If you’re in business, and you’ve got a website (and if you’re in business you must certainly need one), then you’ll know that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the way in which you raise your online profile in the search engine rankings. Everyone craves that coveted ‘top spot’ which lures visitors to your website rather than that of your competitors.
Attracting the search engines
It sounds easy enough. Simply include some relevant keywords and phrases in your meta data, and a few more in the content of your webpage, and you’ll rise to the top of the pile, much like cream in coffee. Unfortunately it isn’t quite as easy as that. If it were, every single website would be top of the rankings!
Google is the best-known search engine, using complicated algorithms to analyse several aspects of a webpage, including the hidden meta data, visible content and various other criteria such as the number of high quality links to and from your site. Search engines love regularly updated content, so a blog, or news page, can significantly raise your website’s profile.
But there is also a dark side to SEO – and in a nod to black magic and the dark arts, ‘black hat SEO’ tries to trick search engines into raising your website’s ranking higher than it would naturally appear. Webopedia provides a useful definition of some of the more common black hat techniques which are used to attract the attentions of the search engine web crawlers and artificially inflate the ranking results.
In essence, black hat SEO tricks try to circumnavigate the strict rules laid down by search engines. Keyword stuffing involves overloading your content with keywords, making for garbled content but whether or not a site makes sense is beyond the remit of a web crawler. Some sites crowbar irrelevant keywords onto their pages to inflate their listings, while others use a ‘doorway’ page which scores highly with the web crawlers but quickly reloads to a different page once a user has clicked on the link.
Black hat SEO is annoying at best, and disruptive at worst. It is frequently used by people who are keen to make a financial killing from a site, and adds no value whatsoever to the average internet user. Search engines dislike these techniques and frequently change their search algorithms in an attempt to outwit them.
The subject of black hat SEO is so huge that there are sites devoted to the subject such as Black Hat SEO which gathers blogs and articles about bad (and good) SEO practices for anyone interested in the subject.
Of course, not all black hat techniques are done deliberately. It’s all too easy to make mistakes when trying to perform SEO on your own site, which is why it can be so helpful to employ the services of a professional adwords consultant in London to oversee your site. Companies such 24-7website.co.uk in Hemel Hempstead as are up to speed with the latest rules and regulations and can help you to avoid costly mistakes as they specialise in web design, development and seo.
Search engines penalise websites which employ black hat techniques, so make sure your SEO is above board and attracting visitors for the right reasons.