Owning a small business is challenging enough: small business owners often play several roles such as marketing director, manager, content developer, sales associate, and more. As if juggling several different jobs were not bad enough, some small business owners find that Google has (seemingly randomly) removed a review on their My Business listing. This can […]
Is Black-Hat SEO Safe?
Black-hat SEO is an under-the-table Internet marketing strategy that has branched off of original SEO techniques that help improve your business’s online presence by increasing your website and social media pages’ positioning and traffic on popular search engines. Black-hat SEO basically refers to any SEO techniques that specifically target search engine positioning rather than improved readability or experience for your potential customers. Their only goal is to increase your business website’s search engine rank through any means necessary. Usually, the means necessary are not in agreement with the guidelines, or rules, instated by popular search engines. In simple terms, black-hat SEO is virtually the black market of search engine optimization. However, it’s pretty tempting. One of the most frustrating problems with traditional SEO is that it is a long-term process that does not guarantee immediate results. Black-hat SEO offers a faster return, but it can also be extremely dangerous for the long-term success of your business. Here are three simple reasons why.
Spam is Annoying
Many black-hat SEO techniques involve spam. One of the most “effective” forms of black-hat SEO is spam comments. Spam comments are basically just comments that include promotional links to your business’s website and/or social media platforms and are automatically posted to unrelated web pages. The problem with this and similar black-hat SEO techniques is that they are obviously transparent as spam. As you probably already know and can even personally attest to, the majority of the human population is incredibly irritated by spam. Therefore, when potential customers see that your business’s name is associated with annoying spam comments and false links that are cluttering up their Internet experience, they are extremely unlikely to want to buy products or services from your company. Your website might be ranked at a high position on Google, but that’s not going to matter if a large percentage of the people who see it automatically think “Ugh, that’s the business I saw posting spam the other day.” and scroll right past your link.
Google Is Smart
Google and other popular search engines are smarter than you think. When it comes to whether or not your usage of black-hat SEO techniques will eventually be discovered by these search engines, the odds are not in your favor. The possibility of being caught using black-hat SEO techniques that are against search engine guidelines is the most dangerous risk of utilizing these taboo strategies. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing and developing and are designed specifically to catch businesses that use black-hat SEO techniques. If you are caught by a popular search engine for this, your punishment can include an extremely negative bump down on the search engine ranking for your company’s website and social media platforms. Plus, popular search engines like Google are always changing their algorithms to detect new banned techniques, so just because the black-hat SEO strategies you use have not been discovered in the past does not mean that you’re safe to continue using them.
Humans Don’t Trust Robots
At the end of the day, the most important part of developing a successful online presence for your business is creating a great experience for your potential customers on your business’s website and social media platforms. Unfortunately, many black-hat SEO techniques preclude you from doing this because they are designed only for increased search engine ranking, not for ease of reader interaction. Techniques such as keyword stuffing make the content on your site and social media seem extremely unnatural and robotic. Potential customers who visit your site will catch onto this right away. Humans don’t trust robots, and if your business’s website and social media accounts do not seem genuine, your company’s credibility will be destroyed and you will likely lose business.
Using black-hat SEO techniques can be extremely tempting, but it’s always a better idea to stay on the safe side. The potential consequences are just too great for the risk to be worth it. At Local Spark, we never use any black-hat techniques. We utilize traditional, white-hat SEO techniques instead to grow our business the smart, safe way. If we can do it, you can too.