Black-hat tricks have evolved over the years as people get more creative trying to drum up shortcuts. However, some of the biggest of them have been around for years, and people are still using them. One of the classics is keyword stuffing, where the top keywords for a website are heavily seasoned throughout every web page to such a degree that it looks ridiculous. This leads to bad quality content, no organic content, and at times a laughably repetitive page.
One of the most popular tricks in 2014 is using invisible text, such as text that matches the background of a site, to increase keywords without the trouble of actual keyword stuffing. This might seem like a good idea, but search engine algorithms can see this text even if your readers can’t. These “spiders” sleuth through HTML code and can instantly spot text no matter what the color.
Another favorite tactic is peppering in keywords that are irrelevant in an attempt to fool the search engines. This is done by pinpointing popular terms, even if they don’t fit the niche or demographics of the website, and using them generously on web pages. At times this can result in getting indexed under more keywords. But this trick will be uncovered when people start clicking on SERP links and then quickly leave. After all, someone searching for a divorce attorney in Tampa isn’t going to spend long on a site for dog treats.
Black-hat tricks can also redirect people to other pages via a program that links a page to something completely unrelated to the search query. This can mean a lot of traffic sent to a certain site, but you have the same issue with the irrelevant search trick. People aren’t going to stay long on a site that has nothing to do with their search, and this causes more damage than good. High bounceback rates are a big red flag for black-hat trickery.
People are still farming and selling links in order to boost rankings, but these tactics are also caught by search algorithms. Depending on a “link farm” to boost rankings might appear harmless, but some of these farms have hundreds of sites. Once a farm has been flagged for black-hat techniques, every single site linked to it may be penalized. This is a gamble you shouldn’t take.
The odds are never in your favor when it comes to SEO black-hat tricks. Instead, focus on SEO best practices, and take pride in your websites by improving their quality. Plus, consider that sometimes it takes a lot of work to engage in black-hat tricks, and that time could just as well be spent on genuinely improving your rankings.