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Black Hat SEO: Techniques to Avoid


In the world of Search Engine Optimization, there are a wide variety of techniques out there that people and companies use. While there is a safe way of doing things in SEO, there also is a risky way, which is forbidden by Google. This risky way of doing search engine optimization is referred to as black hat SEO, in which certain techniques are used to gain higher rankings by breaking the search engine rules.

For all the SEO beginners out there, black hat SEO techniques refer to practices that are used to get higher rankings in an unethical manner. These techniques are strictly technical, which Google disapproves, and if they catch a site using these methods, the site is penalized. Black hat SEO also generally focuses only on search engines and not so much a human audience.

Black hat SEO was used, and still is being used by those who want to gain results quickly. There are many risks involved when using black hat SEO techniques. Some of these risks include penalties from Google, the site being banned from the search engines or become excluded from the SERPs. Algorithm updates from Panda and Penguin are the main causes of the latest penalties that have occurred when Google discovered that black hat SEO methods were used. A site can be hit with manual penalties as well as algorithmic downgrades at the same time.

Black Hat Techniques and Why You Should Avoid Them

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the practice of filling a web page with keywords or numbers so that the search engine will think the page is relevant to the search. Usually these keywords are irrelevant to the actual site. Sometimes these keywords are hidden so that they are not seen by the user, but are still scanned by the search engine. Keyword stuffing can result in poor user experience and ultimately harm your site’s ranking.


Cloaking refers to the technique of showing different content to crawlers than that of what you show to your users. One form of cloaking is using various keywords, titles, and descriptions that are entirely different from what your actual content is really about. There is a high chance that if a search engine determines that the site is cloaking, it will be banned.

Link Farms

Link farms are a group of websites that use hyperlinks to connect with one another for the pure interest of trying to increase their rankings. These links ultimately won’t provide any traffic to your site, but are used to trick the search engine into seeing that the site links to many other sites. This method could be used because based on the amount of links and their quality, the search engines can calculate the popularity of your web page thus, it’s position in rankings on the search engine result page.

Link Buying and Link Exchange Programs

Link buying is the act of purchasing links from another site to give you a link to your website in order to get a link to your website. These links are intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google so it appears higher. Link exchange programs are programs where one can exchange links with others. Excessive link exchanging is forbidden by Google.

Article Spinning

Article spinning is a technique in which website owners post a unique version of relevant content on their site by rewriting existing articles and replacing parts for a slightly different perspective on the topic. Article spinning reduces the quality of the original article no matter how it is done. Article spinning also limits the places that you can put your articles in the future.

Doorway Pages

Doorway pages are where you spam the index of search engines to catch visitors using a page of no real value, which then redirects the user to a completely different page. Doorway pages are created to be visible to only specific search engines and their crawlers with the purpose of deceiving the search engine into giving the site higher rankings.


Although these methods can help you get a higher ranking in a short period of time, once a search engine discovers that these black hat techniques are being used, it won’t take long until a penalization comes into action. In the long-run, it really may not be worth the risk  since the results can be quite destructive to your site. This list doesn’t cover all black hat SEO techniques, but it should be noted that it would be best to avoid these methods. There are many ways to properly improve your website’s position in the search engine results page. Even if it may take some time, the results are long lasting and well worth the wait.