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Black Hat Social Media and How It Can Affect your SEO Efforts

Regardless of how sophisticated Google’s search algorithms get there will always be people trying to manipulate the system. Black Hat SEO has been around for a long time and may never go away. With the growing importance of Social Media it was inevitable that Black Hat Social Media would become a thing. But what effect, if any, can it have on your SEO efforts?

The term ‘Black Hat’ refers to something that is outside the guidelines or rules of a particular system. Where Black Hat Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) refers to the manipulation of search engines like Google, Black Hat Social Media refers to the manipulation of Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

You’re probably aware of many of these practices even if you haven’t heard them bundled together under the Black Hat moniker. Things like buying Facebook likes, Google+ +1’s or Youtube subscribers. It also includes bots that post spammy links, fake Social Media profiles and fake reviews on Social Media platforms.

All of these things can land you in hot water with the Social Media platform in question and it’s becoming easier and easier for people to report you for it. And, if that’s not reason enough to avoid these practices they can also have a negative impact on your SEO efforts. Social Media’s impact on Google rankings is a hotly debated subject but most experts agree that it does have an impact, even if it’s a small one. As social media grows in importance this impact is likely to grow and as search engines become more sophisticated the chances of getting caught doing something wrong also increases. The benefits to be gained from Black Hat Social Media don’t come close to the risk of receiving a penalty from Google (not to mention the Social Media platform’s own actions against you).

But SEO isn’t just about ranking highly. That’s the main goal of course but it’s also important to think about what comes next – a quality website and a recognisable brand that turns traffic into conversions. Getting involved in dodgy Social Media practices means that you run the risk of being caught and could destroy your brand’s reputation. As you’ve probably seen in media coverage over the last few years one misstep on social media can create a lot of fallout from users who are not as forgiving as they might be face to face.

Black Hat Social Media could potentially hurt your search engine rankings, get your Social Media accounts shut down or even hurt your reputation and directly lose you business. It just isn’t worth it.