Hackernoon logo6 Risky Black Hat SEO Tactics That Attract Google Penalties by@preciousoboidhe

6 Risky Black Hat SEO Tactics That Attract Google Penalties

Black Hat SEO tactics are a set of unacceptable tactics used by a website owner, an SEO agency to manipulate Google's algorithms for improved website ranking. Keyword stuffing is a Black Hat technique of populating content with needless words to manipulate search engine results. Keywords are used to make a website appear spammy and untrustworthy. Google regularly updates its algorithm to fix loopholes used by Black Hat. Google could remove your entire website from search results if you don't use these tactics. Google doesn't condone actions that trick search engines and users.
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Precious Oboidhe Hacker Noon profile picture

@preciousoboidhePrecious Oboidhe

Freelance copywriter helping busy brand owners to create digital marketing assets that attract their target audience.

Every website owner wants the same outcome as you – ensure their
website content appears on the first page of Google search results.

But this desire isn't always feasible. Google only accommodates less than 12 organic search results per page. As such, desperate SEOs try different means to game the system to get their content to page 1 of search results. This is a harmful practice for small to midsize service-based and eCommerce businesses.

Google doesn’t condone actions that trick search engines and users. This is why there are numerous algorithm updates and Google penalties to deter erring web admins and SEOs.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO is a set of unacceptable tactics used by a website owner, an SEO freelancer, or an SEO agency to manipulate Google's algorithms for improved website ranking.

These sets of unhealthy SEO practices violate Google's guidelines, and the effects are usually ugly.

I read a blogger’s post and came across an unsettling paragraph that cost the blogger his entire website.

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He invested in a $10 SEO tool and hoped to get valuable backlinks. However, the reverse happened.

  1. He got Google penalties
  2. His traffic fell from about 3,000 monthly website visitors to 20
  3. He had to relaunch his entire website

Consequences of Black Hat SEO Techniques

Lower search ranking

Black Hat SEO tactics get Google pissed and the results are always dire. At best, your web pages will get traffic in an incredibly reduced amount. On the flip side, it doesn't get any better. Google could remove your entire website from search results.

Short-term gains that vanish quickly

Google continuously updates its algorithm to fix loopholes used by Black Hat SEOs. Any gain that existed will be quickly flushed out. This makes the effort pointless and a waste of time.

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Awful user experience

Black Hat SEO tactics create horrible experiences for a website visitor. They make a website appear spammy and untrustworthy. These tactics only result in one outcome – cause the customer to exit your website.

If you don't want to wake up to a banned website or one with reduced traffic, you need to avoid the following Black Hat SEO tactics.

6 Common Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid & Their Easy Fixes

Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is a Black Hat SEO technique of populating content with needless words to manipulate search engine results. An example is in the picture below.

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Cramming keywords into a web page isn't worth it. It will provide short-term gain and long-term loss. Keyword stuffing doesn't apply to the body of blog posts alone. They also apply to your:

  1. Meta descriptions
  2. H1 tags
  3. Title tags
  4. Google my business listing

According to Google, the following counts as keyword stuffing:

  1. Using the same words or phrases in an unnatural way
  2. Listing phone numbers that offer no value
  3. Blocks of text listing cities and states a web page is trying to rank
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How to Fix Keyword Stuffing

Rather than stuff keywords and attract a Google penalty, do these:

  1. Create valuable SEO content around your keywords. They will provide a better user experience, satisfy Google, and everybody goes home happy.
  2. Use keywords naturally in your posts and web page
Spam Blog Comments

Two days after I published a blog post, I received a spam comment that
required approval.

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After reading the comment, I flagged it as spam and deleted it.

Blog comment spam is a Black Hat SEO technique of adding a link to
a website in blog comments.

This SEO tactic is fading out of practice but still occurs in small
amounts, even in 2021. The Google Penguin update makes this practice fruitless because zero authority goes to links in blog comments.

As a website owner, you have a duty of moderating your website's comments. Here is why:

  1. According to Google, you risk removal or demotion of your pages overrun with user-generated spam. Google does this to protect the quality of search results.
  2. Spam comments may have malicious links to sites that can negatively affect your users.


How to Fix Spam Blog Comments

If you've engaged in spam blog comments, you can fix it using the Google
Disavow tool
. Please use this tool with caution.

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  1. Always clean up your comments as I did. This prevents your web visitors from clicking malicious links that may taint your brand.
  2. Enable tools like Google reCAPTCHA on your website and always update your WordPress plugin and themes. This reduces the risk of bots commenting on your content.
Bait and switch

Bait and switch is a Black Hat SEO tactic of creating content to rank
for a particular keyword. Once the page or post is ranking, the content is then switched with different content. This Black Hat SEO technique is notorious for selling online products. This technique breaches your audience's trust and can have a terrible impact on long-term revenue.

How to Fix Bait and Switch

  1. Instead of losing your customers with bait and switch, you can hire quality writers to create content for every keyword you want to rank.
  2. Remove all bait and switch pages today. You don't want Google to find them and penalize you tomorrow.
Scraped content

Scraped content is a Black Hat SEO technique of copying another
website's posts manually or with bots. Google dislikes this practice because it confuses their crawlers. They won't know the best post to show users since there is a duplicate.

To a large extent, the Google Panda update has reduced the occurrence of scraped content by making many sites with duplicate content have reduced search rankings. But like blog comments, this practice still occurs especially with content spinners readily available. You need to check the internet to ensure people aren't copying your content and ripping you off your hard work.

How to Fix Scraped Content

  1. Always check your content for plagiarism with tools like Copyscape before publishing.
  2. You can also use Copyscape to find scraped copies of
    your web content on the internet.
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If you found copies of your content duplicated to an unacceptable degree, contact the owner of the website and ask for the removal of the content. Also, hire quality writers to provide excellent content that ranks.

Paid links

When you get a link from a website, it means they give you a vote of confidence. They tell search engine crawlers you are on top of your game. Google requires all link-building tactics to be genuine. Once you pay for a link, you are merely faking or building an authority you don't have.

According to Google, "Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines."

And if you engage in paid link building, you could get reported by your competitor.

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How to Fix Paid Links

  1. Stop paying for links
  2. Removed all paid links on your website
  3. Use the disavow links tool if you can't reach website owners to remove paid links to your website. Again, use this tool with caution.
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Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

A private blog network (PBN) is a Black Hat SEO tactic of buying expired domains to build authoritative websites for link building. These
expired domains already have some authority.

After acquiring these domains, Black Hat SEO agents create content
similar to what was in the expired domain.

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Creating content is a lot of work. Using a faulty link-building strategy that Google will eventually detect isn't worth your time.

While these PBNs may increase the number of outbound links to the
main webpage you want to rank, you should consider the consequences. All of your work could disappear in a flash once Google detects you use PBNs for link building.

How to Fix PBNs

  1. Focus on creating quality content
  2. Build authority by writing guest posts
  3. Create expert round-up posts. You'll get lots of backlinks from these posts

Can I Report a Website for Practicing Black Hat SEO?

Of course, you can. However, it would be best if you are sure the webmaster practices any Black Hat SEO technique. Reporting a website that doesn't practice Black Hat SEO is a kind of Black Hat practice called negative SEO.

You can report a Black Hat SEO webmaster by filing a Google Spam report and use the disavow tool where applicable.

Precious Oboidhe Hacker Noon profile picture
by Precious Oboidhe @preciousoboidhe. Freelance copywriter helping busy brand owners to create digital marketing assets that attract their target audience. Read my stories

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