Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a focus for every single business that wants to market itself online, which should really be every business these days. If you are just starting out with and unfamiliar with it, Neil Patel defines SEO as “the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.” There is no shortage of resources available on how to initiate, develop, and make the most of your SEO, most notable of which are the resources from Google itself.
What Not To Do
But before you go or continue on your SEO journey, it is crucial to remember what not to do. “Black hat” SEO refers to the types of practices that try to go around the guidelines from Google to gain better placement in search results instead of gaining it through having legitimately relevant and transparently promoted content. Some of the most common examples include;
- Duplicate content
- Hidden keywords
- Buying links
- Keyword stuffing
- A high volume of low-quality content
- Spammy link building
This is by far not an exhaustive list, but it begins to give you an idea of what kind of SEO practice is considered unethical in the world of digital marketing. But if you need to give a reason other than ethics to avoid wearing this black hat, keep in mind that even if they seem to work in the short term to drive your search results higher, Google does keep a lookout for these tactics and they do penalize them.
If you want to learn more about the drawbacks of black hat SEO, I recommend taking a look at PCmag’s article The Promises and Pitfalls of Black Hat SEO Practices.