This article is a lot different than other tutorials you can find here on AffiliatePrograms.com. This is a “never do” tutorial, which means that the techniques described here are for educational purposes only.
We’re describing them so you can be aware of their existence, and use this knowledge only in some specific scenarios. For example, when you’re offered with certain SEO services and you don’t know if they’re black hat or white hat. Having this kind of knowledge can help you in keeping up to date with Google’s policies … something that comes handy in the Panda era.
First things first. If you’re not familiar with the terminology let us give you a short summary regarding what both black and white hat mean.
White Hat and Black Hat SEO
As you would imagine there are two sides to SEO: the light side of the force (white hat) and the dark side of the force (black hat).
White hat techniques are everything that Google wants you to do to build your site’s rank and popularity.
Black hat, on the other had, is everything Google doesn’t want you to do because they consider it unfair, fraudulent, or bad in any other way.
The common sense dictates that every SEO practice that seems unnatural is most likely a black hat technique.
Google wants SEO efforts of every website to look as natural as possible. Essentially, the best case scenario for natural SEO is when other people create backlinks to your sites, post reviews and do all kinds of stuff that helps your SEO. But the world isn’t perfect so webmasters all over the world (no matter if you’re running an affiliate site or any other kind of site) have to do all sorts of SEO work to make their websites even appear in the rankings.
In this article, however, we’re talking black hat. What follows is a list of black hat SEO practices along with short descriptions on what they’re about. Remember, this isn’t a list of things you should be doing! That is, unless, you want to get banned from Google due to different SEO issues.
Blog Comments Spamming
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. The idea is to go to as many blogs as possible and submit spam comments along with a highly anchored name linking back to a given webpage.
Usually, such comments are not unique. In most cases they are only spun through an article spinner software or something similar, and then put into an automatic comment software or outsourced to other semi-automated services to get them submitted.
Buying Paid Links
Essentially, paid links work great in terms of improving a site’s rankings in Google, but it’s only a short term boost, and it ends with no warning when Google gets a grasp on the situation and recognizes such a scheme.
In the end, buying links works until a third party (e.g. Google) finds out that the links are indeed paid.
Keyword stuffing is old school, and it has found its place on this list for one purpose only. The fact is that it doesn’t work any more (doesn’t bring any kind of benefit), but it can still do much harm if you decide to take part in it.
The idea is that you try to trick Google into believing that your webpage discusses widely on a given topic. You’re doing this by repeating a given phrase unnaturally often. This is something that Google’s algorithms can detect in an instant. Really not worth it.
Reciprocal Link Trading
The principle here is similar to buying links. What’s also similar is the penalty when Google finds out you’re doing this. Actually, this is much easier to detect than buying links.
Here’s how reciprocal link trading usually works. You start by joining a linking circle. As part of that linking circle you will have links pointing back to your sites on other people’s sites as long as you place links to their sites on yours.
Free Site Creation Spamming
This is a practice that becomes really black hat if you go overboard with it. The main task is to create as much free sites as possible, all featuring the same content, and the same links pointing back to your main sites with the same anchor texts.
You can create such free sites on services like: Hubpages, Squidoo, Weebly, Livejournal, WordPress.com, and hundreds of others. But don’t.
Thousands of Directory Submissions Too Quickly
This is a service a lot of “SEO agencies” try to sell. The offer seems great – you get thousands of links pointing to your site in a short span of time.
But this is also exactly where the problem lies. This is really, really unnatural, and Google won’t get fooled that easily. If you get 1000 links one day and then no links for the next three weeks then you’re done.
Massive Article Submission
This is quite similar to free site creation spamming. Only this time it’s done on hundreds or even thousands of article directories. The problem starts to be visible when you submit the same article to too many directories, and use the same anchor text on all of them. Google seriously doesn’t like duplicate content.
In most cases, people don’t do it on their own. There are different services or tools you can sign up for to get this done automatically or semi-automatically. These offers seem attractive, but in the long run they can bring only harm.
This is yet another idea that seems like it might work … at first. Automatic blogs are ones that are run automatically. This means that every piece of content is scraped from other blogs’ RSS feeds.
In concept, such blogs can be used to link to your main websites and therefore improve their rankings. And this does work short term. But once Google finds out about your automatic blogs, all containing basically duplicate content then you can kiss your rankings goodbye.
All Kinds of Other Link Spam
Apart from aforementioned blog comments spam there are other forms of link spam that are becoming quite popular, unfortunately.
For example, things like forum signature spam and bookmark spam. Of course, website owners rarely do it on their own. In most cases the act of submitting these spam links is done by automated software. Either website owners use it themselves or outsource it via sites like Fiverr, for example.
Fake Social Media Activity
Having big social media exposure can often work in your favor in terms of good SEO. However, there’s a big difference between good social media exposure and bad social media exposure.
Good social media exposure is when you get multiple links and mentions naturally, due to the viral nature of your content. Bad social media exposure is when you hire someone to constantly bump up your every social media posting, i.e. when you’re buying fake social media votes.
This is the last technique on this list and the most black hat at the same time. Injecting links is essentially hacking. It happens when someone hires another someone to hack a number of websites and include a number of links on them.
This is done either by a real human being or by a piece of software that goes to many different sites and tries to exploit some of the known backdoors and security holes. The technique does work short term, but it can get you banned from Google permanently once they find out you’re using it.
This concludes the list. We encourage you to use this post as a reference file when offered with any kind of SEO service. Also, do you know any other black hat SEO tricks that website owners should stay away from?