Black-Hat Link-Earning Techniques to Avoid
Link-earning is the art of obtaining backlinks for your website, with the end goal being to rank higher in the SERPs. By obtaining as many high-quality backlinks as possible, search engine crawlers can discover your site more quickly, deem your site to be more valuable and relevant for searchers, and will therefore rank your site higher.
Black-hat SEO techniques do not abide by search engine guidelines, so any rankings which are initially gained through these tactics will not last. This is because black-hat SEO techniques are purely shortcuts to gain rankings quickly, and have little to no regard for human searchers; once a search engines picks up that a site is using black-hat methods, it will give penalties to those using these techniques. Be sure to check out the white-hat link-earning strategies that you should be implementing.
Paying for backlinks, or participating in any link-exchange schemes
Buying backlinks and being involved with link-exchange schemes involve two or more parties that give backlinks to one another for a fee- whether monetary, or in reciprocation. Link-exchange schemes can be very complex, involving: directories, fake/spam sites, and other sites/businesses owned by the webmaster, for just a few examples. Search engines consider these practices black-hat because, clearly, this does not contribute to delivering better content for their readers in any way. Furthermore, excessive link-exchanges are quite easily detectable, which makes the chances of getting caught and penalized very high - it's better not to risk it!
There is a legitimate way to buy your keywords a spot on Google's first page through Google Adwords, but it is displayed as an ad, and not an organic result. You can see the ads below at the top 4 results of the searched query 'women red shoes'.
Guest blogging for the sake of it
A good guest blog is one of the best ways to earn a backlink! This is a well-known fact, so people try to take advantage of this by using guest-blogging purely as a link-earning strategy with little to no regard for the actual content produced. Therefore, only guest blogs that produce original, quality content is rewarded in SEO, while those that are spammy and low-quality may be penalized.
It makes sense! High-quality sites with good link juice to pass on would not want to jeopardize their reputation by hosting bad guest bloggers. A reputable site should have their own requirements and standards of the content which they expect from a guest blogger.
Spam other sites for backlinks
This includes tactics such as commenting on blog posts with a link in hopes that by having the link there, it'll be counted as a backlink and receive some link juice. Bad news: search engines completely disregard comment sections. Since it's user-generated content, it's not a trusted source. Spamming the comments section was one of the earliest tricks that Google caught on to and marked as black-hat; despite that fact, people continue to write spam comments to this day. Maybe it's in hopes that someone reading the comments may click on the link, read it, share it, and they can gain a good backlink that way. Nevertheless, the effort is futile, so better avoid spam as a way of generating backlinks.
For the full breakdown of link-earning tips and tricks, check out our webinar: Backlinks Uncovered.