Black Hat Social Media: What is it and How Does it Affect SEO?

August 26, 2014

Black Hat Social Media: What is it and How Does it Affect SEO?

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There are many unscrupulous acts done over the Internet. These acts customarily contend with guidelines and formalities. One such term that is associated with such unscrupulous acts is ‘black’ (sounds weird, I know). ‘Black’ is a widely used term which symbolizes evil or anything that opposes the natural way of performing a task. For the purpose of this article, ‘black’ will be added to the simple but meaningful word ‘hat’. The combined word is ‘Black hat’.

 What is Black Hat?

Black hat is the term that refers exclusively to a hacker (a.k.a cracker). In contemporary terms, a hacker is seen as someone who exploits and penetrates a computer network or system for malevolent reasons. In contrast, a white hat hacker is someone who penetrates a computer system for benevolent reasons. Believe it or not, there’s a black hat version for everything on the Internet.

With the intent to provide useful information that can be practiced on your SEO venture, I’ll elaborate on black hat Social Media and its implications on SEO.

 What is Black Hat Social Media?

Since I’ve already spoon fed you with the definition of black hat, coiling one for black hat social media is fairly easy. Why? Almost everyone uses social media platforms for one reason or the other. seo hatBlack hat social media refers to any social media technique that is used to drive traffic to your site but goes against a standard or stipulated guideline. Instead of attracting traffic the right way, web masters and SEO specialists use tactics that are frowned on by Google. Whenever social media is used for SEO in a questionable way or outside of what is highlighted in the social media website guidelines, the practice becomes black hat SEO. Black hat SEO includes SEO practices that are not recognized by Google. While there are many black hat social media techniques, these are just a few common examples that are heavily practiced today.

Examples of Black Hat Social Media Practices

 Recruiting REAL people in order to buy FAKE likes, subscriptions, comments, clicks etc.

  • Setting up FAKE social media profiles to engage – whether to like your page, comment, and collect information.
  • Automating your followers, likes, etc.
  • Getting dirty with writing negative reviews on your competitor’s website
  • Feeling/spamming for traffic.

How these black Hat Strategies Affect SEO?

Black hat social media is oftentimes done to boost a website’s traffic. Whether it is done by the company that needs social media SEO strategies implemented or the work is outsourced, it’s normally done for exposure or promotional reasons. Instead of sticking to the book and the stipulated regulations, many believe that this technique has a much profound effect on SEO and is more inclined to drive traffic faster. Here’s how the aforementioned black hat social media strategies affect your website’s ranking.

  1. Recruiting REAL people in order to buy FAKE likes, subscriptions, comments, clicks etc.

This is a very common practice today. People are literally being offered money just to like, comment, click a particular ad, or even subscribe to a YouTube channel. While I personally believe that this strategy is a low down dirty shame, it actually impacts on search engine optimization. facebook automated botBased on Search Engine Land, “social signals are emerging as ranking factors as search engines determine how to leverage our social interaction and behavior.” This means that the majority of website traffic is secured from social media management and campaigns. Regardless of whatever unscrupulous technique is used for securing traffic, they do affect SEO. The only discrepancy lies in how traffic is secured. However, by buying likes, clicks, comments, subscriptions etc, webmasters are actually ranking and have seen growth in their traffic. Remember, if recruiting REAL people in order to buy FAKE likes, subscriptions, comments, clicks etc did not work, it would have long been a discontinued practice.

  1. Setting up FAKE social media profiles to engage – whether to like your page, comment, and collect information.

There’s no limit to the number of accounts a person can create on FaceBook. Once they’re willing to sit and cough up millions of email addresses, believe it or not they can create millions of FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+ accounts. Can you imagine the immense traffic one could drive to their website if they’re willing to commit such an act? I’m sure that website would make records that would mark a significant period in our society, especially for webmasters. Like the above mentioned techniques, this affects a website’s authority and ranking which in turn affects a website’s SEO.

  1. Automating your followers, likes, etc.

This is actually a recent implementation. Instead of spending enormous amounts of cash to pay people to interact with their page, website owners are now using automated tools or what is commonly referred to as bots. I find that labeling quite fitting since it defines the routine tasks that are performed by bots. In this case, bots are used to automate a process for you. Instead of manually getting people to like, share, comment, subscribe etc, you get machines or bots to get the job done. facebook groupBots are used for several reasons. Firstly, they can be sourced with little or no cost in comparison to paying people. Secondly, they get the job done quicker. It will take a while to get over a 1000ne users to like a post. However, a bot is automated and so the process is accelerated. When automated bots are used, things are done faster which means more impact to SEO.

  1. Getting dirty with writing negative reviews on your competitor’s website


Another practice that is common includes trash talking your competitors, who unlike you are practicing white hat SEO techniques (the right SEO technique). By writing reviews on your competitor’s site, you could literally destroy their brand and reputation and also drive traffic away from their website. Customers thrive on reviews. If your reviews top Google’s search results page, that could be devastating for your competitors. On the other hand, if you pay for others to write reviews about your website, traffic might stream to it.

  1. Feeling/spamming for traffic.

Maybe I’m just unfortunate but I’ve always been receiving spammy links on social media platforms. spam trafficI’d literally have people that I don’t know send me strange links that makes no sense. I know its spam but hey, curiosity always gets the best of me. Spamming or feeling for traffic is usually a cry for help (believe me it is). It’s a desperate person who needs traffic badly. What else would equate for sending thousands of links to people? When these links are sent to different users of social media networks, they don’t affect SEO. However, when you click the link as I do, it does.

If a technique is ‘black hat’, it’s simply no good. While it may attract traffic to your website, it’ll only take Google a few months or let’s just say weeks to catch up with you. Do you want to be an enemy to Google when you have a household to feed? I wouldn’t. Instead of doing the opposite of what your competitors are doing (and even if they’re into black hat SEO), do what is right (practice white hat SEO). It might take some time to get where you want to on Google’s search results page, but you will get there and will actually become a friend of Google. Since I’ve discussed black hat techniques, I’ll be following up with techniques that are actually acceptable by Google.

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