How to Identify Black Hat Link Building

Appearing in search engine results is very important for all business owners. The competition in the digital world is leading to the development of different dark technologies to help rank your websites higher in search results. But is using black hat techniques the only solution to help boost your website? And how do you identify black hat link building?

Absolutely not, black hat link-building-based SEO techniques can bring a short time boost to your website. However, the long-term effective and ethical method is to use white hat link-building techniques to rank your website. Let us see how black hat links can affect your website and what techniques are used to build white hat links.

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What is Black Hat Link Building?

Black Hat Link Building
Black Hat Link Building

Black hat is a practice that is against search engine guidelines used to get a site to rank higher in the search results. It is a technique used to drive high traffic to a website by exploiting loopholes in search engine algorithms. 

It enables a site to rank higher than it is supposed to through organic search. Link building through black hat is not designed to help users have a better experience but to simply boost the rankings of a page for a website by working around and tweaking SEO rules. Search engines like Google became aware and developed algorithms to penalize such practices.

Black hat techniques include practices like keyword stuffing, cloaking, and using private link networks. These techniques are practiced in black hat link building since the growth of businesses depends on user searches. In search engine optimization, there are right and wrong ways of doing Search Engine Optimization. 

Black hat SEO is an unethical way of doing search engine optimization. Techniques used in the black hat link building look to manipulate search engine algorithms rather than making the site user-friendly. Black Hat Search engine optimization uses illegal tactics to help your website rank highly on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Continuous use of black hat search engine optimization techniques will cause more damage to your presence in the search engine rather than improving it and may lead to your domain being permanently de-indexed.

Black Hat Link Building Techniques to Avoid

If you are planning to invest in an outsourcing link-building agency, you must be able to differentiate the strategies and techniques involved in black hat link-building. Check the following image to quickly identify the categories or strategies involved in black hat link building.

How to Identify Black Hat Link Building
Identify Black Hat Link Building

1. Keyword Stuffing

Identify Black Hat Link Building - Keyword Stuffing
Identify Black Hat Link Building – Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the practice of filling your content with irrelevant keywords in an effort to manipulate page ranking on the search results page. Multiple variations of keywords that add no value to the content create a bad user experience and may result in your page ranking for irrelevant queries.

One such example of Keyword stuffing given by Google is, 

We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at [email protected]

It is relevant that the Keyword “cigar humidors” has been used extensively in the aforementioned paragraph. 

2. Forum Profile or Signature Links

Identify Black Hat Link Building - Forum Profile
Identify Black Hat Link Building – Forum Profile

The forum allows the user to add a link to your website within the block of information and to create a profile and a signature. Using automated software to create thousands of fake forum accounts to spam your signature and profile is another black hat link-building technique you should avoid.

Google for the past few years has been avoiding forum link-building. In fact, if your website is building links based on forums, you are violating  Google webmaster’s guidelines. Google can penalize your website by checking your site’s backlink profile. Apart from getting penalized, your website can get de-indexed too. 

3. Cloaking

Identify Black Hat Link Building - Cloaking
Identify Black Hat Link Building – Cloaking

Cloaking is the practice of showing one part of the content to users and a different part to search engines. This means the HTML code recognized by the Google bots and users is not similar. If your website is found to have such content, your website will be at high risk of getting penalized by Google.  

Services that practice black hat search engine optimization use these techniques to make their content rank for a variety of irrelevant content or searches. 

Showing a specific type of content to curated users to get the best results is different from cloaking. For example, to make your website more mobile-friendly, you can reduce the size of texts or orientation for phone users. 

4. Redirects

Identify Black Hat Link Building - Redirects
Identify Black Hat Link Building – Redirects

Redirects is a technique of sending someone to a different URL than the one they actually click. Black hat SEO link building uses redirects for a different purpose from what they were intended for. It also includes redirecting a search engine crawler to one page and the users to a different page.

Websites often use re-directs to take you from one page to another. The 3xx re-directs include 301 (moving the website permanently to a new URL), 302 (temporarily moving your page to another site), etc. But redirecting can bring negative SEO to your website too. A 404 error can affect loading time, redirection chain, and the speed of your website. 

5. Poor Quality Content

Identify Black Hat Link Building - Poor Quality Content
Identify Black Hat Link Building – Poor Quality Content

Poor quality content is content that is of no value to the user and is a common practice in black hat SEO that should be avoided. Adding invisible keywords to your content is also a practice that is prohibited. Some services that engage in black hat SEO practice this technique by making the text the same as the background color.

Another example of poor quality content is duplicating content from another website using a bot or by manual means. The Google Panda update in 2011 was improvised to recognize such duplicate content. 

Another example of poor quality content is the “Bait and switch” method. This includes creating content for something you want to rank for. Once your site starts ranking for that, you swap the content with something else. This results in a negative user experience. 

6. Paid Links

Identify Black Hat Link Building - Paid Links
Identify Black Hat Link Building – Paid Links

Paid links are a black hat SEO technique where links are bought. Google strictly bans buying and selling of links. On their website, it is stated that any site violating the PageRank ranking would be in violation of Google webmaster guidelines. 

Google states that both the buyer and the seller of links will be penalized if such practices are detected. Habits like sending gifts to websites to procure links are prohibited by Google. 

The following acts are considered to be a violation of organic link exchange by Google: 

  • Buying and selling of links including exchanging money, goods, or free products. 
  • Partner link exchange.  
  • Guest post campaigns. 
  • Asking for links as a part of the “Terms & Conditions” contract, and more. 

Strategies Used in Black Hat Link Building

1. Spam-Oriented Tactics

Identify Black Hat Link Building - Spam-Oriented Tactics
Identify Black Hat Link Building – Spam-Oriented Tactics

Spam-oriented tactics are a black hat strategy of posting comments and links to third-party websites. Usually, the links have very little to do with the content on the webpage in which it gets listed.

2. Link Farms

Identify Black Hat Link Building - Link Farms
Identify Black Hat Link Building – Link Farms

Link farming is a strategy where links are created on websites irrelevant to the content. Websites that feature a series of links to other websites with content irrelevant to the webpage are Link Farms. Some link farm sites look genuine but are only efforts to drive traffic to certain web pages without producing their own value. 

3. Hidden Links and Text

Identify Black Hat Link Building - Hidden Links or Texts
Identify Black Hat Link Building – Hidden Links or Texts

Hidden texts and links are a common strategy used in the world of black hats. It is a practice of adding links and anchors within the blog content by coloring them white so that they are not visible to the reader and the owner of the website. Hiding links is a form of cloaking in black hat link building. 

White Hat Link-Building – Useful Tips

White hat link building is considered to be the ethical way of link building technique that does not manipulate search engine algorithms. White hat link building keeps your site from being penalized by Google. It is an approach to building links that are risk-free for website owners.

The techniques used in white hat link building are transparent and long-term strategies that align well with the webmaster guidelines and aim to offer beneficial content to other web users. LinkDoctor with its unique approach to organic link building has helped companies achieve these goals. Muzigal, a global online music learning platform achieved a 600% increase in its organic Keywords and a 193% increase in organic traffic through such organic link-building techniques.

Here are some tips to follow in white hat link building. 

  • Create content that is unique and insightful. It is important to write or create new content that has not been used or seen before. This is also important in the indexing process of your content. Working on new content helps boost your ranking and SEO. It is also important to create unplagiarized content. 
  • Add backlinks to quality websites. Link building has 2 types of websites, namely 
  • Real websites – Sites created by individuals or businesses to publish content of good quality and have solid metrics. 
  • Private Blog Networks (PBNs) – Private blog networks are made for hosting links specifically. Genuine PBN websites can be spotted using factors like functionality, domain history, ownership, content volume, metrics, and backlink profile. White hat link builders who perform link building genuinely utilize the above-mentioned methods in their link building. 
  • Assuming that opting for a service that provides white hat link building with content that is new and original, publishes content from reputable websites, and approves multiple links from them to start your link-building journey will be a bad idea.

Such things create a backlink footprint and put you at risk of being penalized by search engines. To avoid forming a footprint, you must diversify your backlink profile, and make sure to place links to a mix of low and high-authority niches on relevant websites. You must also be cautious not to place too many links at the same time.

  • Ask your service provider to allow you to always inspect your websites prior to any link placements going live. Transparency of sites before publishing is something to be considered in white hat link building. Find a service provider that will let you view your target websites before any links are published.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some of the ways to identify black hat link-building?

Black hat link building practices include
1. Keyword Stuffing
2. Creating Signature Links
3. Cloaking
4. Low-quality Content
5. Link Redirects
6. Paid Links

2. What are some of the best practices for link building?

* Follow the webmaster guidelines for link building.
* Provide high-quality & useful content.
* Optimize your website for the best user experience.
* Cover recent and trending topics with accurate information through authoritative resources.

Put On Your Thinking HAT!

The dark industry of black hat SEO techniques can take your business to serious pitfalls. You surely wouldn’t  want to search for “Why Google penalized my website?” You probably know the answer by now. 

If you are still using black hat link-building techniques to rank your website, it is time you choose the ethical way. White hat SEO techniques can be time-consuming but will bring long-term benefits with higher organic traffic, stability, and revenue.

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