What are Black Hat Techniques?
When a browser such as Google or Bing is used to search for a specified result, the search engine is not exactly searching the internet, instead, it is searching an index it has created by crawling the web previously and indexing all the information. Because of this, website authors use search engine optimization (also known as SEO for short) techniques. Using search engine optimization allows the browser to understand the information it has sorted through, and better organize this information for the purpose of someone searching for something to find, efficiently. An example would be that the websites which are most high up in the search results are often found so easily because they are optimizing their site to be easy to use, make practical sense, and keep it up to date which tells Google or another search engine that the website is still relevant. Also the fact that it is frequently visited by many people, and people stay on it for a significant time tells google (etc) that you are important. The system is designed to match people with genuinely accurate search results based on what they want to see. It is about good tagging, semantic code, and good clear descriptions.
However, just like every other system throughout history, there are people out there who wish to find a way to abuse it. These methods for abusing search engine optimization are called black hat techniques. White hat techniques in contrast are like the example above, with good descriptions, frequent updates, etc.
Why is it Important to Avoid Black Hat Techniques?
Black hat techniques are by no means ethical and are not beneficial in the long run. While using a black hat technique does not make someone an actual criminal, it does cause search engines to eventually stop showing the irrelevant results as the algorithms continue to evolve to keep search results relevant to the searcher…after all this is the point of a search engine.
An example of a black hat technique is to use white text on a white background with enticing news about a popular topic that is completely unrelated to the website in question. With a technique like this, you might get a ton of visitors, due to the flashy headline, but these people will get to the website and be disappointed, and leave. This type of black hat technique used to be commonplace, and an example of how the search engines dealt with this by improving their algorithms, was to start measuring “bounce rate” which is the rate at which people get to a site and leave immediately…because this clue the search engine in that people are not satisfied with the search result which means the search engine did not deliver the true best results.
What to do Instead?
Although black hat techniques gain notoriety from search engines at first, it becomes inevitable that the search engine will continue to get algorithm updates like in the example above to continually get better at showing appropriate results.; usually within a year or so. With all this being said the best way to get a website’s name out to the public crowd is to simply be honest, descriptive, and clear about exactly what your website presents. Use laymen’s terms and don’t try to beat the system. After all, Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information, not to help out a specific business owner in getting traffic. This process might take longer, but with patience and honesty comes trust and potential brand loyalty, and the reward of being found in the search engine results when what YOU have to offer is the best result for what someone is looking for!
Lahey, Connor “What Is Black Hat SEO? 9 Risky Techniques To Avoid.” Semrush Blog, Semrush, https://www.semrush.com/blog/black-hat-seo/?kw=&cmp=US_SRCH_DSA_Blog_Core_BU_EN&label=dsa_pagefeed&Network=g&Device=c&utm_content=515816481746&kwid=dsa-1053501806627&cmpid=11769537497&agpid=117334844311&BU=Core&extid=167368305027&adpos=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwxdSHBhCdARIsAG6zhlULG0fww1SH-38sb7Te0ShblCschFu60z3UxKQujIKMisKHEz22G4AaAjzTEALw_wcB#header3