How To Know An SEO Company is Black Hat

Just like anything else, there are good SEO companies and bad SEO companies. Not every SEO company has your best interest in mind. Some of them just want your money using black hat SEO tricks that may look good at first but eventually hurt your website in the long term.

Most business owners don’t know the difference between black hat SEO and white hat SEO. White hat is the proper way to do it. White hat SEO is the voice of reason and the logical approach. Black SEO, if it were a person, is more about style than substance. Everything looks great on the surface but eventually things will begin to fall apart. Black hat tactics can flood your website with traffic from sources that don’t convert. You may look at your analytics and see a huge surge in traffic. You may even shoot up the rankings at first.

Eventually you will get caught and your website could plummet. Lets go into what black hat SEO is and why you should avoid it.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat Villain
Black Hat came from old Western Movies so you could differentiate between good and bad guys

Black hat SEO is powerful. You can get immediate results that often do not last. It increases your page rank in search but violates the search engines terms of service. The tactics are disapproved by the search engines for a reason. Search engines are constantly adjusting and changing to fight black hat SEO tricks and using them can eventually get your website banned.

When looking to hire an SEO company you want to ask yourself “Are they doing SEO for search engines or for people?”

When doing SEO, people are the most important thing to keep in mind. Black hat SEO tricks manipulate search engines and people are an afterthought. The goal is to make everything look good up front. Most black hat SEO companies will show you numbers at first and once your website gets penalized they disappear. By then you’d have paid thousands of dollars and the damage is already done.

What are some black hat SEO tricks you should watch out for?

Black Hat Bad Guy
Black Hat SEO is the bad guy in the SEO world and should be avoided.

Content Automation

Content rules in the SEO world and it’s the one thing that’s withstood the test of time. The entire goal of a search engine is to provide you a solution to your problem or to answer a question. Content can do that.

What is content? Content can be just about anything. Most people think of content as an article or text. Content can also be videos, pictures, games, movies, music or anything else people can find useful.

The more useful content you have the higher your page rank. The keyword here is “useful.”

Stuffing your website with content that isn’t made for people can hurt a website. Some SEO companies will flood a website with text that doesn’t make sense. It may be thousands of similar or the same keywords that are designed to get you ranked quickly.

It may look great up front but eventually Google or other search algorithms will scan your website and find out. Some websites slip through the cracks. Sometimes you can do it only to a certain point. There could be a tipping point but why even bother?

Content automation can do this for you. There can be a piece of software that automatically creates a 500 word article that targets keywords that you’re trying to rank for. This can look unnatural to search engines. Sometimes content automation can work to a certain degree. The content that is created has to be useful in the eyes of a search engine.

Keyword Stuffing

Stove Top Stuffing
Keyword Stuffing can hurt your business website by getting it penalized by Google

This used to work in the original days of SEO. An automated piece of software would flood your website with keywords you’re trying to rank for. This used to work great but eventually the Google search engine found a way to scan and stop this. Websites that used it were punished as search engines were updated regularly.

What are keywords? Search engines organize the internet’s information so you can find it more quickly and efficiently. This drives the economy so it’s in Googles best interest to provide you with the necessary information as fast as possible. Google also makes money off this and so do you and your business.

When keywords are stuffed into a website it manipulates and disrupts the flow of business. It misleads people and also takes advantage of them in a way. It doesn’t provide the most relevant results. Instead it makes it easy for someone with the right software to re-direct traffic to the website of their choosing.

This isn’t a level playing field for anyone. If you’re in Denver you should rank in the Denver area. You don’t want some local business in Wyoming ranking for Denver. Not many people are going to drive to Wyoming for a local business when they live in the Denver area.

Avoid keyword stuffing

What other black hat SEO tips are there? There are hidden text or links, cloaking, sneaky redirects, doorway pages and other things that we may not know about. The bottom line is that the search engines are always looking for new black hat SEO techniques. Black hat SEO is a get quick rich scheme. It’s not conducive for long term growth and can eventually cost you more money than if you did it the right way from the start.

Align your companies values with the SEO company that fully understands them and appreciates them. Look over the websites that they have done to see if you spot any keyword stuffing or content automation.

You can spot it easily by simply reading over their website and looking over their content. Does the ad copy sound natural or is the language off? Are their hundreds or thousands of posts that sound similar or the same? Is the content on the website useful or would you share it with your friends? Does the content make sense to you?

All of this stuff you can see with your own two eyes. Don’t just look at the numbers. Make sure you look at everything else as well.