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New technologies detect black-hat SEO methods

Search engine optimization methods are divided in two categories: black hat SEO and white hat SEO. Both methods can help you to get high rankings on search engines.

However, one method is likely to get your website banned on search engines and recent developments indicate that websites that use that method will be in trouble soon.

What is white hat SEO?

white hat seoWhite hat SEO means that the webmaster doesn't try to trick search engines. White hat SEO means playing by the rules. Web pages that are created with white-hat SEO methods are beneficial to web surfers, search engines and webmasters.

What is black hat SEO?

Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. These methods include cloaking, doorway pages, hidden text, etc.

Google and other search engines have made it clear that they penalize websites that use black hat SEO methods when they detect them.

Black-hat SEO methods seem to work. So why not use them?

Some black-hat SEO methods can lead to good results. There are quite a few webmasters who obtained high rankings for their web pages although they optimized them with methods that were not approved by Google and the other search engines.

black hat SEOYou have probably also seen some web pages in the search results that looked strange or hardly related to what you've actually searched. So do black-hat SEO methods seem to work? Should you use them?

Nearly all black-hat SEO methods have been detected by search engines sooner or later. Javascript redirects or doorway pages used to work in the past but nowadays, these methods are usually the ticket to the land of banned websites.

While some cloaking methods continue to work at this time (if your competitors don't peach on you), it's likely that Google can detect them soon. The same is true for paid links. Some paid links can still not be detected by Google but it's only a matter of time until Google has the algorithms that can.

You might get in trouble even if you used black-hat methods years ago

The problem is that things that cannot be detected by Google now might be detected by Google tomorrow. And Google might also be able to find out what you did in the past.

A good example for a spam filter that also considers things that have been done in the past is the WikiScanner. WikiScanner can find manipulations that have been made in the past and it can also associate anonymous changes to the people and companies who made these "anonymous" changes.

Combine such a spam scanner which a web page archive like Archive.org and you have an easy way to track the spam history of a web page.

Things that you have done in the past might backfire on you.

Don't use black-hat SEO methods. As technical possibilities evolve, it's very likely that these methods will be detected even if you don't use them anymore. It's better to use tools that focus on white-hat SEO methods.

Websites that continue to play by the rules will have an advantage in Google's search results. In addition, there's no need to use shady techniques if you can have a white-hat SEO tool that comes with a guarantee.

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January 2008 search engine articles