As black hat SEO continues to decline, many people may be wondering, does black hat SEO still work in 2016? The quick answer is definitely YES, black hat SEO does certainly still work in 2016. I can also safety predict that black hat SEO will still work in 2017, 2018, and beyond.
The simple fact is this… As long as Google operates on a computer algorithm, people will figure out how to trick that algorithm. While search engines like Google have made it more difficult to game their algorithm, black hat methods do still work and certain black hat SEO methods will not be going anywhere for a long time.
Let’s get into a little more detail about what black hat SEO methods still work. I’ll also discuss why I don’t waste my time on those methods even though they do work, along with the alternatives that I prefer to use in order to rank my many websites in search engines such as Google.
Private Blog Networks Still Work In 2016
Almost since the beginning, Google has used inbound links as a ranking factor for websites. At first, it was rather simple. Every link to your website was considered a “vote” by Google. The more links (votes) you had, the more likely you would rank well in search results. Google would also use the anchor text in those links to determine what you should rank for in terms of specific searches. For example, if you had 150 links pointing to your site with the word “weight loss” but a competitor of yours had 1,000 links containing the same text, chances are your competitor would rank above you.
These days, it’s not so simple. The Google Penguin update changed everything in terms of links as a ranking factor. Instead of the quantity of links being a ranking factor, Google has moved much more strongly towards quality. Having a lot of low quality links can actually harm your site in search engines. So, if your competitor has 1,000 spammy links with the term “weight loss” but you have 2 links with “weight loss” it might seem like your competitor will rank higher. However, let’s say your links are on the homepage of two high profile government or educational sites. Chances are, you would rank higher.
So, a huge black hat SEO strategy in 2016 will be the continuation of private blog networks. Website owner will create their own network of blogs and rank their big money maker websites using those private networks. That way, Google will not catch on that it is a linking scheme at all. Of course, certain measures need to be taken in order to sustain a private blog network, which is why I don’t use them. I’ll get into more detail…
Why I Don’t Use Private Blog Networks For SEO – When done right, private blog networks can be extremely powerful. The problem is, Google has gotten pretty good at detecting these networks. In order to get away with it, one must create at least 10 high quality blogs with unique content that provides real value. That in itself is very time consuming and/or expensive to do. In addition, each site must be registered under false whois data. Even setting the whois data as private will not work since Google is a domain registrar themselves and has access to such information, even when set to private. All sites must also be on different registrars and accounts to avoid duplicate IP address issues. You must also use programs to hide your tracks as Google can see which sites you access. Once a pattern is recognized, Google could pounce.
There are many, many other considerations when building a private blog network. The fact is, yes, these private blog networks do work when done right, but they become so time consuming and expensive to maintain that you might as well just spend that time and money into making your main money site great. It is also a bad long-term strategy as Google is getting better and better at catching those who use private blog networks. You might be able to get away with it in 2016, but eventually, it will probably catch up to you.
Negative SEO Will Still Work In 2016
Negative SEO is probably the worst form of black hat SEO. It is extremely unethical, but unfortunately, it does work. The premise of negative SEO isn’t to prop up your own site, but to destroy your competitors rankings. Essentially, if you wanted to use negative SEO, you would start purchasing lots of spammy links, by the thousands, and pointing them to your competitor. Eventually, Google will pick up on these spammy links and penalize your competitor for unnatural links to their site. It is relatively inexpensive to do this and the results can be crippling.
Why I Don’t Use Negative SEO Practices – Aside from the unethical nature of negative SEO, I never see my competition as enemies. Many times, I actually work with my competition. For example, many might consider Affilorama to be a competitor of mine, but in reality, we have a great working relationship. I am not focused on destroying anyone else’s online business. I am more focused on making mine the best. Unfortunately, we will continue to see negative SEO attacks happen in 2016.
Content Scrapers And Stolen Content As A Black Hat SEO Method
Some of the more technically savvy black hat SEOers use content scrapers to steal your content and post it on their own sites. For the most part, this is rather harmless. However, sometimes it can pose an issue. If you post content and immediately it gets stolen and posted on another site, Google may crawl the other site first and think you are actually the one who stole the content, thus crushing any chance for that article to rank highly in search results. If this happens to you, it is important to file complaints with Google and also file a DCMA complaint.
Why I Don’t Use Content Scrapers – I have no interest in stealing others peoples content, nor do I believe doing so is a good long term business strategy.
Hacking As A Black Hat SEO Technique
Websites are hacked all the time. In fact, a few of my sites have been hacked in the past and it’s a mess. Sometimes the hacking is obvious because your site will be taken completely down or infected with so much malware that virus scan software will alert you to the threat immediately. Other times, the hacking can be much more subtle. For example, someone could hack into your site for the sole purpose of secretly placing a link back tot their site on a high ranking page. They could also insert code into a specific page or even site wide to block search engines spiders from crawling your site properly. Once a hacker gets into the backend of your site, quite a bit of damage could be caused.
Why I Don’t Use Hacking – Aside from the fact I’m just not technical enough to pull that off, there are obvious ethical issues with breaking into someone else’s virtual business.
Alternatives To Black Hat SEO Methods In 2016
Ethical issues aside, the biggest reason I don’t use black hat SEO techniques is because I’ve found there to be plenty of white hat SEO alternatives. They take about the same amount of time to accomplish and give very good LONG TERM results. For each of the above black hat SEO strategies, I’ll get into what I do instead.
Alternatives To Private Blog Networks – Instead of spending so much time maintaining and investing into private blog networks, I simply focus more of my time and energy on my own sites. I make content likable and linkable. It gets shared on social media and naturally gets shared across the web, including on other peoples blogs and websites. When this occurs naturally, the results can often be astounding. I also enjoy doing outreach with bloggers and site owners in my own niche topics. By making friendly contacts in a community of others who own websites and blogs in the same niche, competitors can become assets through win/win partnerships. This beats private blog networks any day of the week.
Alternatives To Negative SEO – While I believe negative SEO is incredibly unethical, I do get competitive and I do want to be the best. In order to accomplish this, I look at what my competitors are doing very closely. When I see things they are doing well, I incorporate that into my own business. I might go after keywords they are ranking for, use tactics and techniques they use, and even get ideas by discovering helpful sections of their site and doing something similar on mine. I also pay very close attention to what they are not doing well and I exploit that to the max. I simply make my site better and better, to the point where nobody can compete with me. I’m relentless, and that’s how I ultimately win. I don’t see a need for sabotage when I know I can win by being better.
Alternatives To Content Scrapers – I do admit that I love to write, so for me creating content is not much of a struggle. With that said, I have enough websites now that I need help. While using a content scraper would be faster and easier, I outsource quite a bit of content these days. Getting help from professional freelance writers has been a godsend. For me, investing profits back into my business by having more content created than I can do myself is running a real business. Stealing content may work for a while, but it is not a sustainable long-term strategy.
Alternatives To Hacking – I could never get into the business of hacking other peoples websites. It’s unethical and getting caught can mean jail time in some cases. If I see a site that I really want a link on, I make contacts. I try to come up with a win-win situation where we could help each other out. Sometimes I get a link and sometimes I don’t, but I almost always am able to form a good relationship with people who others would consider competitors. This has worked to my advantage in some very serious ways. Sure, hacking can sometimes get you want you want through brute force, but I find that working with others allows me to sleep well at night and get mostly the same benefits.
Some Final Thoughts
Yes, black hat SEO will still work in 2016. Many of the black hat SEO methods that will work best are methods me and you can’t even think of. They are methods that smart individuals will come up with, but unfortunately their smarts are being used in a bad way. Even if you do find a black hat SEO method that works well for you in 2016, you are not actually building a real and sustainable business. Eventually the house of cards will come crashing down and you’ll be left with nothing.
Heck, maybe I’m wrong? Maybe you’ll find a black hat SEO method hat works wonders not only in 2016 but for many more years to come. In that case, you are one of the lucky few. But do you really want to take that chance? Do you really want to be one of the “fortunate” black hat SEOers that succeeds, when you can also succeed by doing things ethically?
The decision is ultimately yours, but I strongly urge anyone who is considering using black hat SEO strategies in 2016 to simply do what you know is right. Build a real business in a real, legitimate way. You might be surprised at how well it actually works.
In short, black hat SEO will be a bigger waste of time in 2016 as it was in 2015. If you’re still under the impression that black hat SEO is a better way to run your business, more power to ya. I, for one, will have no part in it.
What do you think? Am I way off base here? Whether you agree or disagree with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to speak your mind in the comment section below.