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What is Black Hat SEO and Why You Shouldn’t Use It

Search engine optimization is a great way to promote your website. It’s affordable, it’s effective, and it pays off. But there is a catch – SEO takes some time to achieve any meaningful results. These results can be a severe drawback when getting a business off the ground or promoting a new website. That is why some people try to circumvent it by relying on black hat SEO instead. But black hat SEO is risky, and it can cost you a lot in terms of ranking, reputation, and even long-term success. So what are some of the tactics you should avoid?

What is black hat SEO?

When Google determines the ranking of your website in search results, it does so using clever bots and sophisticated algorithms. But no matter how good Google is, it’s almost always possible to develop creative solutions that will trick the machine. In the early days of SEO, that’s precisely what happened – people would discover what made Google tick and exploit it to inflate their rankings artificially. For this reason, search engines now have specific rules to ensure they’re serving up the best possible results for their users.

 

Google search homepage

If you want search engines to like you, you need to play by their rules.

Whether or not they follow these rules, SEO tactics are divided into three categories: white hat, grey hat, and black hat. White hat SEO follows the guidelines set by search engines. Grey hat SEO technically falls within the rules, but the practices used are still frowned upon. Finally, black hat SEO falls under SEO practices that go against search engine guidelines. Why would anyone want to employ SEO tactics that search engines specifically condemn? The answer is simple – they give quick results. When you’re just starting a business and your website doesn’t influence other brands in the industry to rely on, this can seem like an attractive alternative.

What are some ordinary black hat SEO tactics?

People get creative with breaking the rules; consequently, there are hundreds of different black hat practices one could employ. But if you’re looking for an effective marketing strategy for the long-term, these are the main tactics to stay away from:

  • link farming: setting up several websites so that you can link back and forth between them and create the illusion of many backlinks
  • keyword stuffing: using the target keyword excessively to the point where it affects the quality of the content
  • doorway pages and redirects: immediately taking the user to an unrelated, often malicious page when they click on a link
  • cloaking: serving up different pages for search engine bots and users
  • negative SEO: lowering competitors’ rankings by spamming their comments, directing suspicious links at them, and even hacking their websites

Why should you avoid black hat SEO?

Even though black hat practices often show quick results, they come at a high cost. It’s best to avoid them because you’ll face some serious consequences.

You risk negatively impacting your rankings and visibility.

Typically, black hat tactics work by attracting tons of traffic to your website. But traffic quantity is not the only thing that determines your Google ranking. Traffic quality will affect other measurements, such as bounce rates, time-on-page, abandonment rates, and more. Ultimately, the negatives will outweigh the positives, and your ranking will suffer even if you’re never found out.

You could get penalties.

The more likely problem, however, is that Google’s algorithm will catch up to you. This could then lead to penalties of varying severity. You might experience a drop in rankings, limitations on new content positioning, decreased domain authority, and even outright bans. Even when the penalty itself is not permanent, recovering from it will take a lot of time and effort.

 

A judge's gave

Eventually, search engines will catch up to you and punish you.

Your authority and reputation will suffer.

Google ranks websites it can trust higher than those it can’t. This is why domain authority is so important. Domain authority consists of several measurements, many of which you cannot control. But a significant component of it is backlinks. This is something you can influence. Getting authoritative site backlinks, either organically or through link building, will improve your reputation on Google. But if you try to manipulate your backlink portfolio using link farming, spam comments, and other black hat practices, this can severely damage your domain authority for years to come. Given how vital domain authority is, your ranking will undoubtedly suffer.

Your user experience scores will be low.

SEO is ultimately about user experience. All the different measurements that go into an algorithm are supposed to be indicators of customer satisfaction. So it’s not enough to drive traffic to your website; you need to make sure your users are happy with what they find. Keep redirecting them to unrelated pages, making them read nonsensical content stuffed with keywords, and linking them to websites that don’t provide any value. You will only ensure they never revisit your website.

You won’t achieve long-term results.

The big selling point of black hat practices is fast results. But those results don’t last. Whether it’s because poor user experience lowers your ranking or you’re discovered by Google, trying to trick the algorithm will eventually backfire. So if your goal is to be successful long-term, you should focus on white hat SEO. It will take longer to build up your website with it, but patience will pay off in the long run.

What should you do instead of black hat SEO?

Instead of investing in the quick and risky black hat SEO, you should focus on white hat practices. This includes improving page loading speeds, adopting a responsive design and optimizing for mobile, using keywords and their variations naturally, and building a backlink portfolio relevant to your niche. All this will take some time and effort to achieve, and you probably won’t see any results for months. But once you reach a certain level of authority and a particular ranking in search results, things will get much more accessible. You won’t have to worry about significant drops or penalties. Not to mention, your users will appreciate your website more. In the end, playing by the rules will pay off.

The Top 4 Instagram Tips

Looking to increase Instagram engagement? Great, you’re not alone. Today, brands need to dig deeper into their performance metrics and track views of Instagram stories, shares, saves, comments, and even direct messages to understand how they’re performing. Fortunately, it’s not as challenging as most people may think! Here, our social media advertising agency in AZ is sharing the top 4 Instagram tips.

1. Use hashtags

Thanks to hashtags, people can navigate through tons of posts and filter out what’s of interest or relevant to them. While using more than ten hashtags is fine, don’t overuse them. Why? Because it’ll look a bit spammy.

a person offering social media optimization services in Phoenix

But whatever the number is, ensure they’re appropriate. You can use tools like Hashtagify to check out trendy hashtags. Some will be quite generic, while some will be trending like crazy.

Also, don’t shy away from checking out and analyzing the Instagram accounts of successful businesses, especially of your competitors. Learn how they’re using hashtags and adapt/emulate what they’re doing.

Yes, you won’t see instant results. But, if you can discover popular hashtags that are relevant to your business, you’ll immediately get access to a better audience. Sometimes, even virtual forums grow up around the hashtags – niche communities that’ll like to know your brand.

2. Get active

Randomly liking posts isn’t going to help your business much. However, with some strategic thinking, you can make likes work well for your business.

Visit the Instagram profiles of your competitors and see who is engaging with their posts – these are your target market too. So, why not start following them?

This is a great way to build an audience that’s actively interested in your business offerings.

3. Give a distinctive look to your posts

Because Instagram is a very visual platform, you should also treat it as such. If you want to make your posts instantly recognizable, maintain the same style of photography and use the same signature filter to give your posts a bit of consistency.

Doing this will help you echo the visual identity of your brand. So, feel free to adopt the same image style, fonts, and colors on your website. This way, your brand will remain consistent from one communication channel to another.

4. Clearly describe what you do

Don’t forget to set your profile up properly. Write a good bio, ensure your Instagram handle instantly conveys what you do, and use a decent profile image. Also, add the URL of your website too!

Increase brand awareness with no additional cost with Kallen Media’s social media marketing services in AZ

Kallen Media’s social media optimization services in Phoenix can help you manage your social media through best practices, audits, and research, so you can concentrate on other aspects of your business and watch it grow.

Give us a call now for more information about our Phoenix social media management!

Top Social Media Trends in 2021: A Rundown of Q1 and Q2

Social media platforms collectively have 3.5 billion active users, with a new account being created every 6.4 seconds. Every user spends a minimum of 142 minutes on social media platforms each day. Welcome to the Kallen Media blog on the top social media trends in 2021!

Social media apps on the phone

Social media plays a crucial role in our lives by helping us stay connected with the world.

Whether you’re living in a first-world country or third, social media keeps you updated on what’s happening around the globe with a mere touch of a button. While the pandemic had us spending an increased amount of time scrolling through social media, it proved an excellent opportunity for businesses.

Social media is a precious channel for marketers. It provides a great opportunity for them to reach customers and convert these leads. However, to make the most out of it, you must keep up-to-date with the ongoing social media trends. Here’s a quick preview of some social media trends that you might have missed:

Live Videos

Since COVID-19 restricted everyone to staying in orders, businesses and bloggers turned to live streaming to stay connected with their followers. Whether it’s just chit-chat or a detailed product review, live streaming has brought the focus back to video marketing this year.

Influencer making a video

In a recent survey, 82% of the audience voted for live videos rather than usual content uploaded on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter. This demand has urged many brands to bring renowned personalities and celebrities to their live sessions to increase views and brand awareness.

Moreover, impromptu live chats have been a great hit amongst the audience too. It’s helping businesses answer questions and make important announcements when the changing algorithms restrict brand appearance on follower’s feeds.

Ephemeral Content

Snapchat was an instant hit amongst millennials and adults due to its very innovative and catchy concept of short-duration content that disappears within 24 hours. Soon Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms hopped on the bandwagon too. This is called ‘Ephemeral Content.’

Due to FOMO (aka Fear of Missing Out), ephemeral content keeps people on their toes. Users refresh their feed more often and revisit brand space to view the content before they ‘miss’ out on it. Ephemeral content is fun and engaging as it uses videos, images, and minimum text.

Ephemeral content is an informal and personal way of communicating with followers, which is why it’s been prevalent throughout 2021. Pop quizzes, behind the scenes, and polls have been the recent hit for ephemeral content.

Local Targeting

As a marketer, you must know about the miracles of local SEO. Similarly, local targeting has been widespread amongst brands by geo-tagging the location on their social media stories and posts to connect with the local audience.

Even though Instagram already allows its users to search stories and posts based on their vicinity, local targeting through geo-tagging will enable brands to be more discoverable.

Plus, with the advanced features of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter promotions, brands can also target a specific audience based on their locality through IP addresses.

AR and VR Technology

The latest social media trends of 2021: Augmented (AR) and Virtual (VR) Reality. As customers feel confined to their houses, missing the real-time shopping, businesses started offering AR-powered shopping that allows them to try on products virtually.

This not only gives them the closest feel to real shopping while staying home, but also helps make a well-thought decision before investing in a product.

taking a picture using filters

It doesn’t end there. The different filters that you love on Snapchat and Instagram are also a part of the AR experience. Plus, playing your favorite games on Facebook has become even more fun with affordable VR gear. While this area can still use some improvements, it still offers a lot of fun for users.

Influencer Marketing

Have you been seeing your favorite blogger talk about a product repetitively? That’s influencer marketing.

While that’s been a trend since 2019, the approach has evolved a lot this year. Rather than collaborating with influencers for a single post, brands now create series of posts with similar efforts from both ends.

More prominent brands collaborating with niche bloggers and micro-influencers aim to show their ‘transparency’ and inclusivity while being cautious about who they choose to work with. If you haven’t heard or seen these social trends around, there are high chances your marketing game isn’t strong enough.

Be on top of your marketing game with Kallen Media. We are a social media advertising agency based in Arizona with a prime focus on increasing your traffic-to-sale conversation rate. Our specialized team can cater from large enterprises to small businesses.

Visit our website for more information.

Google My Business Listings

Did you know, more than 70,000 Google My Business Listings incur every second? That makes it 227 million per hour and about 5.4 billion searches every day.

Google home page on a tablet

Even though we have always been dependent on the internet for the past decade, the global pandemic has pushed us further. Google plays a huge role in making our internet experience hassle-free and seamless through video search, Google Assistant, Chrome search, and much more.

Another new addition to their efforts is “Google My Business (GMB).” GMB is a free, easy-to-use, multi-featured tool for organizations to manage an online presence on Google, Search, and Maps. Since Google My Business helps you appear directly on Google and Map search results, it won’t redirect you or the customer to a third-party site, unlike Yelp.

What Does a Google My Business Listing Include?

The aim of a Google My Business listing is to allow people to see helpful information about your business when they search. Your GMB listing mostly includes:

  • Pictures of your business
  • Contact information
  • Physical address
  • Website link
  • FAQs
  • Reviews
  • Operating hours

Where Does a Google My Business Listing Appear?

Google Knowledge Panel

The Google Knowledge Panel is a box that appears on the top-right corner of your desktop when one performs a brand search for the business (i.e., searches by the business’s name). Upon the search, all the relevant information from your GMB listing will emerge on the knowledge panel.

Google Knowledge Panel

The information will be displayed in a concise and SERPs format to provide the searchers with quick and easy answers to their questions. The advantage is, your business becomes more visible.

Google Maps

Google Map results for Kallen Media

Because of this Google Maps is the most downloaded navigation and maps application in the US, even though it comes pre-installed on all android smartphones. Google Maps is a crucial place for businesses to gain visibility locally. When consumers search with the relevant keyword on the app, a list of businesses will appear, one of them being yours. When the customer taps on your business, a GMB listing will appear, displaying all the relevant information about you.

Google Local Pack/Finder

Customers use Google Local Pack to look for nearby businesses. Upon entering the keywords, the top three searches appear, which the searcher can expand to see more. Even if you don’t have a website, your business can appear here through the Google My Business listing. Google pulls out all the relevant information from your GMB post and uses it here to inform people about your service.

Why Do You Need Google My Business Listing?

It helps you improve your local SEO ranking

Today’s the age of curious minds. When people search on their mobile devices, they are highly likely to call the same day or visit the next day. For the searchers to be able to find you, optimizing your local SEO is essential.

GMB listing is an incredible way to optimize and increase your local SEO. Since an increasing amount of people are exploring local businesses every day, your business will show up more often on Google, helping you get more customers.

Your business will appear in other Google products

Other than Google search, people also use Google Maps and Assistant for quick results. Through GMB listing, relevant information regarding your business will show up on these platforms too.

It will increase your businesses’ exposure

While it’s true that GMB listings appear when people search for your business directly by name, it’s not limited to it. When your listing is optimized well, your business will appear in indirect search too, such as ‘coffee places near me’ or ‘pizza places near me.’

How To Create Google My Business Listings?

You can create the GMB listing yourself by either searching for your business by name or adding it manually if it doesn’t appear on https://www.google.com/business/. However, it takes more than just creating your business listing.

Google My Business is constantly evolving to the changes around us by incorporating new features. Keeping track of them while figuring out how you can utilize those features can take a lot of extra time and effort to figure out your business strategy or new products.

Moreover, not to forget that GMB listings require constant maintenance and periodic uploads to keep you amongst the top rankings. Adding repetitive information will lead nowhere. Adding new pictures, creative and attractive content, updating your services, adding quick Q&As, it’s all part of GMB listing maintenance. That’s why we recommend coming to the best digital marketing company in Arizona.

Kallen Media offers complete solutions to your digital marketing needs. It’s very easy to increase website visitors, but without a conversion rate, your traffic is worthless. Make the most out of your investment with Kallen Media for higher conversion rate and optimized SEO ranking through Google My Business listings.

Visit our website for more information.

Choosing Digital Marketing For Your Business

Times have changed, and so has the typical business approach. With traditional marketing taking a back seat digital marketing is soaring. learn all about Choosing Digital Marketing For Your Business.

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How Can Blogs Boost Your Business

57% if businesses have acquired a customer through a company blog. Here’s how can blogs boost your business

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How to Market for Nonprofits: Kallen Media’s Tips

The nonprofit industry is rife with people and companies who want to make the world a better place. And the industry is snowballing; there are already over 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the US alone. These factors combine to create a lot of pressure for a nonprofit to get its message to stand out. That’s why today we’re talking about how to market for nonprofits!

Today we are going to talk all about how classic digital marketing principles apply to the nonprofit industry. Our blog covers topics like web design, copywriting, and much more. Finally, we will also tell you about Kallen Media’s tried and true methods for boosting a nonprofits’ connections. But let’s start by talking about some free ads that any nonprofit can utilize!

Google Ad Grants

 

Kallen Media has talked so much about how excellent google ad grants are. But in case you forgot, we’re going to tell you all about them. Google offers an ad grant program to let any registered charity can use to get utterly free google ads! This program can give nonprofits thousands of dollars in advertising at the cost of a simple verification process. one of our first steps when working with any charity is to make sure they have full access to this program.

people puzzle pieces

people puzzle pieces

In an industry where a business’s budget is under scrutiny, making room for advertising is hard. And this is especially true in the nonprofit sector, where people tend to think fundraising will handle everything. These free ads can create extra room so people can spend their budget creating a compelling copy or improving their web presence. Free advertisements can be an integral part of how to market for nonprofits if you can finish the certification process. Once you have outreach handled, you need to make sure your nonprofit’s website is ready for new users.

Nonprofit SEO and SMM

 

Maintaining your website long term health is also crucial to running a successful nonprofit. If you can produce a user-friendly site that’s also well advertised, donors will flock to you! Fortunately, people like charities and most people will be looking for ways to help, so nonprofits start with a leg up. This advantage will shine when your managing social media presences. Because nonprofit content is naturally compelling, if you also bring quality, social media will love you. Similarly, your followers will feel like they are making a difference when they connect to a nonprofit, so you also gain the advantage of a self-satisfying audience.

On the other hand, nonprofits will still face the same SEO struggles as any other company. Nonprofit websites at a superficial level will follow the same rules as any other. So you need to make sure your SEO is optimized to rank all of your landing pages. But nonprofits do hold some SEO advantages. Most businesses have a hard time getting people to spend a long time on a page or video. But a nonprofit will find that its content is more compelling and, on average, will grab attention better.

Writing Copy for Nonprofits

 

We mentioned earlier that nonprofits would naturally have more compelling subjects for content creators. But that advantage can make a social media team or copywriter lazy. When you’re designing nonprofit content, you can never let your quality slip. Ensuring that your images and videos are well-edited and proofreading all content will help portray your nonprofit as easy to trust. And after you have trust with your audience, people will be more likely to engage with your campaigns and projects. When creating a nonprofit copy, you need to ensure you have a simple message portrayed in a clean and presentable format. But how do you know if your advertisements are well received?

Measuring Campaign Success

 

Anytime you run any marketing campaign, you need to make sure you measure your progress toward goals. In the nonprofit sector, this means understanding where the current focus of your nonprofits projects is. Some advertising efforts will be focusing on awareness, while others will be targeting established donors. If you’re going to utilize digital marketing to grow your nonprofit, you need to understand how a marketing campaign can affect your projects.

gears

gears

If your nonprofit currently focuses on educating consumers, your marketing team needs to double down on outreach. Focusing on social media and other platforms to quickly make new connections might bring you better conversion rates. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to be reaching out to brand new people when you want trusted returning donors. If you’re trying to connect to established target markets, more traditional google ads could be a better project.

How to Market for Nonprofits

 

Are you wondering how to market for nonprofits? Kallen Media has some tips on where you can focus your advertising efforts if you’re involved with the charity industry. We covered marketing strategies specifically designed for nonprofit web presence and community interaction. Additionally, we gave you some methods for tracking campaign success. Assuming you follow those simple steps, your nonprofit with blossom. If you need more help creating your nonprofit’s next advertising campaign, Kallen Media is here to help. Reach out online to talk to one of our representatives about our custom nonprofit marketing plans today!

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