Is Blackhat Search Engine Optimization Damaging Your Website?

Blackhat SEO is the use of unethical tactics to boost a website’s rankings in a search engine. The term “blackhat” originates from Western movies. Characters deemed as the “bad guys” would always be wearing a black hat.

Today, when we see the term “blackhat”, it is usually in reference to those who use corrupt practices online. These include hackers, virus developers, and people who create websites to trick users. Did you know some companies that offer search engine optimization services use blackhat SEO tactics as a cheap alternative to providing the services promised to their customers? It is important to avoid these practices because most of them conflict with a search engine’s terms of service. This can result in your site being banned from search results as well as affiliate websites and networks.

Make sure your site doesn’t employ these techniques by following these simple steps:

  • Proper Keyword Use: Do not use irrelevant keywords just to get hits in a search engine. Your keywords should be clear and aimed towards human interest, not search engine interest. This also means, not stacking keywords. For example; “screen door, screen, door, door, screendoor, screen, screen”
  • Link Schemes: any links that’s only purpose is to to manipulate PageRank. This includes: exchanging money for links, creating partner pages exclusively for cross linking, or excessively link exchanging (i.e. “I’ll link you if you link me). This is against both Google and Bing’s Quality Guidelines for SEO.
  • Hidden content: providing different content or URLs to search engines than you do to human users. You could do this by tagging white text on a white background, or having text behind an image, setting font size to 0, or even using CSS to position text off screen.
  • Duplicate Content: Websites that have content copied from other sites are considered “duplicates”. Duplicate content also occurs when a website is built in a program with limited templates. If your website looks like all other websites built in a free web builder program, it is probable that it won’t display in search engine result pages.

 

By avoiding these examples of blackhat SEO, you can make sure your website isn’t violating search engine terms of service. Always practice ethical search engine optimization techniques with content geared towards users rather than search engines. This will keep your website visible for your desired audience. Happy optimizing!

DIY Tips for Finding Profitable Keywords for Your Business

As a whole, refining your company’s search engine optimization can be a big undertaking. However, like any difficult task, SEO can be broken into steps to help even the least tech-savvy business owner or marketer make their company more visible to their desired audience. As you may know, one of the most crucial steps to having your website rank higher in online search results is using the proper keywords when tagging your site.

Seems simple enough, right? Well, you can never get too simple. So, let’s break it down to help you pick the best and most profitable keywords for your business.

Step 1: Group Brainstorm

Set aside a half hour of time and gather a group of employees. Brainstorm different words they use when describing your company and industry. Write down as many as possible. Words that might not seem like the perfect match could be used creatively to set you apart from your competitors.

Step 2: Research

Try searching some of the terms you brainstormed. Does your business come up? Do competitors or similar products come up? This can be helpful for finding ways to set you apart from your competition. When you search keywords that are relevant to your your business, scroll to the bottom of the results until you see a section titled “Searches related to ________”, to help discover other keywords users are searching for similar results.

Step 3: Quantify Your Research

Now that you have a good list of words that apply to your company, it is time to see which keywords to use to create the most efficient tags. I prefer using Google Trends to see how many people are searching specific keywords and phrases in specific area, small or large. You can also use Google Adwords Keyword planner to help predict search trends for specific demographics. Additionally, you can see keywords your competitors are using to help set your business apart.

Step 4: Organizing Your Research

Now that you have compiled a list of Keywords that are relevant to your business, as well as statistical data about what your audience is searching, it is time to cross reference this information to pick your keywords. Keywords that have a high relevancy to what you want to promote, and also have a high search rate, should be at the top of your list. Whereas, words that are lacking in either category should move down. If you find words that are highly searched but aren’t relevant to your company, you might be tempted to try to make them fit. However, users will leave your site if it doesn’t provide what they had in mind while searching. You also might encounter keywords that are very unique to your business and are very relevant, but aren’t being searched as often. This is okay if it is something exclusive to your business. It can help users with extremely specific searches find your site. Just keep in mind that you won’t be appealing as much to mass searches.

Once you have completed all of these steps, you will find yourself with a healthy list of efficient keywords for your company. We at Sperling Interactive hope we helped you begin to navigate the road of search engine optimization. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at catherine@sperlinginteractive.com.