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What Every Dentist Should Know about Black Hat SEO

Black Hat Dental SEOThere are two types of SEO tactics used by companies worldwide: white hat optimization and black hat optimization. While all dental websites should aim to comply with white hat best practices, black hat techniques remain all too common.

By definition, black hat search engine optimization is the use of unethical techniques to artificially boost the search rankings of a website. Black hat SEO breaks terms of use set by search engines, and can result in a penalty against your site.

If you’ve ever noticed a sharp and sudden drop in your rankings, your SEO consultant could be utilizing a black hat technique without your consent.

Common Black Hat Practices

Keyword Stuffing

Quality on-page search engine optimization is critical in the success of any dental website. One important aspect of on-page SEO is crafting unique content complete with a target keyword for each page of your site. A target keyword is a search term most relevant to your content that users are typing into Google to find you.

Let’s say you’re a dentist in Birmingham, Alabama who offers teeth whitening services. On your website, you’d probably have a page specifically detailing this service, and a great target keyword might be “teeth whitening birmingham al”. Though target keywords are critical to each page of your website, it’s important that they aren’t overused. Repeating a specific term like “teeth whitening birmingham al” too frequently in your content is called keyword stuffing and is a BIG red flag for search engines.

In fact, the target keyword of a page should never make up more than 2% of the page’s content. Not sure about your website’s keyword density? Use this free keyword density analyzer by pasting URL’s from your website.

Link Farms

Link farms, large groups of websites that interlink to one another, may be one of the oldest black hat SEO techniques still in existence today.

Typically headquartered overseas, link farms can produce hundreds, if not thousands of backlinks for websites for an incredibly low price. In the old days of SEO, thought was that the more links you had pointing to your website, the higher you could rank in search engines.

But when it comes to backlinks, quantity is second to quality. Today, search engines seem to value a single backlink from an authoritative website (such as a top dental association website) much more than 100 random backlinks created through link farming. And if Google detects a large quantity of links to your practice website from websites not relevant to your industry, you may encounter a penalty. If this happens to your site, it’s important that the links eventually be ‘pruned’, or deleted, to get rid of the inappropriate backlinks pointing to your site.

Check your website’s backlink history by using this free SEO checker.

Comment Spamming

Often requiring the use of software, the act of comment spamming involves leaving comments on various blog posts across the web, most of which are not relevant to your particular topic or industry. The idea behind comment spamming is to include a backlink to your own website in the comment to gain a lot of backlinks in a short amount of time, theoretically improving your rankings quickly.

However, search engines are smarter than this—powerhouse Google can pinpoint and devalue said links promptly, and continuing this type of SEO tactic can result in a Google penalty against your website.

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