If your auto repair shop already has a website and an online marketing strategy set up, chances are you might have heard of something called “black hat” SEO from your web marketing team. “Black hat” refers to SEO techniques that are non-standard, unfair, and outlawed by most major search engines.
Not only are many black hat techniques banned by search engines, but they are unethical. Black hat techniques not only unfairly outpace the competition, but they dupe website visitors into thinking that the content is much better than it actually is.
Some Black Hat Techniques
- Keyword Stuffing: Tons of keywords- and not much else- on a website. Not only is this terrible content for visitors to read, but search engines are now able to pick up on it and will penalize websites that do this.
- Cloaking: A technique where website content appears differently to the user and the search engine crawlers.
- Hidden Text: Text that is “hidden”, usually white text on a white background. Visitors can’t see it, but search engine crawlers can. This technique aims to attract more crawlers to the site.
- Duplicate content: Content copied from another website, with or without permission, to increase the number of visitors.
A black hat site may climb to the top of search engine results pages quickly, but it is really only a matter of time before it is removed once the search engines find out. If your site is removed because of this, there is a very good chance the penalties will damage both your online and offline reputation and hurt your business.
What happens if your website is discovered to be using black hat SEO?
If Google has detected unethical SEO on a website, the site usually won’t be notified penalties are about to ensue, nor will it be given a chance to change things for the better. The first thing you’ll notice if your website is being penalized is that your site no longer appears when you search for it, and may have dropped significantly in rank.
As a small business with an auto repair website, there’s no guarantee that Google will agree to re-include your site and begin indexing it again. In that case, the only thing to do is start again from phase one, with a new website and domain. This is definitely not something you want to do, especially when playing by the rules could have saved you the trouble, time and money in the first place!
Need help optimizing your website ethically? Contact us for advice and a free consultation. CarCareCONNECT specializes in SEO and only uses white hat, search engine-safe techniques to get you real results that will last.