Black Hat SEO Techniques

by Mike Barry CEO
Fort Collins Web Works LLC

Black hat SEO techniques are techniques for tricking search engines into ranking a website higher than it should in the search results and they are not approved of by search engines. Search engines will probably penalize your website or possibly ban it from their indices if a they find that you are using black hat SEO techniques. Some SEO experts use these techniques because they can quickly improve the search engine ranking of a website, until they are discovered. The search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to eliminate any benefit that black hat SEO techniques might be giving websites, so even if your website is never detected as an offender you might find that your ranking in the search engines drops overnight when a search engine algorithm changes.

Blog Spamming

Some people post comments to blogs and forums and discussion groups that don't contribute to the discussion, they just provide links back to the website they are trying to optimize for SEO. This can be prevented by manually moderating the discussions so only valuable content gets posted, or you can add the 're="nofollow"' attribute to links from the discussion.


Web servers know quite a bit about you when you request information from a web server. Sometimes websites are designed to send one set of information to normal users and another set of information to webcrawlers. This is called cloaking and it violates the rules of most search engines.

Content Scraping

Some companies create enormous websites because the search engines rank larger websites higher. It is expensive to create content so some unethical companies copy content from other websites to create their pages. Search engines discovered that this was becoming a problem so they started looking for sites that duplicate content from other sites and they penalize them. Unfortunately the search engines don't always get it right and sometimes they penalize the website that had the original content instead of the website with the duplicate content.

Doorway pages

Doorway pages are stuffed with keywords so they rank well in search engines, but they have no real content intended for users to see.

Invisible Text

Text the same color as the background, or too small to be seen, or text placed in a container with an invisible style will hide the text from users, but allow web crawlers to see it, violating most search engines' rule that you must present the same information to the web crawler as the users.

Keyword Stuffing

SEO experts used to insert many instances of keywords into pages to convince the search engines that they were important for the keyword. You want the search engines to find your keywords when they read your webpage, but if you insert them too many times or if you insert many instances of keywords that don't pertain to your website your are guilty of keyword stuffing. Most search engine algorithms detect keyword stuffing and discount any benefit your webpage may get from using this technique.

Link Farms

Some SEO companies create a large number of interlinked websites or a link farm. They add links to your website from many of their websites when you pay them to build incoming links. This can quickly boost your rankings in the search engine, but your will lose your ranking quickly when the search engines discover their link farm or when you quit paying the SEO company and they remove the links to your website.

Meta Tag Stuffing

It used to be a common practice to add many keywords unrelated to the webpage content to the keywords meta tag. Most search engines now ignore the keywords meta tag because it was abused so often.

Registering Expired Domains

Some SEO companies used to register domain names when they expire, then they add links to their own websites from the expired domain names to take advantage of the expired websites' search engine ranking.

There are many other techniques that black hat SEOs use to improve websites' rankings, but they are not recommended. If you hire someone to optimize your website for search engines, ask them what they plan to do to improve your rankings. Don't hire them if they plan to use any black hat techniques.

refs: Wikipedia, Google

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