SEO: Black and White Hats – What Are They?

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Today we are going to discussSEO: Black and White Hats.

"What are they?" Hi, I'm Mark Steinbrueck, and this is KurtSteinbrueck.

We're with OurChurch.

Com, and on this video we're going to talk about "SEO:Black and White Hats – What Are They?" This seems pretty scary, Kurt.

(laughs) Veryscary.

Black hat, what is black hat SEO? Well, theterm "black hat," just so you know, is really a reference to the old TV Westerns where thebad guy would always wear a black hat, and a white hat for the good guy.

So that's whatit's referring to, people breaking the rules and all this kind of stuff, to try to getahead in the search engines.

Generally speaking, there's usually nothingmorally or ethically wrong with what's going on.

If you're hacking people's sites, okay,that's an issue.

But usually it's more of a risk-reward type thing.

The real risk hereis that these are things that the search engines have said, "Look, if you do these things,we're basically going to treat you like you're trying to manipulate us, and we're just goingto either penalize you or kick you out.

" So imagine your site no longer in Google, andwhat that will do to your site.

That's the risk that you're taking with these things.

Personally, I think they're things to avoid.

The trick is that they're also things thattend to work, and that's really the seduction of it, right? If it didn't work, then nobodywould even try to do it.

But they do work, and so people are lured into doing it becauseyou can usually get quicker results, better results sometimes.

It's just, if they findyou, you lose everything.

That's the risk that you take.

It's kind of like if you cheat on a test.

If you can get it away with it and you haveall the answers, you got 100 on the test.

That's great.

Take the morals out of it.

(laughs)But if the teacher comes by and sees you with your little sheet, then you failed the test,you got a zero, and probably — Kicked out of school.


You'll get in trouble with your parents, all that kind of stuff.

So that's really whatwe're talking about.

We're going to look at some of the specific things with black hat.

It's not everything, but it's just something to give you an idea of some of the major thingsto look out for.

The first one is keyword stuffing.

What this is, usually it happens when somebody realizes that they can rank better in thesearch engines because they used keywords on their site, and then they just went overboard.

They took it too far.

So either they've just created a block of text that just had everykeyword they could think of, and they stuck it on the bottom of their page, or maybe theyused one keyword but they kept adding more and more and more and more.

Sometimes it's even a gradual thing.

You started out and you're like, "Well, I'm not doingtoo well for this keyword, so I'm going to add it in on my page," and then, "I'm stillnot doing as well, so I'm going to add it a few more times," and then after a few timesof doing that, all of a sudden you realize, "I've got this one keyword on here 50 times,"and it's not natural at all.

It doesn't make any sense.

So when you're just shoving all these keywords in, that's something that the search engineslook for, and they can certainly penalize you for it.

Another thing is what's calledcloaking.

Cloaking is basically any time that you showthe search engines different content than what you're showing users.

This can be donein a couple of different ways.

One way is there's HTML little coding tricks where youcan actually determine if the person viewing your site is a Google bot or a person, likea real person or is it a search engine robot, and deliver different content.

So you're showingthe search engines one thing, you're showing the people another thing.

Sometimes this is done for semi-legitimate reasons.

Maybe you want to show people somethingthat looks like graphics, and the search engines can't read that, so you're like "I'll justshow the search engines all this real content, but the people I want to show graphics.

" Searchengines still don't like it, even if you think that there's a legitimate reason to do it.

Sometimes it's a very illegitimate reason, and we've had people who showed content tothe search engines that was maybe about automotive stuff, and then the people go and click onthe link and it's a gambling site or something.

It's just completely different.

So whetherit seems legitimate or not, you really want to be showing the search engines the samecontent that you're showing people.

That's what they want you to do, and that's how youshould do it.

There's two other ways that people cloak Iwant to mention, because these are actually more common.

One is to try to hide text bymaking it the same color as the background.

So you're like, "Okay, I don't really wantto show people this really optimized text that has all my keywords in it, so I'm goingto make it so they can't see it because it's the same color as the background, but thesearch engines will still be able to read it.

" Well, search engines can read colorstoo, so they know when you're doing that.

The other thing is to hide it behind imagesand things like that, so you put the text in there, then use some little coding trickso that an image is displayed on top of it.

That's another thing.

They can usually detectthat as well.

But just don't try to hide content.

Don't try to cloak things like that.

That'sbad news.

Another thing that happens is buying links.

Buying links is a pretty popular thing to do for a black hat thing, because links arereally very important in SEO.

When we first started out with search engines, everyonewas kind of trading links, because they found that that could help.

Then the search enginessaid, "We're not going to count those anymore.

" So then people started buying links.

Thisis something that the search engines really started to crack down on.

There are ways todo it, because there are legitimate reasons to buy links, but if you don't follow themethods and the standards that the search engines give, then they'll see it as you'retrying to manipulate their rankings.

Basically they say mark the links by identifyingthem as a paid link.

Just having something sponsored or whatever on it.

And then alsoadding a nofollow tag.

So if you do those, then they're fine with it, because you'rebeing open with them.

You're saying, "Look, I bought these links, but I'm not trying tomess with your rankings at all.

I want this because I wanted that link there.

" They'refine with that.

But if you start to do it without those things, then they're going tolook at it as you're trying to manipulate things and they can punish you.

They can alsopunish the site that's selling you those links.

Yeah, that's the interesting thing, is they'lltarget both the selling site as well as the buying site and penalize both of you.

Yeah, so it's dangerous for both.

And buying links is really:Just one of many Linking Schemes.

That's the next thing.

It's kind of an all-inclusiveconcept, but there's just a lot of link schemes out there, things that people try to comeup with to get links that are not legitimately gotten.

They're not really people saying,"Hey, I love this content on this site so I'm going to link to it," it's just otherways of getting links.

Sometimes it's spammy blog comments.

We seethat a lot.

I have a couple of blogs, and I'm constantly deleting those.

Sometimes peoplewill create forum profiles, not to actually do anything on the forum; they just createthe profile and put a link on there.

There are things called link pyramids wherethey create all these spammy links and they go through all these different sites thatlink to each other and link to each other, and they end up with a couple of sites atthe bottom that then link to your site.

The idea is that somehow the search engines won'tlook far enough down the pyramid to realize that all these spammy links are really justdirected at your site.

They can figure that out.

So there's just a lot of things like that that you have to watch out for.

A lot of times,the people that are offering these things are not very forthcoming about that, so whenyou're talking to someone about a link opportunity, if you will, a lot of times if you start hearingthings like, "Hey, we've put these things in place to protect you or to buffer you fromthe link building strategies that we're doing," that should tell you that what they're doingis something that could get you in trouble.

Yeah, that's a red flag.


If you're doing legitimate link building, you don't have to buffer.

You don't have toprotect yourself.

You want the search engines to know those links are coming from you.


I think it brings up a good point that if an organization that does SEO for you isengaging in the black hat SEO practices, they don't have anything to worry about.

It's allgoing to come back on you, the website owner, or the website itself.

So if your websitewere to get caught and banned or penalized, it's not going to have any effect on the companythat's performing that.

And you may or may not have known that they were engaging inthese kind of practices, so it's very important for you to try to listen, as Kurt said, verycarefully to the practices that they do.

Really, when it comes down to it, those kindof practices, those black hat techniques, will only work in the short-term, becauseGoogle and Yahoo and Bing have thousands of people that are paid to go out and manuallylook at websites that are doing these kind of things, that are hiding text or engagingother kind of black hat practices.

So they are very good at doing what they do, verygood at finding people or websites that are engaging in these kind of practices, and soit is a very short-term gain that you will get, and as a result you could have some verylong-term problems.

Yeah, absolutely.

There were some recent updateswhen Google was going against a lot of these things, there were a lot of companies thatlost everything.

And one other link scheme that I want to mention, just because it'sbeen pretty popular lately, is something called private blog networks, which are basicallya network of thousands of blogs that you can buy into, and you then submit your own content,if you will, that can have some of your links on it.

The blogs are not really intended for users.

They try to tell you to put in legitimatecontent and everything, but generally speaking, it's usually a lot of spammy stuff that justhas links.

But it's something that the search engines have very specifically said "Don'tdo this.

" They've actually taken down several of the private blog networks.

They have penetratedthem and figured out what they all are and just wiped them out.


So it's something to avoid.


So as a summary, SEO: Black and White Hats – What Are They? And the mortal sinsto avoid are keyword stuffing, cloaking, buying links, and just overall link schemes.

As Kurt mentioned before, these are just a few of the many different things, black hattechniques that people engage in to try to gain the system that you should try to avoid.

We want to thank you for taking the time to watch this video.

I hope that it has beeninformative.

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