There are several SEO services that you should avoid at all costs. Even if the results seem appealing, future updates to the search engine algorithms will penalize your site and can possibly interrupt your business’s cash flow. Black hat techniques, or SEO services that are unethical and deceptive, are frowned upon by all the top search engines and are generally the target of new algorithm updates. In order to provide the best results to their users, search engines dedicate a lot of time and energy to eliminating these SEO shortcuts:
- Link schemes. Link schemes are usually considered malicious because they attempt to circumvent all of the hard work required to organically build a high quality network of links. Instead of submitting articles to directories or encouraging people to share content through social media, sites that use black hat SEO services sometimes attempt to buy a network of backlinks. Search engines prefer to rank sites that earn top spots through hard work and content driven campaigns rather than simply handing the best results to the website with the deepest pockets. New search algorithms still take the number of links into consideration, but the quality of links can be a much better indicator of a site’s relevance and usefulness.
- Keyword stuffing. One of the most prolific myths about search engine optimization is that it is all about keywords. While keywords are important, overusing any particular term can become repetitive and result in negative visitor experiences. Search engines caught on to the fact that many websites were ranking for certain terms simply by hiding blocks of keywords behind images, so they adjusted their algorithms to punish websites that attempt to cheat. Now, placing repetitive and useless blocks of keywords can result in complete removal from a search engine’s index. It is much more effective to perform keyword research and find a natural keyword density than to try to rank for certain terms by spamming them all over your website.
- Misrepresenting your site to search engines. Some SEO services allow webmasters to present information to search engines that human visitors might not necessarily see. In theory, this is a fantastic way to let the search engines know what an image is of, but the reality is that many black hat companies use this power to mislead their visitors and trick the search engines. Metadata and code should accurately describe the content of a page and allow the search engines to correctly index and rank each website. Cloaking and other misrepresentations might take longer for the search engines to discover, but bad visitor experiences and low sales conversions will eventually result in lower rankings and possible removal from the search engine indexes.