Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just Say No To Black Hats

"If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.” ~ Yoda, a fictional character from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Do you remember those spam emails that used to come around saying that you could buy a CD of one million email names for $99?

All opt in buyers... Yeah, right.

I’ve always told people that if it sounds too good to be true that’s because it is. You can't cut corners in marketing. It’s hard work to build a good list and a high ranking website. No getting around that.

Yet people try. They try everyday. They all fail.

Sure you can fool the engines - for a while - but those short term gains become long term losses.

Take for example "keyword stuffing" ...this is the idea of loading one of your landing pages with keywords in an attempt to manipulate your ranking in Google's search results. The "clowns" who do this use hidden text and links to jump above the competition instead using useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.


I know black hatters who have done this going back years. While some were caught immediately, other profited. Today… I can tell you they are ALL out of business.

Don’t be that marketer.

CVoD is all about creating value. Real content for real people. I have learned over the past 9 years how to successfully work the system… not work against it. The fact is you can’t beat City Hall!

Translation: You can’t fool Mother Google!

If someone in your office wants to do black hat tricks like hidden text or links... kick him in the arse and send him on his way. I’m serious.

Don’t enter the dark side of web marketing… don’t put on the black hat.

To better educate you as to what NOT TO DO let's talk about some of the black hat techniques… you just have to promise me never to do them… promise?

Good… I am going to limit this discussion to hiding text and/or links.

First off, hiding text or links in your content will 100% cause your site to be perceived as untrustworthy. Why?

Because it presents information to search engines differently than to visitors, and that’s a Google no-no. Where’s the value? What have you created for the visitor?

Zip, Nada... ‘Nuttin honey. It’s pure manipulation and it doesn’t help answer a query.

What do I mean by hidden text and links?

You can load a page with multiple keywords by creatively hiding them on a landing page. This can be accomplished a couple different ways... using white text on a white background, putting text behind an image, using CSS to hide text, and/or setting the font size to 0.

You can hide links by putting the link in hidden text (the text color and background color are identical), using CSS to make tiny hyperlinks, as little as one pixel high, and/or putting a link in a small character, (a hyphen in the middle of a paragraph.)

Clever, eh?

Yeah, like watching a car crash.

The marketer that does this, is the marketer that get his site removed from the Google index. If that is your goal – then go for it.

For me… I am here to create value.

Let me repeat this again... if Google perceives that your site contains hidden text and/or links your site will be removed from the index, and will not appear in search results pages. It’s plain and simple.

There is no gray area here – just black and white. If your site has links and/or text that a visitor can’t see or is there solely for search engines – then you’re going to be banned by Google.

If you have this on your site now fix it. Remove any hidden text and/or links ASAP or, make them easily viewable.

Oh... AND if you get banned from Google... you can submit your site for reconsideration... but come on... do you really want to have to do that?

Is a quick high ranking worth losing your business?

Absolutely not... it's about creating value or die - not cheap tricks and dying.