Once upon a time, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of online marketing and computer programming could become a black hat SEO expert. All it took was a rebellious streak, time, and a client. But today, all of the digital marketing firms and SEO experts agree: black hat SEO is dead.
Scratch that, all of the successful digital marketing firms and SEO experts agree. No matter what SEO guru, blog, or internet marketing firm you turn to, you’ll find the experts leaving behind sketchy black hat tricks in favor of tried and true, modern SEO techniques.
Why doesn’t black hat SEO work anymore? Unfortunately for the black hatters clinging to a dying way of life, Google is really, really smart. Google uses machine learning and sophisticated algorithms to identify websites that are trying to cheat the rankings. Then they bring the hammer down.
Dead Black Hat Technique Example #1: Low Quality and Stolen Content
Writing strong content is hard. The best writers don’t come cheap, so in days gone by shady marketing firms would take articles, plug them into Google translate, then translate them back into English. That would change the content just enough so it wouldn’t be flagged as plagiarism.
Unfortunately, people are still using tricks like this. Just look at this piece of content for an off shore SEO marketing firm we found recently:
“Google search engine is the king of Spartan search engine. We are not introducing about search engine but want to tell about a reliable and beneficial Search Engine Optimization company. [REDACTED] is also the king of Spartan SEO Ecommerce Company that running in India but providing SEO services for United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. Our company are outsourcing firm that have well infrastructure and company location is very nice.”
Today, Google can tell when your articles are phony. And then they bring the hammer down.
Dead Black Hat Example #2: Link Farms
There was a time when lazy marketing firms would simply buy links en masse. And there are still sketchy Russian sites where you can buy links and social media followers (along with stolen credit card numbers). But thanks to several Google Penguin updates, Google now measures the quality of the links to your site, not just the quantity.
So What Does Work?
Forget the black hat tricks. Here’s what you need to succeed in SEO today. You need quality content, that drives engagement on social media, which helps you generate back links to your website. That’s it. Of course we’re oversimplifying, but not as much as you might think.
If you need help with SEO or social media marketing, don’t be tempted by black hat liars, find a proven local marketing firm and get the job done right.