What are Black Hat Link Building Strategies?
It’s no secret that link building is one of the most essential skills in all of the SEO discipline. Mastering the process of building links on the web is the culmination of a variety of capabilities: content mastery, networking, sales, digital marketing, psychology, and more.
Although it sounds like a challenge, link building is a must to generate traffic. By its very nature, link building is a challenge on its own, which is why many publishers are opting for Black Hat tactics.
Before exploring Black Hat’s strategies for link building Black, let’s take a moment to introduce what it’s all about.
The link building in a Black Hat SEO perspective
The term “Black Hat” refers to movie clichés where the Gentiles wore white and the wicked black.
Following this logic, the Black Hat link building is the process of creating links with the sole intention of fooling Google’s algorithms to obtain a better ranking.
These links are often spammy and lead to pages that are clearly not optimized for users; they exist strictly to take advantage of the weight of the link to help in the ranking of the page.
A Black Hat Back-linking strategy goes against the rules set by Google. This means that operating outside of Google’s guidelines can easily penalize your site, demote it, or exclude it altogether from the SERPs. The punishment depends on the offense, but are all to be avoided for those seeking to build an online existence over the long term. On this basis, let’s explore the current Black Hat link building strategies that expose you to Google’s penalties.
While the very essence of Black Hat SEO is looking for new ways to “thwart the system”, there are a variety of unsavory link building tactics that can cause your site to be penalized by Google:
1. Comments on blogs
Black Hat comments on blogs are about mass-creating comments with links to content spinning sites. Comments tend to add a null value to the overall conversation and are often displayed on sites that do not have moderators. They are usually easy to spot because there are often lots of other comments of the same kind that are also filed in the same place.
2. Wiki links
A few years ago, a popular tactic of building Black Hat links was to use software that would create pages on wiki sites with links to a web page.
Generally, the pages created by these platforms were often of poor quality and were not maintained by anyone, which meant that they simply consisted of spinning content quickly detectable by Google.
Bookmarks are considered as links on websites like Reddit or Stumbleupon that allow people to post a link with a short description. While there is nothing wrong with that in general, black hat specialists have used digital tools to generate massive amounts of bookmarks to publish on all sorts of bookmarking sites; not only the most famous ones.
Due to the nature of the sites on which these bookmarks were published, site owners usually paid the price.
4. Paid links
During the golden age of Black Hat (and even today, but to a lesser extent), there were plenty of sites dedicated to selling links based on their PageRank. Many of these sites operated in an auction format, with the best links going to the highest bidder.
These days, Google is focusing on a thorough study to identify and devalue paid links.
If you buy a link on a site today, make sure it has a “nofollow” tag to inform Google that you are not trying to increase your ranking with this method.
5. Links in a forum user profile
This method exploits the software to create different fake accounts on a myriad of forums while placing links to the user’s website in the profile description.
These accounts are an extremely easy and effective way to generate thousands of backlinks. Today, however, Google rarely indexes these types of links and has established a method to depreciate their value.
6. “Web 2.0” profile links
The term “Web 2.0” is used to characterize sites that allow users to create new pages with unique URLs.
This is essentially the same tactic used in building links on forums using only more reputable destinations.
While there is nothing wrong with doing this naturally, when hundreds or thousands of fake accounts are created to create links, Google tends to notice it.
The consequences of a Black Hat strategy for building links
If your brand is found guilty of violating Google’s instructions to webmasters, you may be penalized by the search engine. The gravity of the transgression will eventually dictate the severity of the punishment. These penalties could last a few weeks, a few months or until the problem is corrected. It’s important to remember the rules, because in the worst case, your site may even be banned from the Google search engine for life.
In the end, Black Hat link building methods usually do not pay. The risk far exceeds the reward; especially if you are trying to build a real business online and over the long run. If you are trying to create a reputable brand, follow today’s best practices for linking and continue to optimize your content.