, they’ll end up calling us back once they realize they got that penalty.