In part two of this three part series I introduced eight types of traffic sources your business can utilize. In this third and final article, I will address traffic sources that should be kept away with a 10 foot stick.

In search engine optimization (SEO) we classify traffic sources as either being "white hat" or "black hat."

  • White hat - these are ethical practices that boost rankings and PageRank, adhering to Google's webmaster guidelines.
  • Black hat - these are deceiving methods of driving traffic to your site. These tactics go against Google's policies and may result in your site being removed from the index.

A good internet marketing company will be transparent about their SEO practices. White hat SEO will ensure rankings without negative consequences. Using black hat traffic sources will bring a short term boost in traffic, but will eventually get penalized by Google.

Traffic Sources to Avoid avoid black hat seo Link schemes

Any website created with the sole intention of increasing the number of inbound links by unnatural methods.

Link farms

This is a group of websites that interlink to each other creating reciprocal links.

Bad neighborhood

Websites that use web scamming tactics or illegal activities.

301 redirects

This is buying vast amounts of cheap domain names in order to redirect to one main domain.

Link schemes, link farms and bad neighborhoods are closely related and in many situations can be used interchangeably. These traffic sources are bad for internet usability and give internet marketing a bad name. Google’s Webspam team penalizes these websites, and works to remove websites from its index that use black hat techniques.

Bringing It All Together

Knowing what traffic sources are pointing to your website is important for webmaster and business owners alike. Figuring out which  traffic source or sources generates the most sales leads, email subscribers, or phone calls begins with a traffic source audit. I strongly recommend Google Analytics as a great first step in tracking your traffic sources.

Then you can create plans focusing on different traffic sources. For instance, if your website has a strong presence in search traffic then you may want to focus on referral traffic. During your traffic source audit you may realize that you have little to no engagement from blogging. Creating a regularly updated company blog with unique content is the first step to customer interaction and increasing your referral traffic.

Do you know what traffic sources are pointed to your website?