Black Hat SEO

With the term Black Hat SEO, we refer to all the techniques and practices against the search engines’ guidelines, made up to increase the webpage’s rank in search engines. These practices are a shortcut to reach a higher ranking through a manipulation of the search engines’ algorithms.

The following are few of the many Black Hat Techniques in SEO that must be avoided while setting the search strategy up for your own/your client’s website.

Keyword Stuffing

This is one of the most common used technique. It involves the repetitive use of the keywords into the website’s content, with the obvious reason to appear more relevant by the algorithm’s eyes.

Sneaky Redirects

In this case the Black Hat SEO technique consists in the use of different URL than the one originally clicked by the user, to redirect him somewhere else. The most common use of the sneaky redirect is to use different URL to redirect the search engine crawler to one page and the actual users to another one. Another use could be backlinking a webpage that needs to increase its rank position from a webpage with a high one.

Abusing Structured Data/Rich Snippets

Basically, with this technique the content is displayed differently on the search engine results page. It allows you to alter the content or add the structured data to a page to make it looking better than the competitors. One example is the fake reviews schema markup.

The use of Black Hat SEO techniques will most likely bring the website to be banned from the search engines with dramatic consequences for the ranking and the traffic.

Is it worth it?

Google Algorithm

Giving an exact number of the amount of data that are currently existing online is hard to know. Some people who do not have much to do during the day have counted that in 2020 were around 40 zettabytes of data, which are equivalent of 40 trillion of gigabytes.

How does Google know what exactly we are looking for in this ocean of data in less than a second?

The answer is through its ranking system and all the algorithms they are made up of.

Skipping all the technical and boring stuff, we can mainly identify 5 key factors that determine what and which results will be displayed:

  • Meaning of the query
  • Relevance of webpages
  • Quality of content
  • Usability of webpages
  • Context and settings

Meaning of the query

The first step Google does is to understand our intent. Interpreting spelling mistakes, applying research on natural language understanding are just few of what Google takes in consideration. A brilliant example of the complexity of this first step is given by the Synonym system that helps Search to do its job by matching words with the same meaning. It took 5 years to develop it.

Relevance of webpages

The second step involves obviously the content of the webpages. As introduced in my previous post, the keywords contained in the webpage and the SEO play the main role. If the same keywords used in our query are found in the webpage, the information will be treated as relevant and pertinent by the algorithm.

Quality of content

After matching the keywords in our query with the one of the webpages, the algorithm analyse which pages are the most reliable. Signals taken in consideration are, but not only: expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness and other pages’ link to the page (PageRank).

Usability of Webpages

After ranking the quality, Google moves to analyse the usability of the pages. Responsive websites, appearance in different browsers, and loading time are few of the fields analysed.

Context and settings

Last factor is about information relevant for our query. Our location, search history and settings will help the algorithm to display what is more useful for us the moment we clicked on the search button.

Findability Theory

Within the World Wide Web, the term findability means the simplicity and efficiency with which any kind of information can be found. The importance of the findability is really easy to understand, regardless the final purpose of the information to be found. More than 3/4 of the researches made online involve products and services. Obviously, the User cannot buy what he cannot find.

The Findability Theory involves two main concepts:

  • Keywords
  • SEO

Keywords

They are the words used by the user to describe what he is looking for in a search engine. Building the website’s content around these keywords means bring the website on top of the search engine’s list. It is crucial that first we find the keywords and then we build the content around them.

SEO

SEO Process

SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation, is another internet marketing strategy that considers how the search engine algorithm works. SEO uses several strategies, tactics and techniques to increment the number of visitor of a website by placing the website as high as possible on the search result page of a search engine.