Whether these tactics are done purposely or are merely a result of search engine optimization ignorance, they will severely damage a site's ranking. Here are a list of black hat tactics and their "white hat" alternatives.
- Keyword Stuffing: Occasionally optimizers will take advantage of the weight that search engines place on keywords in order to identify appropriate content for specific search queries. One way they can do this is through meta keyword stuffing. The field is meant for the web developer to place a few niche words which successfully emphasize the topic and content of the content on the page. However, some developers take this as an opportunity to place dozens of commonly searched terms in order to show up The meta keyword fields have been vastly misused, and consequentially, search engines place far less emphasis, if any at all, on these fields now.
- Dishonest Meta Description: the meta description field, like the keywords field, should concisely summarize the content of the specific page. A common black-hat spin on this description field is to misuse it as a primary space to overtly promote their brand with dishonest claims.
- Hidden content: Black hat SEOs will sometimes stuff keywords into content that users cannot see on the front end of the site. There are a few different ways to do this. One includes using a comment tag . The real purpose of comment tags is for developers to place helpful hints about their coding so they can quickly identify where specific content is, for example. However, because the words in the comment tag do not show up on the front-end, some developers will stuff keywords into this tag in hopes that search engines will crawl and index this information and improve the ranking of the site. Additionally, dishonest developers can also use
- Doorway or Gateway Pages: The front-end user never sees these pages because they automatically redirect to a homepage or another page. However, developers can use these pages to pour heavily concentrated keyword-ridden content into a space that can then redirect to a chosen page.
- Link Farms: These are pages that simply host up to thousands of completely unrelated sites in an attempt to raise the number of back links to these sites.
- Keyword Use: It is true that keywords are heavily emphasized by search engines when indexing pages on the internet. Therefore, it is important that appropriate keywords are present throughout your pages. However, it is imperative that you do sufficient keyword analysis and research first. Use tools available on the web (we like Google Adwords) to view the volume of searches for each word as well as the competition for optimizing those words. Once you find a group of 5-7 words, spread them out throughout the site based on the content of your specific pages. It is important to emphasize one or two keywords per page so search engines know what page of your site best addresses the search inquiry and therefore what specific page to include in the rankings.
- Meta data: Although as we have stated, the meta keywords field now holds less weight in search engine optimization, it is still important to complete the fields with relevant keywords. Additionally, content developers should remember that headers and titles still carry a significant amount of weight for internet crawlers. Titles and header tags should include a concise summary of the content that is to follow. It is also a good idea to massage a keyword into a page title or header to further the relative importance for appropriate indexing.
- Quality Links: Instead of submitting your site to hundreds of useless link farms and directories, take the time to search out niche directories and other sites which would provide quality inbound links for your site. Research the site or directory first to make sure that it would be driving the right traffic to your site. Its crucial that people come to your site, but moreover, it should be the right kind of traffic that won't initially bounce.
It's true: search engine optimization takes a great deal of time, research, analysis, and effort, but when it is done correctly, search engines will recognize the quality of content and reflect that in the search engine rankings. Although black-hat tactics seems fast and easy, the consequences can be disastrous and permanent for your site. Interested in a full search engine optimization and internet marketing package? Contact the professionals at Blue Archer, a Pittsburgh web development company today.
Internet Marketing Analyst