If you are looking to hire an expert to improve your website’s ranking on Google, the first thing you need to understand is the type of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy that your service provider is planning to use. In general, SEO professionals employ either white hat or unethical SEO tactics.
How would you know the difference?
White hat SEO strategies strictly adhere to Google’s guidelines. These guidelines are put in place to ensure that their users are getting the most pertinent and accurate information related to their search keywords. With white hat strategies, you don’t need to worry too much when Google announces improvements in the current version of their search algorithm since most of these changes are geared towards weeding out SEO tactics that game the system.
Unethical SEO strategies employ deceitful practices that are often against Google’s rules to boost your page’s ranking in the short term but can permanently damage your website’s reputation once Google catches on these tricks. Google can either penalize your site by dropping your ranking or ban it altogether.
Although unethical SEO strategies may seemingly give you a competitive edge over those who adhere to the rules, there are several reasons why this strategy can be detrimental to your business. Google is always updating their algorithm to filter out these practices and penalize those sites that use them.
Here are a few unethical SEO tricks that you must know and avoid:
Some websites would insert certain keywords in their websites and hide them by matching the font colour with the background. Although visitors could not see these hidden words, Google’s algorithms could still detect them. This gave some sites higher page ranks back in the day. Today, these tricks are rendered ineffective because Google has caught on to this strategy and has addressed the issue.
This technique used two different HTML addresses, one is meant for the visitor and the other was designed for Google’s bot. Sites that used Adobe Flash would be able to do this because Google could not view the information contained in these particular sites thus enabling some developers to show two different types of content. As a result, visitors will find that the page is shown to them is completely unrelated to their initial query thereby ruining the user experience. Google always aims to provide quality interactions with their search engine, so as to prevent this from happening, they penalized sites that employ this practice.
Some web developers plagiarise articles from popular blogs or websites hoping to direct more traffic to their own site and improve their page rank. It is essentially a “copy and paste” process. Of course, this blatant act of stealing content is prohibited and sites that do this will be subjected to penalties such as lower page rankings. Google encourages creators to produce unique and valuable content that will benefit the online community.
Some try to avoid plagiarism by using software programs that simply change a few words from an existing article that is lifted from another website with synonyms. This process of automating and spinning content to create an “original” composition can result in a disjointed and sometimes incomprehensible piece that doesn’t provide any new insights.
This method involves creating several websites and using links that looped back to each other to trick Google into recognizing it as a trustworthy source of information. This gives the illusion that your website is popular and elicits a strong interest from readers. Google now has the capability to find these fraudulent backlinks because it can recognise that these sites often have little to no relevance to each other. Once it identifies this red flag, it can result in big drop on your page rank.