What is Black Hat SEO? 9 Risky Techniques to Avoid

Black Hat SEO is a controversial term that is used to refer not only to unethical search engine optimization tactics but also acts of criminal activity such as computer hacking, email spamming and phishing. Black hat SEO refers specifically to the use of these methods for commercial gain with little regard for ethical implications or consequences.

Which technique is an example of black hat seo? Read more in detail here: which technique is an example of black hat seo.

Many people mistakenly believed that SEO was a deceptive marketing approach based on ‘cheating the algorithm’ and utilizing tricks to trick Google into thinking your website was the top result for a search query ten years ago.

This should never have happened, and SEOs should have always concentrated their efforts on producing the greatest possible result on the web, not simply making it seem such.

However, Google’s algorithms were less sophisticated at the time, particularly when it comes to detecting online spam. 

Many marketers employed black hat SEO strategies to rank websites in the past, but that is no longer the case. In this tutorial, we’ll go through which tactics to avoid if you don’t want to get in trouble with the algorithm or the Webmaster Quality Guidelines.

We’ll go through the following topics in detail:

Black hat SEO is a term that refers to techniques that are utilized to rank a website in violation of search engine standards. Black hat SEO tactics aim to influence search engine algorithms in order to boost a website’s SERP ranks. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, make it quite apparent which actions are prohibited. They’re also quite explicit about the consequences of breaking their rules. Using black hat SEO strategies may result in your website being punished (either algorithmically or manually), resulting in lower search engine rankings and, most likely, a decrease in organic visitors.

Take a look at your website and see what you can do to improve it.

with the help of SEMrush Site Audit

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Using black hat SEO strategies to rank your website has considerable dangers, which is why most SEOs avoid it. The vast majority of SEO professionals consider these tactics to be utterly unethical.

However, the fact is that there will always be a tiny fraction of marketers who attempt to game the system in order to hasten their site’s organic success. Even if black hat SEO strategies work for your website, the effects are often fleeting. 

When we look at Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, we can see that they provide clear advice on the following core SEO principles:

Avoid using techniques to boost your search engine results. If you’d feel comfortable describing what you’ve done to a competitor’s website or a Google employee, that’s a decent rule of thumb. Another good question to ask is, “Is this of any benefit to my users? Would I do this if there were no search engines?”

When it comes to using black hat methods, the reality is that they do not benefit consumers and would not be employed if search engines did not exist.

But, in the event that a website employs black hat SEO to rank, what are the worst-case scenarios? 

Looking further into Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, we can see that such infractions “may result in a site being deleted altogether from the Google index or otherwise impacted by an algorithmic or human spam action,” according to the guidelines. “If a site has been impacted by a spam action,” the rules continue, “it may no longer show up in results on Google.com or on any of Google’s partner sites.”

While the goal of SEO is to increase a website’s organic exposure and traffic, black hat practices may have the opposite effect. We’ve boiled this down into three main reasons to assist you understand why you should avoid such methods…

The most important reason to avoid black hat SEO practices is that they will cause your website to lose search ranks, exposure, and traffic.

Take a look at the image below. This is the visibility of a website that used unethical practices and had a negative effect as a result:


When a website’s traffic and exposure decreases, conversions and income often decrease as well. 

This might result in a decrease in a company’s revenue, as well as job losses or even closures. At best, a significant drop in organic traffic would need a bigger expenditure in PPC or other paid marketing to compensate.

a hat in black SEO methods may degrade a website’s performance as a consequence of a human action or algorithmic filtering, both of which are covered in detail in the video below:


Even though manipulative tactics initially improve ranks and organic performance, these gains are seldom maintained.

While it may take some time for Google to identify that a site engages in unethical practices (this might be due to a human inspection or an update to a fundamental algorithm), once it does, traffic loss is certain.

The only thing worse than not being able to rank a site at all is having ranks and traffic artificially boosted, only to plummet in the near future. Businesses want predictability, which black hat methods are unable to provide.

Bastian Grimm made a statement regarding the changing relevance of UX for SEO during our Technical vs. UI/UX seminar, noting that:

One thing that became clearer was that Google was not necessarily seeking to rank sites that had done the greatest SEO, but rather sites that provided a good or at least acceptable user experience.

— Grimm, Bastian

SEO must evaluate the user’s experience on a website and strive to provide the greatest content and user experience possible. Black hat approaches, on the other hand, optimize for search engines (or at least what they believe search engines want to see), not for people. This may be troublesome in and of itself.

In order to be successful in your quest, you must have a high level of trust. If search engines take precedence over users, the site’s potential to convert is likely to be severely constrained. 

When you’re just starting out in SEO, it might be difficult to determine which methods to utilize and which to avoid. While many of the SEO fundamentals are straightforward white hat practices, many of the more complex techniques need more attention to detail.

Make sure you’re following the appropriate instructions, however. Some approaches advised on blogs, social media groups, or via your contacts may seem to be “advanced,” but they’re merely pointing you toward additional black hat practices. 

The more you understand about the strategies that might lead to your site’s demise, the simpler it will be to recognize and avoid them. Here are nine strategies that you should avoid adopting in 2020 since they violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines:

Excessively repeating your page’s primary target keyword(s) will not help you rank. Keyword stuffing, as it’s called, almost always has the opposite effect.

a hat in black SEOs may occasionally try to affect a site’s rankings by strewn keywords throughout a page in an unnatural way. Keyword stuffing is most often seen in random blocks outside of the primary material or inside paragraphs that don’t make sense when read aloud.

Here’s an example of Google’s keyword-stuffed content:


Creating amazing content isn’t simple, but it’s undeniable that it’s still one of Google’s top three ranking criteria.

Automatically generating content to rank for a big number of keywords without really going away and producing good, original material is a frequent black hat strategy. For instance, suppose you develop a slew of location pages, all of which have the identical information save for the place name.

To prevent difficulties caused by poor quality or duplicate pages, take the effort to generate SEO-friendly content.

Hidden text is text that is the same color as the backdrop and is positioned off the screen or behind an image, or has a font size of zero to conceal it from users. This is misleading, but it is sometimes used to pack keywords in; many marketers would submit large lists of keywords for which they wanted their material to rank in SERPs.

But what we’re talking about here is a blatant effort to fully conceal content, which doesn’t apply to text in an accordion, tabs, or text loaded dynamically with JavaScript. Adding hidden text to your website is something we strongly discourage. Search engine crawlers have advanced to the point where they recognize when you’re cramming keywords into your content.

Google considers it a violation of their standards to create sites that target certain search queries with content that serves exclusively as a funnel to one page. Doorway or gateway pages are the names given to these sorts of pages.

Every piece of content on your website should have a particular function, and you shouldn’t create pages only to rank for keywords that aren’t really related.

Here are several examples:

  • Creating sites that funnel readers to a single page to target geographically focused keywords in places where your organization doesn’t have a physical presence.
  • Rather than meeting a user’s demand, pages designed purely to rank for search queries

Create material for people rather than search engines.

Cloaking is a strategy that includes presenting alternate content or URLs to users and search engines, giving them a unique experience.

This is a blatant effort to rank a page based on material written for search engines while redirecting readers to a different location (or whatever). Because this is a dishonest approach, it is against search engine standards.

Concentrate your efforts on creating the finest possible user experiences, and there’s a strong chance the search engines will adore your website as well. 

One of the most frequent sorts of black hat SEO is link schemes, and here is where a lot of people get confused.

Many marketers understand that they should provide content that is useful to their visitors and that they should not hide information, but link building is a bit more complicated.

The main reason is that links should be earned, particularly when they are editorial endorsements from one website to another. This implies you should avoid using strategies like:

  • Paid (sponsored) links with no rel=”nofollow” or rel=”sponsored” attribute.
  • Link exchanges that are excessive
  • Spam comments on blogs
  • Spam on message boards
  • Article marketing or guest posting efforts on a large scale
  • Link creation that is automated
  • Web 2.0 properties, spammy directories, and bookmarking sites
  • Links in the site’s footer or sidebar
  • Use of exact match or commercial anchor text in links

While structured data may assist specify entities, activities, and connections online, abusing or misusing this form of markup is a frequent black hat strategy.

This generally entails exploiting structured data to provide factually inaccurate information—for example, those attempting to improve their site’s structured data. Many marketers create false reviews with 5-star ratings in order to raise their company’s SERP rank and increase CTR.

This, like the other strategies on this list, is pure deceit and should not be used. 

Using redirects is a regular element of SEO, whether you’re upgrading an older page to a new URL or planning for a site transfer. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s the best way to ensure that your site is well-organized and accessible to both visitors and search engine crawlers.

However, black hat SEOs utilize covert redirects, which are similar to cloaking, to trick search engines and show material that differs from what a user sees. A search engine will often index the original page while consumers are sent to a new URL. Sneaky redirection are particularly listed in Google’s Webmaster Criteria as a black hat technique that breaches the guidelines.

It would be a mistake to believe that all black hat SEO strategies are directed towards the site that a marketer is attempting to rank.

Negative SEO is a tactic used by unscrupulous SEOs to lower their competitors’ ranks. Consider it as though you were utilizing Google’s standards on someone else’s site rather than your own.

In reality, this usually entails directing a large number of artificial links to someone else’s domain in the hopes of being punished. 

While this isn’t very prevalent, particularly because Google is growing better at disregarding links that come from such assaults, it’s crucial to be aware of it and check your link profile on a regular basis (something that can be done using the SEMrush Backlink Audit Tool).

While a result, as you went through this tutorial, you may have asked yourself the following question: What if you see one of your rivals using black hat methods but they aren’t getting punished? When you feel a website is ranking because of purchased links, spam, or other infractions, you may submit a spam complaint with Google. While reporting a site may not result in immediate action, you will be helping to improve algorithmic spam detection. 

It’s frustrating as a marketer to find out that a website is scamming the system and getting away with it. While Google is becoming better at stopping such sites from appearing in the top spots on the SERPs, there are still sites that are doing well using black hat approaches.

Depending on the intensity of the web spam that other sites use, there’s a strong potential that they’ll be badly affected by another algorithm upgrade in the not-too-distant future.

One thing to remember is that any website that employs black hat SEO strategies to rank in the SERPs is putting itself at danger. 

While they’re no longer as popular as they once were, there are still SEOs that follow this path or who mislead companies into believing it’s being done properly when, in fact, the practices utilized are blatant breaches of Google’s standards.

Overall, we advise against using black hat techniques on your own website. If you want to improve the visibility of your website online, discover how to rank it using strategies that do not break Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Take a look at your website and see what you can do to improve it.

with the help of SEMrush Site Audit

ADS illustration

Black Hat SEO, or “black hat seo techniques 2020“, is a term used to describe a marketing strategy that uses unethical methods to achieve better search engine rankings. These methods often involve spamming and other deceptive tactics that are considered illegal.

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