In 2019, every successful online marketing strategy will include SEO.  SEO is short for “search engine optimization,” the practice of influencing search engine algorithms to rank pages high in SERPs (search engine results pages).  A high SEO rank is necessary for brands to reach their target audiences.

There are two types of SEO: white hat SEO and black hat SEO.  White hat SEO utilizes ethical SEO tactics, including relevant linking and keyword usage.  Search engines recognize these practices and rank web pages that partake in them higher.  Black hat SEO, on the other hand, attempts to manipulate search engine algorithms.  Black hat SEO includes cheap tricks such as hidden text, cloaking, and keyword stuffing to win that higher rank.

Below, we’ve listed three reasons your brand must avoid black hat SEO:

  • You’ll Lower Your SEO Rank Search engine technology is now so sophisticated that search engines actually lower the ranks of pages that use black hat SEO.  Some search engines even blacklist pages found utilizing black hat SEO so that they don’t appear in SERPs.  You can ensure your brand’s website doesn’t incorporate any black hat SEO tactics by regularly checking your links, checking all of its text, and counting your pages’ keywords.
  • Consumers Recognize Black Hat SEO Tricks Consumers are tech-savvy.  Many understand basic SEO strategies and know the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO.  Even less tech-savvy consumers can recognize obvious tricks such as cloaking and irrelevant links.  When consumers recognize your pages are pitfalls of black hat SEO, they will – at best – assume your brand is unprofessional and avoid it.
  • Other Brands Recognize Black Hat SEO Tricks Brands are even more tech-savvy than consumers, thanks to marketing teams that are dedicated to understanding SEO.  Brands that find black hat SEO tricks on your brand’s site will not only deem your brand unprofessional.  They will deem it unreliable and avoid linking to your website or recommending you to consumers and colleagues.

Black hat SEO is no joke.  Taking part in it can – and will – hurt your website’s ranking and your brand’s reputation.  Take every measure you can to ensure your brand incorporates healthy online marketing strategies in 2019 and beyond.