Are you practicing Black Hat SEO? Has Google penalized you?

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Black Hat SEO Tactics to Avoid

Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be a very powerful tool when used properly. In a nutshell, SEO is the process of implementing techniques that can help a website to rank higher in search engine listings for related keywords. This can be very beneficial for business owners, as more and more consumers are turning to the Internet for commerce. In most cases, SEO professionals practice ethical behavior, or "white hat SEO"; unfortunately, some turn to unethical practices, or "black hat SEO".

In the past, many black hat SEO techniques were actually seen as ethical, but as competition began heating up for website visitors, some SEO professionals decided to abuse these techniques, ultimately leading search engine providers to ban such practices altogether. If you're interested in receiving a higher rank for your site, here are some black hat SEO techniques to avoid:

Keyword Stuffing - Keyword stuffing is one of the most common, yet outdated, black hat SEO techniques. Essentially, keyword stuffing is the practice of adding a specific keyword or set of keywords over and over in meta data and content, even if the words doesn't logically belong. Google and other search engines have grown wise to this technique, and as a result, most search engines will actually rank a site down if it employs such a tactic.

Invisible Text - Another black hat SEO tactic is to include text that is the same color as a webpage's background, essentially making the text invisible. The purpose of doing this is so that a black hat SEO practitioner can include extra keywords without immediately taking away from a user's visual experience.

Doorway Pages - A doorway page is often one that redirects a user to another page while showing separate information to a search engine crawler. This is generally done using a meta refresh command or by using a script, but modern updates to search engines now recognize these pages as spam.

Of course, the above tactics are only a few of the many that are employed by black hat SEO practitioners. It should also be noted that, while it may be very tempting to use such techniques, they never work for long-term success. Search engine providers are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve their services, and they're constantly updating their algorithms to rid the Internet of spammers, unethical SEO practitioners, criminals and more. If you want to help a site reach a higher rank through SEO, it's always best to avoid black hat techniques, use white hat techniques and build your SEO strategy ethically.