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Transcript: The Death of Black Hat SEO
If there’s one thing I want to warn you about from an SEO perspective, it is that Black Hat SEO is dying, and if it’s not dying, it’s already dead. A while ago, I made a video about a website I created which was full of spam and keyword stuffing and AdSense. It was an awful, terrible, terrible website, but that website managed to rank for two years. Recently, I want to share some data with you where I’ve seen that website decline from an organic search perspective, and really show you and highlight to you that Google is doing its job correctly and spammers will soon have nowhere left to run. You’re going to learn all of that. I’m going to share all of that data with you coming up.
Hey, guys. Darren Taylor of the thebigmarketer.com here, and my job is to make you a better marketer. Now, if you’re new to this channel, I’m a digital marketing expert, consultant and trainer. I’m really focused on search engine marketing and SEO strategies, so if that sounds up your street, you should consider subscribing to the channel. In this video, we are going to look at the death of Black Hat SEO. We’re going to look at a particular case study around one of my personal websites, where I’ve seen traffic go from really good highs all the way down to nearly a dead website.
I think it makes sense, first of all, to understand the type of website it is I’m talking about. The website in question is not a great niche, to be honest. It’s something that was quite experimental. It’s essentially a website that literally lists every single sort code or I guess in America they’re known as routing numbers for a particular bank in Britain called Barclays. Now, this bank has its own page for sort codes. There are also a number of trustworthy sources of this information, but yet my terrible spammy website, which you’ll see right now on screen, managed to rank fourth.
Some high level terms within this niche for a very long time. In fact, at its peak, it was getting around 1,500 users per week. That tells you a little bit about the website itself, and we’ll go into a bit more detail about why it’s such a bad website and why the hell Google chose to rank it. Before we do that, like the video if you like what you’re hearing so far, and let me know in the comments if you’ve ever thought of doing Black Hat SEO, whether it’s crossed your mind or not.
To give you a bit more background, the website was launched in 2016. As I said, at its peak, it was getting around 1,500 sessions per week. It is an exact match domain, so it’s barclays-sortcodes.co.uk. Again, something Google frowns upon. It has a fake blog, and I’ll show you a bit more about the blog as well. It’s a fake blog. It’s not HTTPS, so it’s not secure. It’s got thin content. There’s only three pages really on the website with any information minus the blog. It’s keyword stuffed, and it’s stuffed full of AdSense ads as well. By the way, when I say fake blog, what I meant is I went on to Fiverr, and paid a guy five dollars to write five blog posts.
That would give you an indication of the quality of the posts. In fact, I’m pretty sure they used a language replacement tool in order to generate this content from something else that somebody wrote well because it reads terribly. All in all, as you can imagine, this is not the kind of website that Google will want to rank, so what happened? Why did Google rank this website for over two years, and why have they only started declining it now? As I said at the beginning of this video, it’s because Google is doing its job and there were two key things that changed for this website and where Google got things right, which made the website decline in organic traffic.
Now, I’m sure you guys have probably heard of broad core algorithm updates. These are the updates Google makes on a regular basis throughout the year in order to maximize their algorithm to do what it wants to do in terms of getting the best results for the user. Now, Google never actually disclosed what they changed specifically in these algorithms. What usually happens is the SEO community writing around the algorithm and trying to understand what’s been affected, what’s changed, and give it a nickname if they can determine what has actually happened.
There were two core updates that really affected my website, and I want to share those two updates with you. The two core algorithm updates that happened were April 2018 and March 2019. Now, as you can see on screen now looking at the data, those two months clearly show where the site got hit. You can see in the first update where the traffic starts declining after that point. In the second update of March 2019, you can also see a sudden drop in organic traffic. Google have finally decided they don’t like my spammy website, which kind of makes sense. As much as you think that these old-fashioned SEO tactics can work, they can only work for so long.
If you’re creating a website for your business and you’re going to leverage organic search, you need to do things properly because even if you try all the Black Hat techniques in the world, and by the way, I’ll add there are tons of websites and even videos on YouTube that will show you Black Hat SEO techniques that work for a while. If you’re trying to get a domain known in your field, in your niche, in your business, you don’t want to churn and burn your domain. You don’t want to get any penalties. You want to make sure you do things properly. This data should tell you that you should do things properly if you want to survive more than two years in business. Guys, we’ve seen from the BERT’s algorithm updates what Google wants to do.
They want to be able to read a website like a human would and understand all of the nuances that humans can see when looking for search results. We know the direction of travel Google are taking. We know what Google likes. We know what they don’t like, so it’s really important that you guys focus on the things Google actually likes. Now, again, I’ll mention this for balance, there are a ton of SEOs out there who are really respected in their niche who have got the data to show that a lot of Black Hat techniques can work, but what they also show you is, they churn and burn domains.
If something gets penalized, then we go into another domain and do another experiment. That’s not to say they haven’t made a ton of money in that short period of time, but if your business isn’t that kind of business, it doesn’t make any sense. Web spammers, SEOs who want to do things in the wrong way, your days are numbered. Are you really honestly going to bet against Google solving this issue over time? They’re going to win. Let’s just face it. We might as well accept it now, and do things they like from an SEO perspective.
Thank you so much guys for watching this video. If you liked it, please leave a like below. As I said earlier, let me know in the comments if you’ve even thought about doing Black Hat SEO, and I’ll try and talk you out of it down there as well. Check out the other content across my channel. Don’t forget to subscribe, and I’ll see you guys on my next video.