Googles choice of names for their major updates has always being rather interesting to me. You have probably heard of the famous Panda and Penguin releases, but have you stopped to think that both are animals that are black and white! Maybe Google is trying to say that when it comes to marketing and SEO you have some very black and white choices. What ever their intention or the underlying message one thing is clear, when it comes to SEO, Google hates black, black hat SEO to be specific.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and the sole purpose of SEO is to increase the visibility of the website through search engine rankings. The rankings are important because approximately 75% of search engine users never scroll past the first page. Therefore, SEO is an important marketing strategy for all companies that operates online or wishes to have online presence, and to be found under their preferred search terms on the first page. Now if you and 50+ competitors are all chasing those 10 available first page slots it does not take a genius to see that most will not be where they want to be.
This has led many to be temped by what are called Black hat marketers, magicians who can perform magic tricks to get you on page 1 of search results. Their promises are varied and many, but in all cases, they are using black hat techniques -not approved or sanctioned by Google. White hat and black hat SEO are dissimilar in way that each has its own approach toward optimizing websites. While white hat SEO specialists choose to abide the rules made by the search engine engineers, black hat marketers believe that they can cheat search engines to make profits. One of the Black hat marketers favorite tools to cheat search engines is by offering automatic link building services through software programs. Read our post on link building for further information about links – though not how to do black hat links. These link building programs are able to create thousands of links in a couple seconds. In the short-run, it can be very cost-effective, as the surge of link juice will raise the rankings of the keywords temporarily. However, the rankings are often not sustainable. In fact, a quick rise from black hat links is often followed by a punishment from Google. The offending website could be placed in the sandbox, or sometimes de-indexed (taken off the search engine) entirely. After all, if a website is not indexed, it will not get any organic search traffic. With over three billion searches a day, 0% organic traffic means loads of visitors foregone. If you are in business for the the long-run, black hat SEO techniques raise the risks to the point that they outweigh the benefits for most businesses.
The last major algorithm update, Penguin, was set to penalize websites that employ black-hat SEO techniques. As seen from the following illustration, the traffic of the website in question dropped tremendously due to black hat activities.
It is important to keep in mind that search engines like Google are putting more efforts to purge black hat websites, and a lucky escape from Penguin does not guarantee the same for the next coming algorithm update (maybe it will be a Zebra ! ). In fact, Matt Cutts, the head of the Webspam team from Google, openly stated that the next update is going to be “jarring and jolting.” If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. For example, there are multiple sellers on Fiverr that offers thousands of links for just $5.00. Those sellers are most likely using automatic link building software because manual submissions cannot compensate for such low payments. Black hat SEO does have an effect, but only if one is looking forward to short-term gains, and does not care about having their site black listed by one of the worlds biggest on-line companies. Black hat is ill-advised, but its probably fair to say its not going away anytime soon cause there are always people willing to cheat and thinking they won’t get caught. They do! Last year we were approached by a company doing significant business on-line who had gotten black listed because their former SEO company had used black hat link building and gotten them busted. To fix the mess we had to create a new site, re market the new site and essentially start from scratch. Nine months after being black listed and seeing their traffic flow from search engines cease, they are now earning more with a “legitimate” site using Google approved techniques than with the old banned site, but for many months they were essentially out of business. The overall cost only they know, but it was substantial! Guaranteed SEO, a Vancouver online marketing company, practices purely white hat SEO, optimizing websites according to the search engine policy. We focus on sustainability and growth that offer true long term ROI for the business owner. Want to do your online marketing the right way, call us at 1-866-588-8282.