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Search Engine Optimization and Cowboys

So many website owners believe Search Engine Optimization is magical, at least that is how they act when the topic of SEO comes up. I almost always hear black hat Search Engine Optimization techniques when people talk about how they get traffic to their Website. When I tell someone that their advertising strategy is black hat, they look at me like I am speaking another language.

What is a black hat?

I always explain that the term black hat originates from Country Westerns where the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys wear black hats. When the term black hat is used in reference to Search Engine Optimization, it means you are doing something very stupid and while it might be helping your site right now, it will destroy your site in the long run.

Some very popular black hat SEO techniques that we will be covering and explaining why they are bad will be keyword stuffing and abusing HTML code.

What is Keyword stuffing?

Keyword stuffing can be done in several ways and all of them are very bad and will get your website removed from search engines, so your site really is invisible. One popular way to stuff keywords is to write the same word or a variation of words over and over on a page to up your SEO traffic. You may see a boost in traffic to your site, but how long do those people stay at your site? Most likely less than 3 seconds, just enough time to hit the back key. Another popular keyword stuffing technique is to do what is listed above, but make the words invisible so people won’t see them. People may not see them, but Search Engines will! If you view the source of the webpage you will see the so called “hidden” text. These techniques are surefire ways to get you banned from search engines like Google.

What is HTML code?

HTML code is the most popular language used to write a website in. HTML is very easy to learn, but also very easy to abuse. People who are desperate for traffic will hear about metadata description tags (that is already out-dated as an on-site optimization source  for better rankings) and that search engines use them to help rank a website. Some people will fill the description tag to the brim with words that are irrelevant to their site. People will not want to go to a site that has a description that makes no sense and search engines will remove you for this or at least lower your ranking on their search engine. Another form of abusing the description tag is stuffing it full of words that are relevant to your site, but put together make no sense whatsoever. Sure, you may have a site about electronics and technology, but having your description just full of words that have to do with electronics and technology, well that will get you banned. A well written description uses terms that are searched for a lot and has to do with what your site is about.

Black Hat SEO
Image by Searchenginepeople.com

Another abused tag is H1.
H1 stands for Header 1, which is the biggest font that HTML generates on its own. This tag is used for titles of a blog or the title of a page, but some people decide to use h1 for their entire site. Yup, this will really hurt your sites ranking when the search engines find out and trust me they will find out. two last abused tags are the strong tag and the b tag, they both do the same exact thing, they make the text bold, but to much bold text can be bad for a site. Bold text is used to say something is important. I know your entire site is important, but you have to decide which words or sentences should be in bold. This is very important, because if bold is used properly it will raise your ranking with the search engines, but if used improperly, well the search engines may find it as spam.

In conclusion, if you need your site to show up well on a search engine do a lot of research on SEO, watch videos by Matt Cutts, the lead anti-spam Engineer that works at Google and if you can’t learn SEO, then hire a firm that does it for a living. Be careful when hiring a firm, because there are a lot of firms out there that still practice black hat SEO, so the least you should do is tell them not to do anything that I list as being black hat.

This article has been written by Ryan Satterfield from Planetzuda.com, a game reviews, tech news and reviews website.

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