Ethics in business can be quite a hot topic. These days, it’s so easy for a single social media post complaining about a business’s bad practices to be shared and spread like wildfire.
Even those in the B2B community are not exempted from this. One must keep to legitimate and honest methods with their work to have the best reputation.
Oftentimes it is better to take the long road and have a clean image than to become lucrative through questionable means.
Working in the search engine optimization industry exposes one to the so-called three hats of SEO: White hat, gray hat, and black hat. Practicing the latter, in particular, is considered unethical and is not condoned by search engines.
Black hat SEO methods such as cloaking and keyword stuffing are well known. Link building also has its share of unethical methods, but what are they? Here are some of the best known techniques:
One way to influence page rankings is to buy links from a website with a higher rank. Back in the day, there were sites with the sole purpose of link selling and there were even people who bid on links. Eventually, search engines like Google decided to put a stop to this by devising ways to find bought links and bring their value down, or even give them a penalty.
For some SEO experts, link buying is a perfectly fine practice as long as you don’t get caught. But it’s always best to stick to more honest ways, right?
Fake Profiles and Spamming
People on blogs and forums are very well acquainted with spam comments. Many SEO companies use fake profiles on Disqus, Quora, forums, and other websites for the sole purpose of advertising posts with links directing to their client’s website. Some have even created programs to automate this process, causing much trouble for website owners and bloggers. A few methods have been devised to counter spamming, such as captchas and spam detecting plugins. While not a perfect method, it has certainly helped reduce the amount of spamming online.
To be fair, commenting on blogs and forums isn’t a bad practice in itself. It just has to be relevant to the topic at hand and helpful as well.
This is perhaps one of the, if not THE, most malicious method in black hat SEO. This technique involves hacking into websites in order to add links. Link builders who employ this tactic search for susceptible sites. Sometimes they even target entire hosting servers. They then hack into them and add links or sometimes whole directories. The best of these hackers are so good at being sneaky that a site owner might never even discover that their site was hacked in the first place.
Using these black hat techniques can be very tempting especially for clients who want “fast” results in their SEO. This is because white hat techniques like creating good content do take a lot of time and effort. But in the end, using what is appropriate will have permanently positive effects for a website. If a company wants to offer quality link building services, then their best bet is to stick to the narrow path of white hat SEO.