There are actually a number of risks you take when you utilize black hat SEO practices. The most obvious – and the most deadly – is that your site could be severely punished by Google. At best, your rankings could take a huge hit; at worst, your site might not even show up at all in search queries. Ultimately, that means total destruction for your business. If potential customers can’t find you online, how can you expect to stay afloat in the digital age? When considering white hat vs black hat SEO tactics, most business owners decide that it’s simply not worth the potential penalization.
Any action taken by Google can be devastating, but it’s actually not the only way black hat SEO can harm your business. If you’re using irrelevant keywords or aren’t even considering the user experience, bots aren’t the only ones who will take notice. Your human visitors will be affected, too – and they aren’t going to like what they see. Your bounce rate will probably increase (which is another signal Google takes into account when determining rankings) and your overall brand trustworthiness will falter. This could actually cause loyal customers to high-tail it to one of your competitors. So even if you aren’t penalized by Google right away, you’ll probably feel the effects when live human web users decide you’re unhelpful and irrelevant.
In either case, your decision to take a shortcut could be disastrous. Although white hat SEO requires a larger time commitment, most business owners know that anything worth doing is worth doing well.