Avoid Black Hat SEO Techniques

Written By: Stephen Scott
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Black Hat search engine optimization is usually defined as techniques that are used to get higher search rankings in an illegal and unethical manner. Any technique which seeks to artificially inflate the rankings of a website by any means is termed as Black Hat. Black hat SEO techniques usually include one or more of the following characteristics:
  1. Breaks search engine rules and regulations.
  2. Creates a poor user experience directly because of the black hat SEO techniques utilized on the Web site.
  3. Unethically presents content in a different visual or non-visual way to search engine spiders and search engine users.

Many of the black hat techniques used today used to be legit, but many webmasters went overboard and now these techniques are frowned upon by search engines and the general SEO community at large. Ironically, many black hat techniques provide short-term gains in search engine rankings, but once you are discovered using these techniques on your website you will most likely be penalized by search engines.

In my opinion, Black Hat SEO tactics are very short sighted solution to a long-term challenge, which is to create a website that is both appealing to the user and at the same time, optimized for high ranking by the search engines.

Here are a few Black Hat SEO techniques you want to avoid:

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing involves adding long lists keywords into the content of page to make the search engines think a the web page being stuffed is more relevant for certain terms. This is used to increase the chances of listing the page higher for the keywords being stuffed. Using this tactic today however; will get your website penalized eventually by search engines.

Hiding Text

Similar to keyword stuffing, except that keywords are actually hidden in the web page and are not visible to users. One common way this is done is by adding text with the same color as the background. This method does not affect the readability of the main content, but does attempt to fake the search engines into thinking certain words appear more often on a page. Again, not a good way to attract searchers or search engine crawlers.

Doorway Pages

A doorway page is basically a “fake” page that the user will never see. It is purely for search engine spiders, and attempts to trick them into indexing the site higher. They do not possess any valuable content and are made to rank well in search engines for desired keywords and funnel users from search engines to the site of destination. They are not meant to be accessed from anywhere else than search engines.

Here's what Google says about Doorway Pages: "Whether deployed across many domains or established within one domain, doorway pages tend to frustrate users, and are in violation of our webmaster guidelines."


If you've ever clicked on a link, only to find that the web page you land on has nothing to do with what you expected, then you have been a victim of "Cloaking".

Also known as stealth, cloaking is a technique used by some Web sites to deliver one page to a search engine for indexing while serving an entirely different page to everyone else.

Avoid cloaking at all cost. This technique is easily detected by major search engines and can lead to your site being banned from the search index entirely.

Duplicate Content

Some webmasters have duplicated pages and even entire sites under different domain names. These duplicated pages are intended to improve SERP (Search Engine Result Page). This technique, like most of the Black Hat techniques discussed above, is easily detected by Major Search Engines. Duplicated sites are most likely to be penalized.

Link Farms

Having hundres of links on a single web page is an obvious flag for link farming and easily detected by search engines. Link farms are pages that have massive links to external pages.

If your website URL happens be be listed on a link farm page don't worry. Search engines will not penalize your website as they understand that webmasters have no control over other webmasters placing your URL on their pages. Therefore, do not worry if your link appears in a link farm page.

Black Hat SEO techniques are very tempting; after all, they actually do work, but only temporarily. They do end up getting sites higher search rankings; that is, until these same sites get banned for using unfair and unethical practices. It's just not worth the risk. Use efficient search engine optimization techniques to get your site ranked higher, and stay away from anything that even looks like Black Hat SEO.


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