Avoid This Black-hat Tactic
Search engine optimization is an industry that is constantly evolving. What was once considered best practice can become ineffective and even harm your ranking a short month later. As a rule though, most methods that produce a quick boost are often harmful in the long term. These quick boost methods are generally referred to as “black-hat tactics”.
There is a new black-hat tactic that is threatening legitimate SEO professionals and seriously damaging sites’ search engine ranking. Below is a description of how the black-hat SEO tactic can reverse good links that took years to build:
- An e-mail is sent to website owners. Seemingly from a company that operates within the same area, asking the site-owner to remove or change every outbound link. That is, links from their site to the other company to ensure that neither are penalized for a linking scheme.
At first glance, the e-mail looks legitimate. However, instead of a sender e-mail address like email@example.com, the sender address was firstname.lastname@example.org which was inconsistent with any of the other branding or information in the rest of the e-mail. Someone was trying to persuade the website owners into removing solid, legitimate backlinks in order to hurt their rankings and improve someone else’s.
It’s a simple con:
- Someone cannot get their website into top rankings because someone with good, quality content is in the way.
- The con’s goal is to bring down the quality site’s rankings down to make room for their lower quality site.
- All the good links in the good site are identified and the webmasters contacted to remove their good links under false pretenses.
- When the good links are removed, the quality website loses its great position.
This can hurt our clients as well as the industry’s reputation. Negative connotations and misinformation make every SEO professional or agency look bad. You’ve heard the expression, “One bad apple can spoil the bunch”. The same idea applies here—when black-hat tactics are used to sabotage genuine success, and undo all of the hard work we and every other SEO professional does. We try to educate our clients as to best practices and to be vigilant. Not only do we have to worry about keeping our own strategies legitimate in the ever-evolving world of SEO algorithm changes. Now, we also have to be on guard against nefarious efforts from competitors.
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