Black Hat SEO, like it or not, is a powerful strategy for driving a website to the top of organic searches. If black hat strategies are used correctly, they can be supplemental to white hat SEO, or replace research-based analytics and traditional SEO entirely.
As with all things, black hat SEO has both positive and negative aspects, and it is up to the individual marketer to decide whether or not black hat strategies should be utilized on a case by case basis. If black hat techniques are used carelessly, negative consequences may suddenly arise.
Pros of Black Hat SEO:
- Black hat SEO can be highly effective. It is essentially a “shortcut”. Instead of having to update a website with fresh content (or copy), webmasters can embed hidden text or stuff their website with keywords to drive up their site on the page rankings.
- Using black hat strategies is an excellent way to guarantee a fast return from an SEO “campaign”. Instead of waiting for months for linkbacks and updating content using traditional white hat methods, a black hat site will only spend a month or two in the preliminary stages before climbing to the top of search rankings. It helps to have an infrastructure of dummy blogs already, as this only speeds up the process.
- Black hat marketing is generally cheaper than running a white hat marketing campaign, since white hat campaigns depend on analytics and detailed website content. For this reason, it is usually must more expensive and less cost effective in the short term to start a white hat SEO marketing campaign.
- Black hat SEO does not depend on advanced features, stunning GUI, or expensive banner advertising to generate leads and draw in new customers, so the website can be relatively simple with keyword-stuffed copy, hidden text in div tags, and is devoid of complex features.
- Black hat strategies help contribute to a more equitable and homogenous search experience. Since black hat marketers user clever strategies to circumvent search protocol, the businesses with the greatest assets do not always necessarily show up as the top result for organic searches. If not for black hat SEO, the “average joe” would not have a chance on large search engines.
- Black hat tactics force search providers to enhance their engines and change the search experience. Because of this, companies like Google are constantly coming up with new ways to approach the idea of page rankings.
Cons of Black Hat SEO:
- Black hat SEO is a very lucrative business. While it can speed up a marketing campaign, there are also great risks involved. Penalties and consequences imposed by search providers can easily damage the reputation of a company and its products.
- Black hat tactics rely upon deception, so some webmasters are uncomfortable deploying these strategies out of an adherence to a set of moral or ethical values.
- This sort of marketing floods the internet with useless spam and needless information. White hat sites are a host to useful and unique content, while black hat sites may just be a platform to host keywords and draw in new users to affiliates or to a main business’ site.
- It is not uncommon for black hat sites to be threatened with legal action, especially if the content is recycled from another source.
- To an experienced internet user, a black hat site may appear unappealing or suspicious. This can drive away customers.
- Search providers are very accommodating to white hat sites that play by the rules the engine has set in place, but are rarely so forgiving or eager to help sites that circumvent or ignore the rules of the service. Burning bridges is rarely a good thing for business.
- Under some conditions, using black hat strategies to generate a profit from PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising can lead to heavy penalties from the ad host or even legal action. Even if the clicks are legitimate and the users are interested in the products shown, many ad services discourage their host sites from using black hat methods of advertising.