Black Hat SEO

In search engine optimization, site operators can either play nice and do things the proper way, or they can be sneaky and lazy. Just like in old Westerns, really. You have your good cowboy in a white hat, and the bad guy in black. Likewise, in SEO, there are techniques used that have been fondly referred to as Black Hat SEO, or Spamdexing. Initially, both optimization and black hat SEO can produce similar results and drive up a website’s page ranking in online organic search results. But eventually, the black hatters get caught. And justice is restored.

But what techniques exactly make black hat SEO so bad? Basically, while SEO consultants seek to gain exposure for a site by maximizing its relevance to the intended market, spamdexing attempts to gain exposure for a site by increasing the irrelevance in their content and web site design. There are two main ways to accomplish this: content spam and link spam.

Content spam involves filling the written content of a website with irrelevant words or excessively repeated keywords so that the page might appear more relevant to any given user search. One can tuck even more repeats of the keyword into invisible text on a site by using font the same color as the background or tiny font size or hiding the keywords in html codes. Link spam is especially relevant to the Google search engine because Google uses a PageRank system. The more a site is linked to from other sites (the more popular it is), the higher it will be ranked for given keywords and the sooner it will show up in a relevant user search. So to increase traffic to a website, some operators will resort to link farms. Link farms consist of a tightly interlinked (literally) group of websites which link to each other and thereby increase the number of sites leading to a particular domain. The websites don’t even have to be related in any way, except that they all want more viewership.

In the end, these kinds of black hat SEO techniques prove only so useful. Unless site operators are willing to sit down and intensively research key words and take the time to thoroughly optimize a website from start to finish, a website will not be marketed in a focused way to its target audience. So keep the black hats out of town. Invest in some good ole know-how.

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