Black Hat SEO & Content Writing: Practices to Avoid

“Black hat” is a big buzzword in search engine optimization. Let’s look into this term and how it applies to content writing: Black hat SEO refers to aggressive manipulation of search engine and SEO guidelines in order to improve a website’s search engine rankings. Such an SEO approach often prioritizes a website’s search rankings over user experience and exclusively has short-term goals for websites. Those practicing black hat SEO are likely in it for a quick buck without any thought for long-term consequences. Google and other search engines regularly hand down severe search ranking punishments to black-hat companies and websites. The topic of black hat SEO cannot be done justice in one short article. For now, the focus will be on black hat practices in content writing. For everyone fighting the good, white-hat fight, here are some bad practices to avoid: –Duplicate Content Writing. Many new content writers enter the field directly out of college. These writers are wary of the prospect of plagiarism when writing articles—and they should be.

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It is one thing to cite sources when writing content. Many content writers find it unthinkable to write an article without sources! But honest, white-hat content writers know that passing off someone else’s content writing, research, or journalism as one’s own original information is a black-hat practice that can land a writer and a website in hot water. –Keyword Stuffing. This is exactly what it sounds like: cramming an SEO article with excessive keywords. Keywords, of course, are search terms that websites are vying for—for instance, a company that sells all types of board games will likely be interested in keywords like “monopoly game” or “where to buy monopoly.” In the past, some search engines didn’t mind content articles that were essentially glorified lists of keywords. Sentences were at times disrupted by an unnecessary insertion of a keyword. But search engines are constantly adapting to prioritize user experience, and since nobody enjoys reading blocks of keywords, content articles now need to prioritize good writing! Websites are sometimes penalized for obvious keyword stuffing.

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-“Quantity over Quality” Content Writing. Most content writers do not set out to write the Great American Content Article twelve times a day. Everyone in the field has rushed to crank out an article here and there. But the practice of releasing diluted, copy-pasted caricatures of actual articles is strictly black hat. Taking bits of information from a few places and tossing it together is an example of a black hat writing practice. Bloating an article’s word count with unneeded and nonsensical words is another. Don’t do these things! Penalties for black hat SEO can be severe, so stay on the right side of SEO ethics. Write the white-hat way to produce better content and avoid any trouble!

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