“Black hat SEO” is a term that’s been used to describe unethical SEO practices for years now. Years ago, Google made it clear that black hat SEO could get your site banned from search, because Google felt that these practices were attempting to exploit Google algorithms, or that users would be unhappy with the results that these practices would create. Today, ethical SEO is more important than ever – Google continues to tweak its algorithms, and an update to its Webmaster Guidelines at the end of July makes it clear that some of the less-than-ethical practices will no longer be tolerated.
Borderline SEO Practices from a Few Years Ago are Now Over the Line
For a while now, there have been clear rules against things like link-buying and automated content creation. These practices could hurt your Google rank, at best, or get your site banned from search, at worse. With the July 29 update, though, Google has added some language to “known” rules that make it even clearer that these borderline practices are now big no-nos.
- No link buying or automated content creation
- Advertorials will be viewed as paid links, and devalued
- Avoid links with optimized anchor text
- Linking schemes can get you in serious trouble
The words that really describe what Google is looking out for are things like: “excessive,” “large-scale” and “low-quality.” If your site has been employing techniques that could be described in these ways, you might have a problem.
Ethical SEO Still Passes Muster
If you’ve been using only ethical SEO practices, your site will probably still pass muster. Google wants to make it easy for users to find the results that will really answer their queries and solve their problems. If your SEO is targeted with this result in mind, and employs only ethical techniques, you have nothing to worry about. If you’re trying to manipulate search results using unethical techniques, though, Google’s algorithm updates may hurt your site results – or get you banned from search altogether.