Any SEO company could resort to Black Hat tactics, but integrity and honesty are much better and more marketable skills. The terminology for black hat and white hat tactics comes from the old Western movies where, mostly, the good guy would wear the white hat and the bad guy would wear a black one. These terms have been taken on board to represent those who will try any methods to boost their ranking, the black hat type, compared to those who will stick by the rules and do things the right way.
Examples of black hat SEO are hidden text, cloaking, blog comment spam and so on. White hat techniques encompass writing a good article with interesting content that is appropriate to your audience. It is using relevant keywords in anchor text and H1 tags along with the title tag. Both black and white hat methods have the ability to raise the visibility of your website, what they differ in is honesty and integrity.
Black hat SEO has a bad reputation and so it should have, these dishonest practices have a negative impact on the experience for the user and are usually done to make some quick profit. You would not want your business to do be associated with black hat techniques and thus you should avoid SEO businesses that believe in them. The top areas to avoid are:-
- The use of unconnected keywords in an article, these have obviously been put in there for hits not content.
- Keyword stuffing, this is when an article uses the same words over and over again to the point of annoyance. Two to four times in the article is the accepted norm.
- Tiny hidden text or hidden links to get away with including certain content. Instead you should make all content easy to read and make any links apparent.
- They use links to completely unrelated sites, this is called cloaking, It is a way of hiding your true website just to get some hits.
- They use gateway pages, these are pages which are packed full of keywords and their only aim is to redirect readers to a separate page.
- They use mirror sites, these are where content is copied from another website, without thinking or creating your own work.
- They use splogs, these are nonsensical text with one aim, which is to get people to click on adverts on the site.
- They use blog spam which is when you spam your own document or blog with comments to increase the number of links available.
- They will carry out practices such as domain squatting, this is when you register a trademarked word in the domain name with the intent to profit from the trademarked organization.
- A similar one to this is typosquatting, where you register a tradename with a misspelled version of the domain, maybe two letters transposed, with the intent of misleading visitors to visit your site.
This list has by no means covered all of the black hat SEO tactics but has hopefully made you aware of more common ones. Remember you do not want your business to be associated with this kind of negative reputation when trying to drive engagement online where you may get bans or fines from search engines, which will be made public.