Running a business online can already be a scary place. Monsters like the dreaded Click-Through-Rate, and his sidekick, Impressions, often keep a few of us programmers and developers up late at night. And, when it comes to working magic with search engine rankings, witches are not the only ones who wear black hats. There are some pretty creepy search engine ranking tactics out there, and many can cost you more than just money. Let’s talk about a few of the major ones you might run into while searching for a way to bring more traffic to your website.
There are many different approaches to try and take advantage of your content by flexing it in ways that subvert search engine terms and conditions. Filling a site with automated, Frankenstein-bot written content will get the coven leaders at Google checking your domain out pretty quickly. Ghosting (hiding with CSS or other tactics) stuffed keyword text blocks or giant link farms throughout your website will eventually make you wish you’d tangled with a black widow instead of Google’s Web. You shouldn’t be stuffing your content at all anymore; at this point it seems even general overuse of keywords can put your topic balance into a precarious position if you aren’t careful — no matter what colour your wizard’s SEO hat is.
Having multiple domains with unique, referential and supporting content is a great way to build real organic authority. However, duplicating content across many domains to try and achieve the same effect won’t work for long. A giant influx of content and cross-links looks pretty great to begin with, but pretty soon Google will know that the apple you’re giving it is actually poisoned. Not long after that, your rankings and domain authority are likely to be a bit like Dracula. By that, I mean they’re going to suck.
For a long time we’ve known that incoming, high value backlinks to your domain from on-topic providers can go a long way in boosting your organic search rankings. And for just as long, lazy bones SEO providers have been selling high-priced, quick-ranking promises that quickly turn your domain into an undead shade of itself. Many times these providers use link farms or rolling domain generators. They can build relatable domain names, scrape relevant content and have them all link to your most important topical pages. Your rankings typically skyrocket quickly, which means it has a ‘too good to be true’ feel to it — you know the saying. Eventually, Google will realize that all these domains often share hosting, registrants, or other linkable information and they’ll punish the real domains that have been feeding topic brain-juice from the farm. This could mean your domain is unable to be a search result at all!
Whether you run your website with WordPress or a custom software platform, your hosting and management security needs to be spooktacular. Once a domain is related to a hack attempt, sometimes successful or not, it can carry the ghoulish results with it for years. Search result bans, advertising bans and email spam lists are just one Cerberus of problems that can penalize a domain. Many websites have had to change domain costumes quickly to get back online or be allowed to advertise on social media platforms/GoogleAds again due to a previous security issue.
There is a sizable list of many other smaller technically-focused sneaky tactics that can leave your site with a case of resting witch-face. Haunted redirects, link and article spinning, rich snippet and schema spam, messing with manual queries to Google’s Analytics service (or other stat offerings) - we’d need to rise from the dead next year to go over all of them. Some of these are easily done without your knowledge or approval and are in the background of other black, grey or even white hat SEO tactics.
The hallowed truth of it all is that the days of gaming Google are mostly over. While there are ‘SEO’ firms out there that still hang their hat on fading black hat tactics, many are still happy to take your money and run into the shadows. Others are willing to push the envelope without your knowledge to gain results while trying to keep their standing with Google on the up and up. The search engine giant will learn the truth sooner or later, leaving you with the trick instead of the treat. Changing costumes and titles from Gandalf the Grey-hat to Gandalf the White-hat has no power here; Google’s eye sees all.
At SilverServers, we believe a long-term mix of quality content combined with a lightning-fast and technically-sound website is the best combination for growing your domain’s topic authority. We’ve built our software platform and process to cater to Google’s requirements and allows you to manage your content with little to no SEO knowledge. It may sound batty, but it’s in our blood to chase down your rankings through consistent White-Hat practices.
Safe and sound in our shared, secure data facility the staff at SilverServers in Kamloops will likely just go to work rather than going home after the zombie apocalypse hits in November 2020 (do you have that one on your 2020 bingo card? Calling it!). No matter the amount of undead banging at the doors, we can help keep your search engine rankings climb organically through quality content addition and the technology that supports it. Contact us today to save yourself from the SEO Black-Hat witches!