Don’t Fall for These 3 Black Hat Link Building Tactics
The technical nature of SEO – as well as its relatively brief history and rapid evolution – makes it a polarizing topic. A lot of people talk about SEO, yet few really know what they’re talking about. There’s a lot of noise and posturing, yet very little substance and truth. As a result, there’s a lot of misinformation on the internet.
3 Black Hat Link Building Tactics to Avoid
In the world of SEO, there are two ways to describe a specific strategy or technique: white hat or black hat.
White hat SEO refers to honest tactics that abide by the rules and lead to steady and sustainable results over time. “It uses techniques that are within Google’s guidelines and executes linking strategies that appease both search engines and human readers,” AudienceBloom explains.
Black hat SEO refers to questionable or illegal tactics that spit in the face of the search engines and attempt to hack a brand’s way to quick wins and increased visibility. As AudienceBloom puts it, “Aggressive is the best word you can use when characterizing black hat link building.”
The problem with black hat SEO is that it’s shiny and attractive. It promises a fast return and immediate results. But what most people don’t know is that these rapid returns create a faulty foundation that will quickly crumble.
Unfortunately, the SEO world is filled with black hat “professionals” who unscrupulously sell services that are illegal and/or ineffective. And if there’s one SEO niche where they prefer to push their services, it’s link building.
Black hat link building has muddied the waters of the SEO industry and given it a bad name. But because of how normal it is, the average business owner or digital marketer might not be aware of when black hat techniques are being pushed on them. To help you avoid ending up in a situation like this, we’re going to cover a few of the top techniques to avoid:
- Link Schemes and Exchanges
It’s easy to get caught up in a link scheme or link exchange, but do your best to steer clear.
You don’t have to look long or hard to find a link scheme. There are a variety of types, but most of them involve two or more parties that band together to increase the rankings of all involved. Article directories, blog rolls, and link circles are all examples. Google doesn’t look fondly upon them, and they should be avoided at all costs.
Any time you run across an opportunity where someone gives you a chance to ‘post a link in return for a link,’ you should walk away. These are known as reciprocal links and Google easily removes them. You may even get penalized for the act.
- Spammy Links
Google despises spam and won’t give you any credit for links that come across as being too pushy, manipulative, repetitive, or out of place. For example, blog commenting with the purpose of pasting backlinks to your website isn’t considered an effective strategy. The same goes with creating numerous fake profiles on message boards and forums with the intentions of driving links and traffic back to your URLs.
- Duplicate Content Publishing
It takes time to generate a healthy and high-returning SEO strategy. In particular, you need content. As a way of cutting corners, some marketers have taken the liberty to duplicate their content and publish it on multiple websites. But this is a huge mistake!
Too much duplicate content will eventually get your website taken down. It’s something that Google takes seriously. If you’re running low on content ideas, try taking an idea that you’ve already covered and repurposing it with a fresh angle and original words. This is considered acceptable.
Listen to Your Gut
While this article has highlighted the negative side of link building, there’s also a very ethical side of the field. Your main objective is to differentiate between the two so that you can make decisions that are smart and sustainable for your business.
You might not know the ins and outs of SEO and link building, but you do have a fairly strong moral compass that will tell you when something doesn’t seem right. If you ever encounter these feelings, do some exploration and figure out why. You may discover that you simply weren’t aware of certain stipulations and caveats. Or you may find out that you were right all along.
Listen to your gut and never invest in black hat link building tactics that are questionable. In the long run, they’ll do nothing more than hold you back.