People still think that they can get away with using little SEO tricks to help rank their pages. Even though these tricks are not specifically known as Black-Hat SEO, Google, Bing/Yahoo will track you down and you might be penalized.

1 – Small text that appears on the search engine results

When your website is listed on the search engine results pages, it sometimes shows your Meta description, but more often than not it will show things that are on your website itself. This is not good news for people who have very well-designed but fairly text-free websites. The answer to this is to write an introduction at the very top of the page, but this often messes up the design. So some people will write a very small introduction at the top (font size 8 or less) so that it does not affect the design and so that a few keywords may be added. Sadly, however, Google views this as cheating and will penalize your website for it.

2 – Buying links and social media markers

Buying links is silly because Google has tabs on all the people that are selling them, and will punish the websites of those who buy from them. For the sake of this article, a social media marker involves all types of social media functions, such as “Likes”, G+1, shares, Tweets, Re-Tweets, etc. Buying these is actually a waste of time for the same reason that buying links is a waste of time. The people at Google know about this trick and have altered their search engine algorithm to detect it.

3 – Manual spamming with varied and spun comments

We all know that spamming is a bad thing, and that Google is aware of its presence. But, some people get around this by coming up with a big list of comments (roughly 30 to 80 words) and then copy/pasting them onto comment sections. Doing this means that a person may indiscriminately post comments onto almost any comment section, without duplicating the same comments over and over again. Doing this will help you to get around the spam-bot filters, as well as Google duplication rules, allowing people to pseudo-spam.

Some people will even take a pre-made comment that they wrote, and then spin it three or four times so that it says the same thing but in different ways. The people who use these techniques think that they have found a way to circumvent Google rules on spamming, but they are mistaken. Repeat–this does not work.

It is the fastest way to have your website experience hundreds of broken links to your site. The links will last between a day and two months. The backlinks that you point at your website, from the comment sections, are broken in such high numbers that Google will figure out what you are up to, and will start lowering your search engine ranking as a precaution (they may even “Sandbox” your website). There are also anti-spam tools that record your online dealings and will block your comments from even being listed, never mind being administered.

4 – Spamming keywords in the ALT text of your images

People think they are being clever because nobody can see the ALT text if the image loads, but Google knows that people cheat like this, and will penalize your site for it.

5 – Offering people an incentive to link to you

This is a mistake if you write it on your website, social media, or anywhere that a search engine may crawl. If you are going to use this (naughty) little trick, then do it via private messages. For example, add a line into your newsletter emails that gives people an incentive to link to you.

People think that they can get away with offering an incentive to link to them because Google is a search engine, and therefore cannot read and understand what is being said. But, Google knows better! Maybe they do it with administrators, or maybe their search engine picks up on certain strings of words. However they do it, you should know that offering incentives to link to you is against Google rules, and they will penalize your website for it.

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