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What is Black Hat SEO and Why We Should Avoid This?

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Creating high-quality content that is clean and is a part of the high search engine rankings can be pretty challenging. Your own site must have keywords that users can use in search engines.

Writing content in search engine optimization to make your web page known to users is an SEO strategy that can boost search rankings for digital marketing. However, if you place irrelevant keywords, you will have the potential to become gateway pages for web spam and have a poor user experience.

But some webmasters resort to letting their content develop black hat SEO instead of avoiding it to follow Google’s guidelines and avoid Google penalties. Because somehow, black hat SEO is the easiest way to make your content climb to the top against other sites.

Black hat SEO refers to strategies used to increase a website’s ranking that go against the terms of service of major search engines. Black hat SEO techniques employ manipulation in search engine algorithms to place the site’s ranking on top.

Google and Bing are pretty explicit about what kinds of behaviour are prohibited by their terms of service. What happens if you break their rules is also made abundantly apparent by Google’s webmaster guidelines. Penalization (algorithmic or manual) for using black hat SEO practices can result in a drop in search engine rankings and, consequently, a decrease in organic traffic.

What are the risks to it?

Black hat SEO is not illegal. However, it is against search engines’ rules for web admins. Simply put, it’s still forbidden by law. Because of this, anyone who uses unethical SEO practices should be prepared to suffer severe repercussions. If your website receives a penalty from Google or other search engines, it will either plummet in the rankings or be eliminated. Since fewer people visit your site, fewer people will buy from you.

For example, Google and Bing have improved over time at identifying and punishing “black hat” SEO techniques. Black hat SEO practitioners can expect to be exposed eventually. Using black hat SEO practices does not help the search engine or the user. Black hat SEO can boost your rankings in the short term, but of course, in the long run, it can hurt your search rankings and reputation in digital marketing as it will result in negative SEO with low-quality content.


Here are some examples of black hat SEO.

Groupon’s Bait and Switch

San Francisco Comprehensive Tours accused Groupon of engaging in bait and switch business practices. The voucher website continued to market the campaign on Google long after it had expired, even though the tour business had run the promotion in conjunction with Groupon as a one-time-only offer. When users clicked on Groupon’s page, they were disappointed that the information had been changed and there was no longer a deal available. This bait and switch took place in an advertisement paid for with PPC, but it also frequently occurs in organic results.

J.C. Penney’s Black Hat Links

J.C. Penney achieved the highest position in the search engine results page for a significant majority of terms, ranging from “tight pants” to “home decor.” The remarkable success of the business in search results occurred at the ideal time, which was right around the holiday season. This impressive performance in search results was made possible by using black hat SEO link-building strategies that avoided Google’s detection.

Doug Pierce found a little more than 2,000 backlinks to various websites. Anchor text in these links comprises J.C. Penney’s target keywords, which the company hoped to score highly for in search engines. Most of the links were discovered on websites that had nothing to do with J.C. Penney. These websites covered a wide variety of themes, from casinos to automobiles. In an interview with the New York Times, J.C. Penney stated that the company bears no responsibility for the discovered links.

J.C. Penney was found to have breached Google’s webmaster guidelines after the search engine confirmed that their actions violated those criteria. Google also disclosed that J.C. Penney had violated those guidelines three other times in the past. J.C. Penney was hit with a Google penalty, which caused them to fall over seventy positions on the search engine’s results page for terms such as “living room furniture.”

Sprint’s User-Generated Spam

In 2013, a user named Redleg x3 commented on Google’s Webmaster Central forum about Sprint’s website spam. Google’s Matt Cutts said he saw most of the spam deleted from the page. He said the business should “detect spam faster or make it difficult for spammers to post on community pages.”

Forbes Selling Links

Someone from Forbes posted on the Google Webmaster Central forum about a link violation. The notice requested that Forbes remove unnatural links.

Google’s Matt Cutts said he’d repeatedly validated purchased links pass PageRank. Cutts suggested Forbes remove PageRank-passing links to reverse the penalty. TechCrunch reported that Forbes started removing links in 2011.

Google Chrome’s Paid Link

Even Google messes up SEO sometimes. In a Google Chrome sponsored piece, they included a follow link. The corporation paid for the link. Thus, it’s black hat SEO.

Black Hat SEO Techniques

SEO has specific guidelines. Rules are set to offer a practical, relevant, and safe environment and improve the user experience. High rankings require keeping up with SEO trends and adapting to algorithm modifications.

Spammers strive to circumvent search engines and get organic website traffic by breaching restrictions. These are black-hat SEO strategies.

Keyword Stuffing

To boost a page’s position in search engine results, “keyword stuffing” is when irrelevant keywords are crammed into the text. The user experience suffers when irrelevant keyword variants are included. 

By definition, to increase a page’s search engine rankings and natural traffic, “keyword stuffing” entails repeatedly utilizing the exact keywords across the page. It’s not user-friendly to have keywords crammed throughout your content.

Google defines keyword stuffing as:

  • Numbers in a file without anything else to provide in the way of value.

  • Keyword-focused text blocks that list individual cities and states.

  • That which is repeated so often that it loses its natural flow is called a cliche.


Cloaking is the practice of hiding one version of a page from users while presenting another version to crawlers. Black hat SEO websites would employ such strategies to boost their rankings for keywords that have nothing to do with their content. This is one tactic spam websites employ to conceal the spammy material they offer to unsuspecting customers from search engine crawlers.

It’s OK to make slight adjustments to your content for specific audience demographics. When a user accesses your site from a mobile device, you can tailor the experience by, for instance, reducing the page size. Tailoring a page’s language to the visitor’s location is possible. To generate revenue, media outlets like Forbes and Inc. may rotate the advertisements on their pages. These are perfectly valid examples as long as you are not just changing the content that appears to search engine crawlers.

Poor Quality or Duplicate Content

Duplicate content, as its name implies, is content that has been copied and pasted from one site to another. This occurs when large chunks of text from multiple sources are identical or very similar to one another. Intentionally duplicating material across multiple domains is widely seen as a spammy black hat tactic because search engines value originality more highly. It’s obvious evidence of manipulating search engine rankings when the same results are found in the Google listing, and it usually leads to a negative user experience that’s less engaging.

In addition to affecting several domains, the same material can also affect a single one. The second scenario is less severe because it indicates ignorance or carelessness. This is why having a canonical tag to point to the initial publication of your content is so important. This prevents Google bots from seeing duplicate content.

Spam Comments

This black hat SEO technique entails strategically placing links to your site within blog comments. This is less common because search engines like Google have changed their algorithms to ignore links in blog comments.

Links in blog comments are not followed by most credible blogs these days. This means that the link will not be followed by search engines like Google and will not carry any weight with the relevant authority domains.

Paid Links

Link exchanges are prohibited on Google and other major search engines. Link schemes that manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results are against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, as stated on their site. This includes, but is not limited to, providing free goods in exchange for a link on the website.

Having other sites link to your work should not cost you anything. Google asks users to tell them about instances of people selling or buying links. Both the buyer and seller of links will have a penalty once the practice is detected.

Exploiting Rich Snippets

Rich snippets and schema are other names for structured data. One of its benefits is that it gives you control over how your site appears in search engine results. It gives you additional real estate on search engine results pages and makes your content stand out from the crowd.

Podcasts, recipes, books, and other media can benefit from having structured data added to their respective product pages. Perhaps the most commonly used form of structured data is review schema markup.

To rank higher in search results and trick users, black hat SEOs may often use misleading or false structured data. A black hat SEO might give themselves five stars on a phony review site and use structured data to boost their visibility in search engine rankings, for instance.

Hidden Text

Clear as mud? Invisible text is achieved by placing white text—a set of keywords—against a white background.

Using this strategy, search engines can still find and index keywords without them being apparent to human visitors.

Private Blog Networks (PNB)

A PBN is a group of authoritative websites used for link building. They’re like link farms because they try to boost a website’s link count.

Each PBN site links to the site they want to boost, but not each other.

Blackhat SEOs are building a private network by buying expired names with authority. They’ll write comparable content to what was on the expired domain and add links. They think search engines won’t discover they control multiple websites and rank their leading site higher.

Search engines are getting better at recognizing PBNs, and your site could be penalized if you use them. Instead of establishing bogus websites, focus on your content. Keeping your material under one domain makes your site authoritative because everyone links to it.

Article Spinning

Article spinning or content spinning employs computer software to rewrite a piece of text, such as a blog post or webpage, utilizing synonyms and grammatical tricks to produce fresh, unique material.

Doorway Pages

Google prohibits creating pages that target specific search keywords and route users to one page. These pages are gateways.

Every page on your site should have a purpose, and you shouldn’t create pages for irrelevant keywords.

Misleading Redirects

Redirects bring people to a different URL than they clicked. Black-hat SEO misuses redirection. Like cloaking, this involves routing crawlers and other users to different pages.


There’s a lot of rivalry for first-page Google results. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a robust marketing technique to improve organic website traffic.

If you want to be placed in a higher position, avoid black hat SEO and continue making quality content that fits the Google guidelines and search engine terms. As a reader, be alert and report black hat SEO if you found any.

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