I’ve written here in the past about the issue of so called “black hat SEO,” i.e. using techniques which are unethical to get your website to rank higher in the SERPs.
Unfortunately, it seems there will always be those in the SEO business who think they can game the system and make money doing it, no matter how much we all know it’s mostly a waste of time.
The reality is that the following techniques are all well known to Google and other search engines and they won’t get you anywhere but banned from the SERPs altogether (not to mention that they annoy visitors to your website, who won’t be back).
1. Keyword Spamming – An oldy but still popular. This involves writing content that sounds almost like legalese.
Basically, you repeat a keyword over and over again (i.e. I want to rank high for the keyword keyword so I’ll mention keyword in my keyword laden sentence to make keyword a keyword that Google recognizes as my keyword and no one else’s keyword).
2. White on White—Another old technique that is a waste of time. People write meaningless, keyword optimized content using white words on a white background. The idea is that it’s invisible to your visitors but not to Google.
Of course, the search engines are easily able to tell when you do this (and yes, doing a bright yellow on white background, or dark brown on black is a problem as well).
3. Using the Word “Scam”—This one sometimes works, but more often than not it backfires on you. The idea here is to take a popular service, one that you have an affiliate link to (i.e. you get paid for selling their product) and putting up an article saying “XYZ Product is a Scam.”
Since people trying to find out if the product is a scam may find that page, they’ll find you. You then say why it’s not a scam and sell them the product with your affiliate link.
The problem is that by introducing doubt in people’s minds, you may make them decide not to buy after-all. Plus, the company you are an affiliate for may ban you for using such techniques.
4. Link Farming – Everyone knows that building links back to your web site is a good way to get Google to notice you. Therefore, people decided to create websites which were nothing but links to other websites.
The idea was that Google would see them and say hey, this site is popular. Google quickly cottoned to the idea though and penalizes sites which use link farming.
5. Google Bowling— Since link farming was frowned upon, some people got the idea to create link farms pointing to their competitor’s sites, thus getting them banned from Google’s SERPs. Google has various algorithms in place to counter this and they also engage in manual checking when they detect something of this nature.
6. Doorway Pages—Dump Useless, highly keyword optimized content designed to grab the attention of the search engines on a page and then provide nothing but links to other websites. Sorry, it’s just annoying to visitors and is likely to drive away advertisers.
Note also that some doorway pages actually never even get seen by visitors to your site since they have a built in redirect to move you to the real website. However, Google knows they’re there and will delist you for it.
7. Meta Stuffing—This was popular back around the beginning of the 21st century, when some unscrupulous website owners started stuffing the meta keyword tags with worthless keywords. These days, people try to stuff descriptions and titles, but Google never uses those for indexing either, so it’s a waste and just annoys visitors.
8. Spamming Blogs and Forums—Not only will you not get much in the way of link back points from Google for this, but you’ll also annoy people who visit those forums and blogs (not to mention the owners who constantly have to delete your crap) who will never visit your site.
9. Fake Headlines—There is nothing wrong with using a headline which is obscure (though you’re not likely to get much in the way of SERP rankings with it). However, writing a title like “Tiger Woods Sex Scandal Heats Up” in order to sell your amazing Forex trading system is deceptive and will get you banned from Google.
10. Twitter Bombing—The latest craze, but one which gets you banned from Twitter and from the Google SERPs is to use a bot to automatically post hundreds or even thousands of Twitter messages in the hope of getting more links.