Once upon a time, SEO was easy – you filled any website you could find with links to your own website using your preferred keyword as the anchor text and sat back and waited for your website to rise up the Google rankings.
Inevitably, Google got wise to this and spent several years putting together algorithms and other clever pieces of technology to catch people who were trying to play the system in this way using unsavory SEO techniques.
Unfortunately, when you’re trawling around the internet looking for SEO tips, it’s still easy to come across blogs and unscrupulous SEO providers who use these types of techniques, particularly as they can work for a short while before Google catches on to what you’re doing. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to the Black Hat SEO techniques that you should avoid.
Want to get your page to the top of the rankings for kitten videos? No problem, just use the word ‘kitten videos’ over and over again on your page, even if it doesn’t make any sense. All that matters is that you write paragraphs and paragraphs of text with the words ‘kitten videos’ in throughout. Believe it or not, this used to work relatively successfully. However, both Google and Bing have realised that checking for this (known as keyword density in the trade) is no longer a reliable way of determining the quality or relevance of a page. Consequently, they’ve devalued it as a ranking signal and it may even penalise your site if they think you’ve gone overboard.
Back when Google was more interested in the raw number of links pointing to your website than the quality of those links, many enterprising people set up websites that did nothing but host links to other sites for a fee. These ‘link farms’ could have tens of thousands of pages that were never really intended for public use. All that mattered was that the search engines picked up on them and their links. Again, Google has got wise to this and will devalue a site that has lots of links on low-quality websites. In extreme cases, you may find that your website is removed from the Google results altogether unless you take action to remove these links.
Hopefully, this guide will help you to avoid some of the biggest SEO traps. Regularly review Google’s guidelines so you can be sure that you’re on the right side of them and use an agency that understand the regular Google updates.