Don't Get Blacklisted
JCPenney Penalized by Google
Retailer JC Penney was recently penalized by Google for their SEO company’s Black Hat practices. In other words, they were manually removed from their top spot in Google search engine results due to use of unethical techniques to get ahead.
What is “Black Hat SEO”?
Like a magician who uses a parlor trick to produce a rabbit from a black hat, there are those who attempt to achieve search engine optimization by trying to figure out a search engine’s rules and “tricking” it into thinking their webpage is more relevant than it really is.
Here are some common Black Hat techniques that can end up hurting your page rank:
- Keyword stuffing - Loading your meta tags with unnecessary or repeated keywords
- Invisible text - Putting white text and/or links on a white background to attract more search engine crawlers
- Link farming - Exchanging reciprocol links as part of a group where every member is linked to every member
- Doorway Pages - A page, not meant to be accessed by users, for the purpose of making the index look larger
- Blog Comment Spam - Unsolicited comments irrelevant to the blog topic for the purpose of creating external links
Black Hat does work. That's why some people still do it… but the positive results are only temporarily. When using black hat, your page rank suffers in two ways:
- The search engine modifies its algorithm to compensate for known black hat tactics. (The algorithm is changing all the time.)
- The search engine discovers what you are doing penalizes by either:
- Manually demoting your rank in the search results
- Removing you from the index altogether (This happened to B.M.W. just a few years ago.)
White Hat SEO
The number one goal of search engines is connect you with the most relevant results for your search. There are techniques you can use to do this successfully and without the risk of getting blacklisted.
Content is King
Here are some White Hat techniques that can improve your page rank:
- Relevant Keywords – Provide keywords that relate to the content and theme of your site
- Analytics – Review your search results and take corrective steps as needed
- Quality Links – Link to, and be linked to, only by reputable websites that are relevant to the content of your own
- Quality content that is:
- Unique – What sets you apart from the others?
- Valuable – What are people going to get out of your site?
- Insightful – Does your content engage your visitors to think?
- Authoritative – Check your facts and establish your credibility
- Updated Often – Things change. Always stay up to date.
Is My Online Marketing Company Practicing Black Hat SEO or White Hat SEO?
When hiring an SEO company to optimize your website, look for someone who is transparent when it comes to their marketing techniques. Feel free to ask questions. If they are not willing to be open with you about their practices, chances are your company could be taking an unnecessary risk with them. Look for SEO that is quality content driven.