New bloggers and those who take professional blogging only as a means of making quick bucks often seen using black hat tricks to increase traffic and revenue from their blogs. Black hat techniques are those that are unethical, deceptive and non-conforming to the search engine’s terms and conditions.
As I have been guiding you on how to make blogging your career -the first thing you must learn is that blogging requires a lot of patience and hard-work. There are no shortcuts in the journey of blog success. So, be patient and don’t fall to the temptation of using dirty tricks.
As opposed to black hat methods, the white hat ones comply with rules of the game. Keeping your blog and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques as white hat is highly recommended. White hat methods give long term benefits whereas black hat tricks can only, if at all, give you instant success. Sooner or later, search engines will discover your black tricks.
When search engines, like Google, discover an offending website; they can take action against it by automatically or manually imposing a penalty. Such a penalty may come in the form of decreasing your blog’s ranking or, even worse, search engines may altogether remove your blog from their index.
There are tens of popular ways in which bloggers try to cheat search engines to increase their rankings. Here, I will explain only a few most popular of such black hat techniques.
Hidden / Invisible Text
Using hidden or invisible text on blogs is considered a black hat trick. Search engines want to see your page exactly they way readers see it. Some bloggers create a list of keywords and put it in an invisible DIV. Others may write these keywords in a font color same as that of the background -effectively rendering the keyword text invisible to human eyes but it remains readable to computers. COMMENT tag of HTML is also abused for such acts.
More tech-savvy bloggers create duplicate pages. Then they detect the agent that is trying to access their page. If it turns out to be a search engine crawler, they deliver copy (called doorway or gateway copy) that is more suitable for search engine and if it is a human reader who is requesting the page, a different version is delivered.
Use of incorrect and misleading headings / titles for posts is also considered a black hat trick. Some bloggers title their posts with words that would potentially attract higher traffic. But when readers come on the post -they find completely different matter in post’s body.
If you deliberately participate in link farms -I would say it is suicidal for your blog. Link farms are pages that contains nothing but links to hundreds (or even thousands) of websites. You may think that you’ll get traffic by putting your link in these pages -but it is just an illusion. If getting good traffic on blogs would have been so easy -every blogger on earth would be minting money within a few days of starting a blog.
You should not abuse the meta keywords. First of all, these keywords are no longer useful as far as search engine optimization is concerned. Secondly, if you still use them -use them logically. Although, there is no such enforced limit, but keywords should not be more than ten. Those who stuff hundreds of keywords in meta tag actually invite ire of Google and other search engines.
Some bloggers make special efforts to go to other blogs and spam their comments section with the links of their own blog. For years, such spamming has been rendered useless but still spammers keep on playing this irritating trick. All the popular blog platform, theme and template makers have made sure that the links in comments section remain nofollow. Any blogger who takes this profession seriously would know how to deal with comment spam.
According to Wikipedia, in February 2006, Google slapped a manual penalty on the websites of BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany. Google detected that these websites were using black hat tricks. The king of search engines promptly removed both the websites from its index. As a result both the websites witnessed a deep plunge in traffic. Google reinstated their rankings only after both these companies apologized and took correctional measures.
Now, if Google can take actions against such big multinational companies and make them to apologize -you can be assured that they wont let your black hat tricks go unpunished.
Some bloggers, out of desperation (like low CPC) or ignorance, tweak Google AdSense ads in ways that are against the terms and conditions of the program. For example, you are not allowed to put an AdSense ad in a floating div. Similarly, ads are not supposed to overlap the post material. Above the fold ads are also looked down upon by Google.
As I said earlier, search engines keep updating their algorithms and they keep on becoming more intelligent. Wrong methods will not take you far. As Brafton reported, Matt Cutts (one of the most important guy whom every professional blogger should listen to) has said that spam, questionable guest blogging and black hat SEO practices will not be able to hide from Google’s eyes for long.
Therefore, if you want to make a career in blogging, don’t choose easy but wrong paths.
I have repeated this in several of my posts that if you want to taste success in blogging -you need to be very patient and very passionate for blogging. Equally important is that you don’t try to be over-smart in SEO. Be a good guy/gal and just keep producing quality material. Success may come slow -but for sure it will come to you!