What exactly is SEO?
Ask google and it’ll tell you something like “It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.”…well thats a terrible description of SEO, so we better dig in and really explain why this “SEO” is so powerful, how it works & the dark side of it’s technology.
To understand why SEO is so important, we must look back at the 90’s boom of technology. Back in the 90’s the idea of “owning” a piece of the internet was not held to much value. Purchasing a domain was clunky, websites loaded slow, “web design” looked like a blocky mess of information. As time went on and the market started to see big business in reaching millions of users online. This brought on investors ready to spend big to get sites like yahoo public. There is a story in my family about a friend who passed on a 100k investment into Google before its IPO. That’s a hard story to tell, but for every successful company we know 100’s who crashed with multi million dollar losses. With all the money being spent on getting “online traffic” both Google, Yahoo, Ask, etc all had to refine the ways they pulled results for their user base. This is where the battle for clean, useful, organic search results started and has continued to rage on. Through computer algorithms search engines crawl millions of sites a minute and place them accordingly to their content.
The Dark Side
Like anything, with time there have been those who’ve learned to take advantage of Google’s ranking algorithms. In the early years of Google’s growth a few of us knew that with enough keywords we could take over the web with unstoppable ranking power!!…It didn’t take long for google to realize their own systems were being tricked into providing traffic to specific networks of sites that had figured out things worked. It did however take Google much longer than we all thought to start actively fighting the slew of spammy, blackhat sites that had crept up to the tops of important keyword search terms. This may have been in part due to the slow growth of “advanced” coding technology and computing power. Never the less, if we fast forward to 2011, Google had found ways to clean their digital streets of a lot of the junk sites and rankings. Since then, the race has been on for a certain group of online marketers to find both black & white ways of getting websites ranked.
So it’s 2015, Google has some of the most advanced algorithms every created controlling its rankings system. A few years back the “bots” (as we will call them) started learning things like human interaction with web design. This led to new “standards” that would be applied to sites as the bots passed through. Things like large images blocking out possible text space, long tail keyword piling, and less appealing layouts where put on the chopping block and de-ranked so many sites it left the online marketing industry scrambling to explain why their $10k per month work load just flew out the window.
A hilarious highlight of all this mess was front and center in 2012 when JC Penny’s was literately smacked all the way down the rankings, after Google discovered their extremely vast array of spam zombie sites holding up their rankings (We will ignore the fact Google put them right back up after a huge amount of marketing dollars were spent in Google Adwords).
Does BlackHat Work?
So if blackhat SEO is so bad, why are people still doing it? The truth is, for all of the tactics that Google isnt aware of yet, blackhat SEO’s are still ruling their rankings. If advanced blackhat tactics didn’t work, nobody would waste time doing them. So yes, we are saying with some special tactics & tricks, blackhat is alive and well. Below we will highlight some ways you can quickly ruin your site’s ranking with out-dated tactics.
Infographic: Harmful BlackHat SEO Tactics
And now a poorly designed infographic! Why not use a crappy infographic to represent the worst Blackhat seo tactics that will actually kill your site rankings. 10 years ago these tactics would have made you the best ranked site on the web, but today you’ll be lucky to last six months before Google knocks you completely out of the search results.