Professional Web Studio

Web Development - Search Engine Optimization
Online Marketing

2011 Aug23

Beware of Black Hat SEO Companies

Written by: Darlene

When you hire an SEO company it’s important that you make sure that you hire the right company. If you hire a company that practices black hat SEO techniques (tricks), you’ll regret it. The tricky thing is - even the people that you would never expect to practice black hat SEO techniques are in fact doing it. And doing it right in front of your eyes.

black hat seo

This is a sensitive subject for me because over the years I have watched some of my competitors as well as some well known "Internet Marketing Experts" use black hat SEO techniques to get ahead. And just when I think I have seen it all, I find someone outrightly practicing a new trick.

Why should you care? If you are going to hire an SEO company to help your website rank higher in the search engines you definitely need to care about the SEO techniques they use. You don't want to hire someone that offers instant results. You want to hire someone that plays by the rules and offers you long term, long lasting results.

Search engines are well aware that companies exist with the goal of “gaming” the system. If search engines continually allow black hat techniques, they’ll lose the trust of their customers so as a result they continually tweak their algorithms to make sure that they recognize black hat techniques. Even as I say that, I know based on what I see online everyday, that the search engines are having trouble keeping up with all the tricks people are coming up with.

Examples of black hat SEO techniques that you should watch out for:

  • Keyword stuffing.  Adding large amounts of the same keyword phrases to a website could result in temporary improved keyword rankings. But not only will keyword stuffing often result in search engines changing your rankings but if the content doesn’t read well to readers it won’t matter how much traffic you get because your traffic will bounce off the page and you won’t make any sales. Your bounce rate will directly impact your search engine rankings and it won’t take long for keyword stuffing to backfire.
  • Invisible text. Some black hat SEO companies will hide keywords on a page in an effort to make a page look extremely dense in keywords without affecting the quality of the content. Once search engines determine that the text is invisible (such as being written in the same colour as the site background), they will de-value and possibly ban the page.
  • Doorway pages. A doorway page misleads search engines while directing people elsewhere. When search engines find these types of pages, they will de-value your site.
  • Nonsensical content. If your site uses software to generate content pages, scrapes content from other sites, or has content that’s of little value to readers this is also considered a black hat technique.
  • Paid linking strategies. Some sites will purchase links on other sites to create the perception of a valuable and popular site. If search engines discover this strategy, they will often de-value your site.

The above list is not an exhaustive list of black hat SEO techniques but it gives you a glimpse into some of the things unethical SEO companies will do to artificially inflate your site’s SEO results. In many cases, before the search engines de-value or blacklist your website, the SEO company is already gone and with your payment in hand. 

There are many ethical white hat SEO techniques that can be used to help you succeed. Success may take a bit longer but will be more sustainable and won’t risk your standings with search engines.

How do you know if a company uses black hat SEO? Ask. Find out who you’re dealing with. Look at their track record. Make sure you get assurances that they will work with you to create sustainable success. No SEO company can guarantee that you’ll stay at the top of the search engines once they help you get there but a good SEO firm won’t just pitch you a quick fix. Instead they will offer ongoing services to help you continually improve your online marketing results. If you want rock solid SEO strategies that will help you get a great return on your investment, contact us. Professional Web Studio is a Calgary SEO company who operates with long term success in mind.

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