fbpx
  APPLY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Supercharge your SEO! Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest SEO tactics & best practices

Offsite SEO Guide: Earn More Backlinks & Avoid Black-hat SEO

By
Updated December 1, 2019
No Comments
Take Control of Your Offsite SEO

Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

Have this post read to you in a natural voice, so you can do other things:

To really compete on the growing Internet on-site SEO optimization is crucial, but it may not be enough to gain significant rankings, you’re going to need links. Most Internet marketers will tell you it’s worth the time spent or budget paying an experienced professional or agency to develop an offsite SEO campaign.

Take Control of Your Offsite SEO

Focusing on acquiring a diverse amount of relevant links with the correct anchor text distribution will make all the difference in your search positions. If you do it right, you’ll find yourself getting better results from your effort and over time push past your competition to the top of the search page. When you acquire links use this information below and get a ton of additional value out of them.

Diversify your distribution and link sources

It takes a significant effort to take your marketing to a higher level. At it’s best a healthy backlink profile is the result of great marketing. By having a diverse amount of quality links pointing back to your website you’ll gradually see your search engine rankings improve along with increased overall traffic to your website.

Both B2C and B2B business’s regardless of targeting a local or national campaign have a mailing address or place of business and can benefit from citations and listings with top level directories. Whitespark and Moz Local are a great starting point, also use industry research to uncover niche opportunities.

Create valuable content on your own site and you will gain attention and subsequent links. Participate in social media and communities around your topics and if you do things right in a non-promotional way people will note you and share or link to your own relevant content. Network for links by building relationships with people who have real businesses that are compatible to yours and associate with them in some way that is mutually beneficial.

Focus on providing information to your ideal reader. Develop a few fictitious persona’s of the people you are intending to write for. Start by giving them names and basic demographics like age, family, where they live, what they do and what challenges they might face. Having your audience figured out can help shape your overall marketing and uncover hidden gems you may not of thought of otherwise.

People tend to use generic references or your articles title when linking to your site. Open graph is also very common across social sites and will use your page title. Keep this in mind when considering how your link profile is progressing.

Hook better leads with hard-working digital marketing

We help small businesses get more traffic and leads with Professional Visibility™ through web design & SEO

Free Marketing PlanGet a Free Demo
Ready to hook better leads and save time with hard-working digital marketing? Start the Conversation

If your content isn’t gaining enough backlinks on it’s own guest blogging is a great way to get links while also driving traffic to your site. Start by having value added content on your own blog then reach out to websites in your industry. When writing a blog post format your content around the link. Links should be used as a source to the information you are providing. They’re used to attribute thoughts, ideas or a reference to another site. If you format the context of the article around the link so it’s referencing your site as the source no one will never question your intentions (i.e “according to Clayton Johnson, an SEO Specialist,  guest blogging is effective”). If the links that you place in a guest post are ever removed you should reconsider the value you are adding and the approach. As you write more and build a name for yourself or the company you are writing for editors will never doubt your links. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship when you provide content to an audience that finds it worth reading.

Keep the velocity of links in check

Link velocity is the rate which other websites are linking back to your site. To put it another way it is the amount of links grown over time in your backlink profile. If you get a lot of backlinks in the first month, no backlinks in the second, a handful in the third, and finally over 5,000 backlinks in the fourth month. Doesn’t that seem odd? Links that are obtained naturally typically build over time, not overnight. Having links proportionate to the amount of content that you have on your site is essential. Producing high quality content maintains the optimal link building velocity. Different referring domains linking to your pages steadily over time is a great sign your doing things right.

Use domain authority (DA)

Domain authority is the measure of power that a domain name has. Domain authority is based on: Age, Popularity, and Size. Moz a leader in inbound marketing software created this metric and Google has since stopped updating the public display of the equivalent metric Pagerank used in Googles ranking algorithm.

The higher the domain and page authority a site has typically the higher quality site. It shows they have quality links themselves and ensures indexing of the fresh page you publish to or an updated caching of a page that already exists. By putting more effort towards publishing on sites with high domain authority you ensure your links are in good company and not associated with low quality pages.

You can check (DA) using Open Site Explorer, there are also plugins available from Moz for Firefox and Chrome.

Get nofollow links

“Nofollow” is an html value that lets webmasters tell search engines “Don’t follow links on this page” or “Don’t follow this specific link.”. The rel=nofollow attribute was introduced by Google to combat spam, specifically when comment linking was abused. In other words nofollow tells search engines that the link should not influence the ranking of the link’s target in the search engine’s index.

Google can still use a nofollow link to discover and crawl your sites pages even if it isn’t counting towards your influence. They also give your link profile a natural profile, which is definitely a ranking factor. Regardless if the link is dofollow or not it can create awareness, after all it is still a link to your site. They are just as valuable as any other relevant and quality site linking to you. Focus on distributing your content and don’t worry if the link is nofollowed or not.

Optimize in relation to your URLs

Your anchor texts should depend on the URL that you’re linking to. If your URL has your keywords already in it, you’ll have less room to send in anchor with those same keywords without posing risk to over-optimization.

URL Keyword Anchor Usage
#1 www.skyscanner.com High
#2 www.travelocity.com/Flights Medium
#3 www.cheaptickets.com/cheap-flights Low

In the example URL #1 above, the keyword cheap flights isn’t used at all, so you have the highest amount of freedom when it comes to sending anchors with the word “cheap flights”. URL #2 is what a majority of people are probably working with. In that case, stick to the niche-specific target anchor text. URL #2’s configuration is also what I recommend for onsite SEO. URL #3 uses “cheap” twice, which really limits you in how many target anchors you can send to this URL. I would be extremely careful about over-optimization if you’re in the same situation as URL #3.

Use natural anchor text

Having a variety of anchors keeps your link profile natural. Use this chart as a loose guideline to follow when you are getting links to your site.

Usage Amount

Anchor Text

Example

25%

URL: This is just the website address as the anchor text Yourwebsite.com

25%

Brand: The business name on its own is a natural anchor text to use Brand

15%

Branded Keyword: Your brand name and keyword mixed Keyword Brand

10%

Phrase: Your keyword mixed into a longer phrase Best Keyword in area

10%

Related: Industry related keywords Keyword1, Keyword 2, Keyword2

10%

Generic: Click here, go to site, this website Click Here

5%

Exact: The keyword you are targeting main keyword Keyword

When people are trying to rank for local terms, such as “Cheap Flights Minneapolis”, what they typically do is create links with the anchor “Cheap Flights Minneapolis”, but how does that look in an article? “Are you looking for Cheap Flights Minneapolis” No one would ever say that. Instead use “Cheap Flights in Minneapolis”. You’re getting credit for “Cheap Flights Minneapolis”, but look completely normal while doing it.

Never use the same anchor text repeatedly

Cheap Flights —> Cheapest Flights
Cheap Flights —> Cheap Airline
Cheap Flights —> Flight Deals
Cheap Flights —> Cheapest Airfare
Cheap Flights —> Cheap Plane Tickets

In the early days of SEO you could get away with anything, people that wanted to rank for “Cheap Flights” would send all their anchors as “Cheap Flights. This doesn’t work at all anymore. What are the odds of this happening naturally? The probability of multiple websites all linking to another website using the exact same anchor text is pretty slim. If you have thousands of backlinks it is certainly possible some will overlap. Instead, never use the same target anchor more than once and mix up your keywords by throwing in filler words. Not only does it look natural, but it gets a better result with fewer links.

Understand LSI and use synonyms

It’s important to use keyword related terms to get credit for your keyword, while avoiding being over optimized. Google has an extensive amount of latent semantic indexing (LSI) and synonym matching into it salgorithm. You see this on many searches but you might not notice it.

Latent Semantic Indexing sounds complicated, but in a nutshell it means that Google is showing results based on relations to similar words and phrases.

A search for “Cheap Airlines”

cheap airlines

When you search for “Cheap Airline” you’ll see that Google will bold the keywords that match your search terms. The word airline is a synonym to flight that you can use instead. When you’re reaching your limit on how many times you can use your target keywords, start to use in synonyms instead. You’ll get the ranking benefits while avoiding over-optimization.

Research Your Own link Profile

Use Google Search Console to examine your current links and anchors distribution. This will give you an idea of your current diversity and anchor usage.

If your web property isn’t already verified see this guide. If no data is showing up be sure to verify and check all versions of your site (http://site.com http://www.site.com, https://)

From the main dashboard of Search Console click on “Search Traffic” and then “Links to Your Site”

SearchConsole

Go to the More > section of “Who links the most” and download all 3 tables. This will show you everyone Google has found who is linking to you and how many times.

Links to Your Site

Also go to the More > section of “How your data is linked” and download the table. This will show your anchor texts listed by most used to least.

Anchors

Research your competition

Google shows you exactly what they want for the search terms you are trying to rank for. Checkout your top 3-5 competitors and how they have used link diversity and anchor text distribution in your niche. Researching your competition is also a great way to identify new linking opportunities.

There are multiple premium competitor research tools to use such as SEMrush, Majestic and Raven tools. An excellent free tool is Open Link Profiler

 

In this example I am using Ahrefs site explorer to see an in-depth view of links

hrefs

The Anchor Clouds section shows a nice overview of the type of anchor texts that they are using.

hrefsanchorcloud

For in-depth analysis, you can click on the referring domains of anchor Phrases and terms

hrefsanchors

Use the research of your own link profile and your competitors to identify what’s working now and take full control of your offsite SEO

Take action now

Now that you know how to take control of your offsite SEO, it’s time to take action. Stick to providing value and pay attention to all the caveats mentioned in this article to see impressive results.

How to determine the quality of a backlink

I remember when I first procured a ‘backlink’ on purpose that had decent metrics on it and I saw my ranking for a money-making keyword go up.

I was delighted.

I now saw that I could deliberately manipulate search rankings for my own purposes if only I could find more of these holy grails of search engine optimization that I now coveted so much.

But I had to determine what an ideal backlink looked like – and make sure I could sift through the chaff. I had seen that even high quantities of low-quality backlinks didn’t do much, and at one point could actually hurt rankings.

 

  1. A quality backlink has high domain authority (DA)
  2. A quality backlink has high page authority (PA)
  3. A quality backlink is in the same niche as the business you’re trying to rank.
  4. A quality backlink has a low spam score.
  5. Many quality backlinks are contextual – meaning within an article.
  6. Quality backlinks overall are diversified, meaning there is varied anchor text with natural ratios

Now, where do I find the high Domain Authority, high page authority backlinks to increase my ranking?

You have to believe! And you have to put yourself out there – through writing, outreach, and creating excellent resources that people will want to link to naturally.

If you don’t have all the time in the world to wait for people to discover your epic content – e-mail people that have created listicles with resources like yours, guest post, and even use the ‘moving man method.’ The ‘moving man method’ means to help people who have broken links on their site by recreating the resource they were linking to (in a new and improved way) on your site and letting them know you now have the resource on their site and their current link is dead.

Determining domain authority and page authority with Mozbar

    1. Download Mozbar from Moz.com
    2. Install on your Chrome Browser
    3. Find great blogs to guest post on, and pages with high domain authority to do outreach to their owners and see if you can score yourself a high DA, high PA link!
    4. Have patience – but use the Mozbar to be aware of linking opportunities as you go about your normal browsing habits.

(My Homepage’s metrics in Mozbar)

Mozbar to determine backlink quality

What’s the biggest metric in determining backlink quality?

Page Authority.

While domain authority can mean that there are millions of pages on a given website (thus spreading out the potential depth of the page that’s linking to your site) page authority essentially measures how important a particular page is in the overall structure of the website.

If the page authority is high, it means the page is an important page on an important site – and that means better ‘link juice,’ which means more power and more influence on Google’s algorithm in ranking the page you want to rank.

In my experience, this is the #1 influencer in creating movement in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) and will always matter more than domain authority, though the higher the domain authority, the more likely the page authority will also be high.

Does niche matter? Yes. But it is not the end all and be all; it is one of several factors that will determine what kind of sway a particular link will have for the subject you want to get ranked for. A high page authority and domain authority outside of the niche of the business you want to rank for will still make a hefty difference depending on how difficult the niche is overall.

If the page or post’s name is contained in your link (i.e. “Your keyword + other words”), it also helps because the page name of the page linking to your site is also a factor in how likely the link will influence your ranking.

5 Places to get a high-quality backlink now

1. Buy one from Inc.com – Inc Verified Profile
2. Buy a temporary listing on OnTopList.org
3. Write a super high-quality blog post about digital marketing and submit it to my site here.
4. Upload an Example of your work or a writing sample on Behance with a link back to your site.
5. If you are a designer, you can purchase a listing on DesignerListings.org.

If some of these seem a bit shallow, it’s because anything that’s really worth its salt – won’t be easy. That means actual outreach, writing for other sites and tracking down links that go more than skin deep. That will depend on the niche of your website, or your client, and what resources you have at your disposal.

Do you have writing skills and can you do outreach for guest posts?

Do you have time to create profiles on high DA sites and do second tier linking to inflate the overall metrics?

Do you have design skills and can create a unique infographic to share with other blogs in the industry, along with writing a short, unique post to accompany the infographic for their blog?

The key is that you need to provide value to these sites before they are willing to link back – whether that’s monetary or in the form of unique content – that will be up to you.

10 Things You May Not Know About Offsite SEO

The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry is full of myths as with any technical business where many of the clients don’t quite understand how the work is done. However, there’s also so much to learn about SEO that it would be practically impossible for anybody to know a lot without being completely immersed in the industry because of how rapidly it can change.

As a result, clients are often confused about why certain things are done and why they can have a positive or negative impact. In this article, we’ll take a look at the ten most common things that people don’t know about offsite SEO and why they matter.

Link Volume still Matters

Perhaps the greatest myth that has come about in the aftermath of Google Penguin is that link volume doesn’t matter and quality is the most important thing. While no SEO in their right mind would ever argue that quality doesn’t matter, experts also recognize that quantity is incredibly essential.

The factor most closely correlated to ranking on the front page of Google is the quantity of linking root domains. This tells us that the link volume is still incredibly relevant and therefore clients need to be getting as many links as possible while maintaining high-quality standards.

Anchor Text can Influence Rankings

Similarly, Google Penguin targeted anchor text incredibly hard, punishing sites for having a high percentage of exact match anchor text links. As you might imagine, when a penalty sweeps through the industry like Google Penguin did people tend to go to the opposite extreme. In this case, this meant proclaiming that anchor text doesn’t matter at all and you shouldn’t worry about it.

This is entirely false, anchor text is still a ranking factor and while it might not be as important as it once was or have the same leniency that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for your benefit. Forgetting about anchor text completely is causing you to leave money on the table.

Additional Links from the Same Domain Have Less Value

In the same study we referred to earlier, we know that the most important ranking factor is the number of unique root domains linking to a page. As a result, we can deduce that the value of each additional link from a domain has less and less value. However, don’t confuse that with no benefit. These extra links can still help you to rank; they are just less potent than the first link you get to your site from a new domain.

Link building Isn’t Dead!

If you’re not working in the SEO industry day in and day out you’ll miss the daily proclamations that SEO is dead. Meanwhile, we’re helping our clients to rank in Google and bring in thousands of extra dollars. Link building is indeed not dead now, and we’re very confident that it won’t be for decades to come.

The Google algorithm is fundamentally built on valuing incoming links, it’s what separated it from the other search engines, and therefore it’s unlikely that will disappear anytime soon. Sticking your head in the sand and pretending that link building doesn’t work is crazy, especially when other business owners are ranking and banking tens of thousands of dollars extra each month.

No-follow Links Aren’t Worthless

While it’s hard to know whether no-follow links are used in calculating the rankings, it seems fair to assume that they have some small value. This is becoming more likely in the post-Google Penguin aftermath, whereby even the most significant sites in the world like Huffington Post have started to no-follow their links.

Either way, links are designed to allow readers to get from one page to another, and the purpose of SEO is to bring people to your website. Therefore, a link has value even if it’s never seen by Google, so long as people are using it to come to your site where they might become customers.

Forum and Directory Links Aren’t ALL Spam

Link quality is more important now than it’s ever been before, but that doesn’t mean that all of the tactics that have been used in the past are spam. There has been an extreme swing to only using outreach to gain backlinks in recent years and a proclamation that forums and directories are spammy.

But this statement needs to be clarified further because while some forums and some directories might be spammy, many aren’t. Links from a moderated forum or directory can have plenty of value not least because they can drive thousands of people to your website each month. But it might also surprise you how much SEO value they can have, especially if the linking page is pinned in a prominent page only one or two hops from the homepage.

Links Gain Value Over Time

Even throw-away links from new websites can become incredibly powerful over time, which is why it’s short-term thinking to only target the largest websites. Not only do sites tend to grow, gain links and therefore pass more value over time but many experts believe links increase strength over time.

This makes sense too, why would Google value a link that’s existed for one day the same as the one that’s been there five years? The length of time a link exists should correlate to its value, primarily if a page is regularly edited. While this is somewhat speculation, we do know that pages tend to earn links over time and therefore as they gain links more of that benefit will be passed to your pages through the links.

Linking Page Relevancy is Important

It’s not just about getting as many links from as many great websites as possible, the page that is linking to yours is incredibly vital. Ideally, they are closely related as possible because this tells Google that the link is coming from somebody else who has knowledge in the field and therefore their recommendation via a link should be considered to be more valuable. As a result, you should ideally try to earn links on relevant pages not just on relevant domains.

Surrounding Text Matters

Patents that Google has filed show that they consider not only the anchor text of a link but also the words that come before and after the anchor text. This contextual text gives Google more information as to what the linking page is about and also in what context they are linking to your pages. For this reason, it’s advantageous to get links “contextually,” i.e., from within a relevant paragraph rather than by themselves on a links or resources page.

Earning Backlinks: 21 Ways to Do It Now

Earning backlinks can be a difficult task if you don’t know where to look. 

Most people don’t have a clue where to even start. 

With that said, link building doesn’t have to be a laborious task. You are able to build a strong profile of backlinks without having to spend all your time and energy. You just need to know where to look. 

So with that, here are 21 ways to get more backlinks. 

1.) Digital Business Profiles –

If you are looking to increase the mark your brand leaves online, you should create profiles on all relevant business directory sites. 

Most business profiles will include a link back to your website and help you build your links. 

Look for profiles that are related to your industry and audience, and create those profiles to get more links, as well as exposure.

2.) Resource Pages –

There are many websites of authority that keep a resource page so they can help their visitors find any additional information they are searching for. You are able to find and obtain these pages, and the process is not as complicated as you may think. 

3.) Sending  Gifts – 

Taking the time to do something as simple as sending a gift can earn you a link. Use special occasions such as holidays or big moments to send gifts, and also have a call-to-action for them to share it and link it to you in it. 

4.) Business Reviews –

For this one, you want to find websites that have done reviews on businesses like yours and contact them to do a review on you. 

If you want to give them a little incentive, that’s all on you, but it may be worth the trouble😉

5.) YouTube – 

YouTube gives you a great resource for quick and easy backlinks. 

All you need to do is set up a channel (which takes barely any time) and drop your link in the description box of your videos. 

It’s that easy!

6.) Forums –

Forums are an easy resource for backlinks and carry a lot of authority at the same time. 

You are able to get these forum backlinks set pretty quickly, but need to know where to find the higher-quality forum links.

Each forum typically has it’s own guidelines and rules, so make sure you know what these rules are and follow them. Also, be sure to focus on forums that are most relevant to your niche. 

7.) Donate –

You are able to earn backlinks by making donations. All that you need to do is find different websites in your niches that take donations and link back to sites that have made a contribution. 

It’s as simple as writing the amount you’re willing to donate and your website URL. 

8.) Contact Journalist and Bloggers – 

HARO is a great place to connect with journalists or top bloggers. 

It is a website they go to when they are searching for help on questions they need to have answered. If you are able to assist them with these questions, you get a little free press. 

You have the opportunity to get published on big news websites and magazines making HARO well worth the visit. 

It is important to know that you won’t be getting a crazy number of links on this, but the ones you do get help drive traffic as this leads to authoritative sites.  

9.) Get Interviewed – 

Online interviews are a very trendy thing right now, and also a great way to earn backlinks back to your websites. 

When you become an authority in your respected area, you will find yourself getting more and more invitations for interviews. 

If you are not at this point yet, find different places that are doing these interviews, reach out to them and mention that you are interested in doing an interview.  

10.) Write Guest Post –

When you do guest blog posts, it is a great way for you to reach new audience members that have never seen you before. 

By putting articles up on other popular websites, you are able to get your work out to new readers and gain more exposure. This helps in more ways than just a backlink. It increases your online presence and followers. 

When publishing a guest article, be sure to link your social media profiles, as if someone enjoys your post, they can easily find and follow you. 

11.) Find Broken Links and Request Links to Your Site – 

Every link on a site will originally link to another page online. However,  websites will often shift their content which causes those links to eventually break. 

When users go to these links, they come across a 404 error page that says the page no longer exists. This is fixed with broken link building and is a great way for you to gain more links. 

This process involves finding links that have broken on other relevant websites and offering the site to replace their broken link with a valid link to relevant content on your site. 

12.) Infographics –

Infographics have become a very popular way to bring traffic to your website and gain valuable backlinks. They are also a great way to show your message in a visual way making it easier for people to understand, which is why there has been such a high increase in recent years. 

Each infographic should give your audience something interesting. 

Once the infographic is complete, you are then able to share it on numerous infographic directories, on social media, as well as sharing it on your site.  

13.) Sponsor an Event – 

Sponsoring an event (in your niche) is one of the easiest ways for you to build links. 

Conferences will usually list all of their sponsors and link back to them most of the time as well. 

This may also be a great networking opportunity for you as well, as it will give you the chance to meet others in a similar niche as you.  

14.) Sponsor a nonprofit –

Sponsoring a non-profit is a great way to give back to the world. If you sponsor a non-profit, often times you will get a link back. 

You can also give them products or services for free to earn a link back as well. This way you do not even need to exchange money, just volunteer your time and services for a link. 

Many non-profits are open to this type of thing because they do not have a large budget, so reach out and give it a try.

15.) Create an interesting Case Study – 

Creating a case study is a great way to get backlinks. They are always able to bring some sort of new information to the world in their own unique way. Just make sure to ave proven data, do your research, and try doing some experimentation and test myths in your industry.  

Some things you should list while writing your case study are the challenge, background, time frame, the results, and any key takeaways you were able to get. 

16.) Skyscraper Article – 

Back in 2015, Brian Dean developed the skyscraper technique. This technique has three steps which are; Finding content that is link-worthy, create something more impressive, and sharing this work. 

To keep things simple, the skyscraper technique is a method that involves building on the top content out there and making something better. 

It is a way for you to make something bigger, and maybe even more visible compared to the other content out there. This is a great method for link building and more of that organic traffic. 

17.) Build internal links –

When you have a blog, internal links are a key factor in its success. 

When you have solid internal linking, you help your users easily find their way through your website giving them a more user-friendly experience. 

18.) Social Profiles – 

Social profiles are great because they take so little time to create. It is important to claim all your social profiles, as that will influence your SEO. 

Google has favor towards brands that are established over the other sources of content out there. 

Having links from your social profile won’t necessarily give you any links, as social media links are no-follow links, but they count as mentions. 

Google will then take your Name, Address, Website, and Phone Number of your business and takes note of these mentions. 

19.) List your site in trustworthy directories –

While there are many online directories that do not provide much value to internet users, it doesn’t mean they are all bad. 

A directory will give you a chance to have a link to your website, as well as provide helpful information for your potential customers. 

A good and trustworthy niche directory will typically be attached to informative websites for a specific industry. People will typically have an easier time finding you online when your business is listed under these directories. 

20.) White Papers –

White papers are used mostly in the world of business-to-business settings, but you don’t need to be a large corporation to add your knowledge and thoughts in the industry. 

White papers make for a great source for share value and earn valuable links.

21.) Link to others – 

Although it may take a few tries, linking to others is a good way to gain links back to you. You can do this by tagging them in social posts or other ways you find relevant. 

If your content is good enough, they may give a link back, or at least give you a shoutout introducing you to a new and greater audience. 

Thank you for reading. Hopefully, this was able to provide you with some good tips and information for buying links.

If you are looking to improve your business and generate more leads, reach out to Hook Agency. We specialize in helping companies get more traffic and lead generation through professional web design, content marketing, and SEO.

Picking the Right Agency is the Most Important Step

Finally, what you might not know about offsite SEO is that the most important thing you can do is to pick the right agency that doesn’t overcharge for SEO. It’s easy to misstep, especially if you’re doing your SEO yourself or hiring an inexperienced agency and the cost of these mistakes can be incredibly high especially when it comes to off-site SEO.

We have many years of experience helping clients in the United States and abroad to rank for competitive keywords in their industry. Through our efforts, we’ve helped them to dominate their industry, bring in more customers and turn a more substantial profit. Much of this excellent track record can be attributed to our off-site SEO work which we believe is a critical part of our overall digital marketing strategy for our customers.

What is Black Hat SEO, and How to Avoid It?

There is a world out there where anything goes, where there are no rules. 

The only goal: drive traffic to your site by any means necessary.

Welcome to the wild, wild west of search engine optimization: Black Hat SEO.

This type of SEO strategy is as ruthless as it is aggressive. It’s all about trying to deceive search engines while completely ignoring the actual audience of your site. Today, we’re going to talk about why Black Hat SEO is risky to implement, as well as some ‘gray’ SEO tactics that may work for you to improve your search rankings.

Man-In-Black-HBO
The villain in HBO’s Westworld, the Man in Black, would undoubtedly be a proponent of Black Hat SEO

Google and Bing Have Both Denounced Black Hat Techniques

The ethics of Black Hat SEO have long been debated, but most SEO experts air on the side of the practice as unethical. Getting caught implementing these shady tactics can result in getting penalties or an all-out banning from Google and other search engines. Ultimately, Black Hat SEO is good for your business in the short-term, but will only give you trouble down the road.

To make sure you’re not a black hat offender, avoid these risky Black Hat SEO techniques that Google and other algorithms look for.

Thin and Duplicated Content

Writing short, uninspired and lazy blogs and articles will do nothing but hurt your brand’s reputation. Even if you do manage to drive users to your site, once they come across your content, you’ll lose your credibility. Duplicating content so it appears on multiple pages, but with slight variations, will only do the same. Sure, it’s an easy way to implement keywords across your site, but people will quickly catch on.

High-ad-to-content ratio

South-Park-Ads
South Park recently ran an episode on the plague of spammy ads online.

An overload of ads will not only look unprofessional, but it may also trigger Google to flag your content as spam and therefore penalize you. Look, we know that ads are a great way to generate some additional revenue, but you have to find that happy medium.                   

Cloaking

In short, cloaking is altering the content that the search engine spider will see when crawling your site vs. what an actual human user will see. With this technique, you’re straight-up deceiving the search engine and this is a great way to get yourself penalized.

Buying Unrelated Links

Purchasing random links to connect to your site is risky business. Sure, we all know how important it is to have inbound links to achieve high search rankings. But if you truly want to score high with Google and Co., take pride in your site and write great content and lots of it. Also, build connections with other businesses to bring inbound links into your website organically. However, that’s not to say buying links is altogether a no-no. We’ll get into that in a second.

Hiding Text

Google-Hidden-TextIf you’re trying to bolster the number of keywords on site, hiding text and links on your pages by making them the same color as your background is just downright evil. And you will get caught.

Keyword Stuffing / Unrelated keywords

No one is going to tell you not to use plenty of keywords on your site. In fact, using keywords often and organically is a great way to generate traffic to your site. However, there is a fine line between smartly implementing keywords into your content and keyword stuffing. Imagine if I started every sentence of this blog with Black Hat SEO. Sure, I’d score highly for keywords for users searching for Black Hat SEO, but Google’s algorithm would likely deem my content as spam and I’d see that in my search result rankings.

Gray Hat SEO to Consider (Or White Hat… Depending on Who You Ask)

Between the murky Black Hat SEO and the pure White Hat SEO are search engine optimization tactics that are up in the air in terms of fair play. In other words, they are considered Gray Hat SEO. Here are a couple of these techniques that may be beneficial for your company.

Link Exchanges

Not to be confused with buying links, exchanging links is a great option for a not-so-black-hat-SEO-tactic. That is, if it’s done correctly. Work with other local businesses, particularly ones that offer products or services that are complementary to your own, and build relationships with them. You want to make sure that if you decide to link exchange with another business, that they are a good fit. Is there offering as a high of a quality as yours? Is there a price point similar? What are their values, and are they related to yours? Be careful when using this SEO technique.

Buying High-Quality Links

While some digital marketers may shake their finger at buying links, why would you not want to improve your ability to drive users to your site? If your content is reliable and useful, then you should have no problem with buying inbound links. Just make sure you don’t overload them. Check out TheHoth.com and other top-notch link buying sites if you’re serious about generating more traffic.

What Should You Do?

Obviously, we’d never recommend an SEO strategy that could lead to penalties or bans from search engines. What you should consider is what tactics will help your business thrive in the long run. Typically, that will involve solid keyword research, writing high-quality content, taking time to craft title tags and meta descriptions and overall maintaining a clean, well-performing website that looks professional.

As a digital marketing agency, Hook Agency is ready to assist you in your digital marketing needs. Reach out today and learn more about the services we provide and how we can help you reach your marketing goals.


 

Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads:
 

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Related Posts


Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

Download my E-book "WordPress Development for Noobs" for free right now:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Only the best of web design & marketing

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar

Want to hook better leads with hard-working digital marketing?


Apply for a free consultation