Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a viable online marketing strategy that every business should be incorporating into their digital marketing strategy. However, it is a type of online marketing that comes with many ‘black hat’ practices.
‘Black hat’ SEO refers to the use of disruptive SEO tactics and strategies that focus only on search engines and not a human audience. These strategies usually do not obey search engine guidelines, and can result in a Google penalty.
Even though they may look like an ‘easy win’ at the time, small businesses should avoid the following SEO black hat strategies at all costs:
Overusing keywords on your website’s pages is a practice that is penalised heavily by search engines, especially when the number of keywords affects the readability of your website. Using keywords is still beneficial and necessary for SEO, however trying to include as many keywords as possible should take a backseat to writing content for your target audience.
Over-optimising internal website links
While internal links are important for spreading link equity throughout your website, over-optimising these links could land your business in some serious trouble. Make sure you use natural language on your website that makes sense to your readers.
Using irrelevant keywords just to rank
Including unrelated or irrelevant keywords in new or existing content to rank for those keywords is a short cut many content marketers use to get around publishing regular content. However, since search engines have become quite capable identifying this kind of practice, it is best businesses avoid it at all costs.
If a search engine finds two identical pieces of content, it will only index one of those pages. Make sure none of your business’s pages misses out on being ranked by ensuring there is no duplicate content on your site.
Search engines look for natural links, so instead of asking for link exchanges, businesses should work hard to create high-quality content that naturally attracts links.