organic search results
Black Hat SEO
There is a lot of information available on the web about this thing called black hat seo. What exactly is it? Basically it is the practice of hoodwinking the search engines into pushing your website higher in the rankings. How is this done you ask? There are many methods of accomplishing the end result (higher rankings), but it should be understood that you are potentially setting yourself up for the exact opposite (lower rankings and/or removal from the search engine index).
The history behind this really starts in the nineties when the search engine algorithms weren't that "smart". Like anything else, if there is a way to cheat the system, people will certainly find the way(s) to do so. And many webmasters were, especially in the world of "adult" websites.
It was pretty silly, you'd see websites with a given keyword or two or three repeated over and over again on a given page (sometimes hundreds of times) in order to make the engine believe that this page was really that important. You'd see blocks of text either at the top of the pages or the very bottom and usually the text would be the same color as the background of the page so that you couldn't read the text unless you highlighted it. What's funnier is that you can still find websites like this today. Funnier yet, some of these websites REMAIN EFFECTIVE in their tactics, no matter how obvious they are.
A partial listing of black hat tactics:
Keyword Stuffing- Literally the practice of repeating a keyword or words over and over again on a given web page. Google's algorithms work very hard at trying to find pages that read like normal text, not like a broken record. And they are getting better at it all the time. If they suspect you are just trying to "stuff" the content of your site with keywords, there is a good chance they'll penalize you for it.
Cloaking- Is a technique where a webmaster will have two versions of a given web page, one version that it shows the search engine spiders, and one version that it shows the regular web surfer. Highly frowned upon if the engines find out.
Invisible Text- (mentioned above) Filling a web page with text that is the same color as the background. I love this one.
Doorway Page- A highly optimized web page whose purpose is to direct traffic to other pages using either a redirect method or merely by being full of links that direct you to these other web pages.
Spam Page- Basically a doorway page that is full of ads that a webmaster makes money off of if someone clicks on them. Very annoying pages.
Interlinking- Setting up multiple websites about a given topic and having them all link to each other in order to increase their relevance and subsequently their rankings in the search engines.
Selling PageRank- If you have a high PR website, you sell links from your site to another for cash. Helping their site rank higher in Google and in turn, making your wallet fatter.
Buying Expired Domains- Buying expired websites that had some decent PageRank in order to try and keep the site's inbound links.
These and many other tactics are the exploits of Black Hatters...
Personally, I have no problems with Black Hatters, if they can cheat the system and win, good for them. They also know they can just as easily lose the fight. It's not the only form of gambling in this world.
For that matter, in some ways I'm happy for the existance of Black Hatters. If it wasn't for them, the search engine spiders wouldn't be as good as they are now. As long as someone tries to exploit the bots, the search engines will only work to make their software better. Ultimately making the search engine results page more accurate for the average surfer.
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