Black Hat SEO, a Victimless Crime?

Black hat SEO tacticsMyth: Black hat, white hat—search engines don’t care.

Reality: Search engines are becoming better than ever about identifying sites that employ black hat SEO tactics.

Search engine optimization started out as something of a numbers game, making it easy for spammers to play the system. This is no longer the case. Google, Bing, and other search engines exist to locate and evaluate relevant, quality information and links to users, a mission they don’t take lightly—hence the endless algorithm changes and updates. In their efforts to maintain this level of usefulness, they’re becoming increasingly better about weeding out websites that use unscrupulous methods to improve ranking.

Respect Accepted SEO Best Practices

That’s not all. Not only can search engines quickly identify these practices in action, they also have no qualms about penalizing websites that use black hat methods. They have to—in a way, a search engine is like any other service provider. If it serves up links to irrelevant, poorly designed, webspam, there’s always a competitor waiting in the wings. Once you get on Google’s bad side, you’ll find the process of restoring your standing and getting back into their good graces is infinitely more difficult than using legitimate SEO tactics.

This brings up an interesting point about whether you should handle your own SEO or enlist the services of  SEO professionals. Google is quite adept at identifying websites that ignore its guidelines, but it can’t determine whether employing those methods was deliberate or purely ignorant, nor does it care. So maybe you’ve carelessly violated those guidelines, no malice or dishonesty intended, but the results are the same either way. You may notice improvements in ranking somewhat sooner than you would with legitimate tactics, but these improvements aren’t sustainable.Worse yet, your website could be banned altogether.

Black Hat, Bad News

Unless you have time to keep abreast of the latest developments in SEO, a dental marketing and SEO company is your best bet for long-term success. That said, here are some of the most commonly used (abused?) black hat SEO cheats:

Article spinning: Now that content marketing is huge in dental SEO, you’ll see ads for article spinners. Spinners take an existing chunk of content, then rearrange key phrases and sentences to create a “new” article or post. A spun article can be recycled any number of times and is usually identifiable by awkward wording, run-on sentences, and numerous grammatical errors. The deception is obvious, both to search engines and to readers.

Keyword stuffing: As far as black hat tactics go, this is probably the most inadvertently abused of all. You use as many keywords as possible, even when it doesn’t really flow. User experience suffers, and you run a greater risk of incurring steep penalties.

Link buying and exchange: You link me, I’ll link you—such is the underlying concept behind this lame tactic. You’ll recall our earlier discussion of the merits of link quality over link quantity. Buying links is without merit, especially for dental SEO. The availability of link exchanges relevant to dentistry is extremely limited, and it’s just as well.

As always, we encourage you to call or text MDPM Consulting at 972 – 781 – 8861 with your local SEO questions, or email us at [email protected]