Black-hat marketing is most commonly used in reference to link-building in respect of websites. It is a cheat’s way of gaining inbound links for your website which Google will penalise you for.
The mistaken philosophy behind this is that the more inbound links that you have to your site (irrespective of the authority of the site linking to your website), the higher your website’s rank in Google.
This builds upon the premise that Google ranks sites highly which are ‘authoritative’ and that this is determined solely by the number of sites linking to them. It is in fact the authority of the sites linking to you, and not the sheer volume which have an impact on your ranking within Google.
However, Google’s sophisticated algorithm now penalises these black hat tactics as they are effectively cheating the system. Google’s objective is to serve up the most relevant websites to users and this is determined by the provision of useful content; which in itself will draw links from other sites if the content is indeed useful.
- Link buying
- Link farming
- Article submissions (e.g. Ezine articles)
- Excessive 1:1 link exchanges
Unfortunately there are still some ‘SEO companies’ and indeed web development companies in existence using these techniques, but be warned that they can seriously damage your Google rankings and future reputation with Google (getting back in Google’s good books takes far more time than it does to create a successful keyword strategy from the outset.) and therefore it would be far better use of your marketing budget to spend time creating a keyword strategy and content strategy for your website and marketing avenues.
With the recent demise of the majority of these Black hat SEO companies (although there are still many in existence) and the recent explosion in the use of Social Media to promote companies, these black hat marketing tactics have started to be used in the realm of social media, for example link-farming in respect of ‘buying 5000 followers instantly’.
In order to understand why black hat tactics are negative for your business’ social media marketing requires an understanding of the philosophy behind and beneficial uses of social media. Social media is used to build qualified leads in order to increase business, customer base and profits. There, logically; if a bot has generated those followers or likes for you then they are (1) not a real person and therefore will not interact with your company (the whole point of social media), or (2) they are real personas who have been signed up as a result of their information being passed onto a third party and thus are no benefit to your business as they did not choose to follow your company updates through an interest in it.
What should I do instead?
- Keyword optimisation for your website
- Build qualified, authoritative links (which takes time)
- Google Adwords (invest your money here rather than with ‘SEO link building companies’)