black hat seo

What Is Black Hat SEO?

by Frank Thomas

So What Constitutes Search Engine Ranking Manipulation? In other words, what is black hat seo? This is a question that has been totally muddied in this day and age of the Internet.

This asks a bigger question? Who is in control of the Internet? As little as six or seven years ago, it was truly the wild, wild west. If you were a big stack holder and you commanded traffic, then you got to ‘write’ some of the rules in concert to your web site.

But things have changed and the year is now 2013. Right now, some of the dominant players are Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and YouTube. In other words, these are the rule makers for right now.

Now, I’m the first to say that I totally hate it when someone is committed to destroy another person’s rankings. The big G will tell you that this is impossible. I know that is the furthest thing from the truth. You can completely manipulate rankings for keywords that haven’t yet been completely manipulated. Yes, you heard it right, I’d have to say that over 20% are complete fabrications based upon individuals favorably ranking their own or customer web sites. I’m truly taking a guess here, but is it true to the spirit of the search engines?

The search engines have the desire to provide the very best selections based upon the entered search engine phrase. To prove my point, type in the phrase, ‘quit smoking’. Or possibly ‘how to loose weight’. Now, let’s say you create a completely authoritative site, based upon the best practices and providing tons of fantastic information on that exact and like topics.

I can promise you, unless you do some hard and heavy ‘black hat seo’, then your site will never see the front two or three pages of the major search engines. I’ve built several very authoritative sites in the past, on much less competitive keywords and I see less then 5% of all my traffic from any of the search engines.

I’ve also built a crap site – basically a site will scraped content from other sites and spent my time performing seo tactics to get it ranked. These sites were rarely not in the top 1o of the major search engines. Even after the latest hits from algorithm changes performed by the search engines.

So back to the question of this article. What is black hat seo? I decided to go to one of the go to sites for information on the web, wikipedia. And here’s what they state on their page, Search Engine Optimization. ‘SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories: techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design, and those techniques of which search engines do not approve.

When the rules are changing just about every month, what really then constitutes good design practices. Even when you read the details from the major search engines, many good design practices can easily be considered bad design practices.

Really makes you think. In my opinion, if you are ‘spamming’ the Internet to death, then you are definitely riding into the camp of black hat seo. But if you are watching the latest Superbowl game and a large company, such as GoDaddy purchases several advertising spots during the game, is that black hat advertising? Hmm. Truly something to chew on.

So I really think that the question of what constitutes black hat activity is going to be a hard nut to crack. I’m sure for every opinion that I may obtain in favor of a technique, I’ll get another that is quite in opposition to that same said technique.

Looks like the 21st century is going to be interesting when we look at search engine optimization in general. Time will tell.

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