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How Can I Avoid Black Hat SEO and What is It?

Updated on January 1, 2016

It’s common practice for a business that owns a website to initiate an SEO or link building campaign to help increase their ranking in Google which in turn will hopefully increase website visitors resulting in more revenue. Problem is that there are so many of these SEO experts and link building campaigns that practice black hat techniques without the client’s knowledge. The company pays the fee without realizing that these “experts” have in fact done them a disservice.

Black hatters are coming up with new tactics every day to try and get around the algorithm changes that Google is releasing on a regular basis when they look at a site to determine rankings. Some of the tactics in black hat SEO are still being used and your website could become the next victim without you even knowing it.

Learning how to SEO for your own website will help keep you in control of where all of your link building and SEO activities end up. It can be frustrating to purchase SEO service only to find out later that black hat techniques were used and your website was penalized because of it.

Some of the Most Common Types of Black Hat SEO and Black Hat LinkBuilding:


Keyword Stuffing

This is accomplished by evaluating the best key words for the niche of the website and filling the site with those particular words. For example, some of the current best keywords for a site about black hat seo are website seo, how to seo, seo site and seo company. An example of keyword stuffing would be to post an article on the website with each one of those words showing up multiple times in the article, sometimes to the point where it doesn’t make any sense at all when a person actually read it.

Google's View on Links (Take note he says ORGANIC links)

Blog Commenting

In moderation and if it is completely a legitimate comment because you are following a specific blog, then this is not a black hat technique. If your site is about kittens and you repeatedly post comments on blogs about random subjects with comments that is irrelevant to the post and a link to your site, then that is a black hat linkbuilding technique.

Blog commenting for the specific purpose of building links to a website is a black hat SEO tactic. Search engines are privy to this tactic and are taking the steps necessary to identify this type of black hat link building and penalize the sites that practice it.

Hidden Text and Keywords

This is when there is a bunch of invisible text somewhere on the page that the human eye can’t see unless it is highlighted but the web crawlers will see it. It is usually done by having a solid color background and text the same color of the background.

If you see a large blank area on a website, you can see any hidden text by right clicking your mouse and dragging the cursor across it. This practice isn't quite a common as it used to be but it was a prevalent and encouraged black hat SEO tactic in recent times.

How Spam Blog Comments can Hurt Your Site

Spam Blogs and “Doorway” Pages

Spam blogs are set up in a blogging format but the entries have absolutely nothing to do with each other and all contain a link to a website. These are usually crated by an SEO company or a link building campaign. The articles are usually full of keyword stuffing and give no useful information what so ever. Many SEO companies and link building companies use this technique.

These blogs are also sometimes referred to as doorway pages. SEO companies break their necks to legitimize the use of this black hat technique because to anyone who doesn’t keep up with Google’s TOS, it seems legitimate on the surface.

Most of these blogs are placed on urls that have been purchased after expiration. These blogs have at one point had a ranking within Google and other search engine pages and that makes the url perfect for spamming. The blog follower returns to read a new post or the url shows up in search for a completely unrelated keyword search only to have the reader or user land on a blog that has been changed overnight.

Other Reasons Why Black Hat SEO and Link Building is Not a Good Idea

Search engines frown on black hat techniques and the reasons behind it really are common sense.

If someone is doing a search for how to train their dog, they are looking for information on how to train their dog. Being bombarded by websites that have nothing to do with their search query can be frustrating for the user and cause them to refer to a different search engine to acquire their information. As a result, the search engine loses possible revenue from paid ad placement.

Another reason is because point blank, people do not like to be fooled. That same person who is looking for dog training information may end up on your website selling kitten supplies but they won't make a purchase. You MIGHT score a bit higher in the search engine queries because of the temporary increase in traffic but is it worth being added to Google's sandbox site list in the process? Once your site is sandboxed, it's not easy to recover.

Learn How to SEO and Do it Yourself Safely for Free

Ultimately the best way to acquire a higher ranking in Google and other search engines is to do your homework and a few simple steps.

  • Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to adjust the keywords on your website that are relevant to your site to attract the highest ranking for key word searches.
  • Update the site on a consistent basis with relevant, unique information.
  • Offer link exchange with websites that have something in common with yours. This shows an organic back link that is relevant to your site.

When it's all said and done you'll have accomplished what others are paying thousands of dollars for. Free SEO that works, being known as a trustworthy company that stays away from black hat tactics with no chance of being sandboxed or blacklisted.

Do it yourself SEO is not going to provide results as quickly as black hat SEO but it does have some advantages. The site will grow organically with no chance of being sandboxed or penalized. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that every visitor to the site is there because they are interested in what is actually on the site which means that sales, leads and interactions will be more valuable. It makes for an all around more favorable experience for everyone.

Things to Ask SEO Companies to Avoid Black Hat Website Optimization Techniques

If you don't have the time to do your own SEO optimization for your website and decide to hire an SEO company or link building company to do the task for you, there are certain things that you should ask to make sure any and all black hat SEO techniques are not being used. Don't ever be afraid to ask questions. Your money and your website's reputation with the search engines are at risk and can be damaged beyond repair if you hire the wrong company to do your work.

Question #1- What is Your Company's Definition of Black Hat?

A white hat SEO company will go down the line with you on what they will not do and will welcome this kind of question to reassure you that they can do the job correctly. They will talk about organic links through respectable campaigns. They won't step around anything and their answers will be short because they won't need to convince you of why they are doing what they are doing for your website SEO.

A company that supports black hat tactics will feel the need to convince you and will ramble on about why they do what they do without reaching any real point or actually answering your question.

Question #2- Ask For the url of Everything They Do and Double Check It

It is surprisingly easy to see where the backlinks to your webpage are. You can easily go to Google Webmaster Tools and it will show you where your backlinks are located at. This is one way to double check and make sure that the SEO company that you hire to do your SEO work is giving you exactly what they said they would.

Ask the company to provide you with a list of everything they did and where every link that they may have placed is located. A black hat SEO or link building company will tell you that it's not necessary. It is even possible that the list they give you does not match up with what you see on Google Webmaster Tools.

Question #3- Ask About Their Previous Work

Don't be afraid to ask for references from previous work the company has done and call them. The laws of numbers suggest that the more SEO work a black hat company does, the more chances that a client will be sandboxed by Google. The only way to know is to check. Never take the SEO company's word for it. Do your due diligence to protect your site's reputation.

Some Suggestions from Google on SEO

In Conclusion

Black hat SEO isn't good for anyone except for the company that does it and you pay for it. You hire them to accomplish the task of increasing your website's visibility, ranking and visitors. Later you find out that your site has been placed on a number of spam blogs, random blog comments and other places around the web. Next your search engine ranking suffers because of it and your traffic drops because your site has been penalized by the search engines.

When a company is telling you what they will do for you to build your pagerank with SEO, listen closely. If something doesn't sound right at any point in the conversation, it's time to re-evaluate your SEO strategy and plans.

Good luck!


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    • TheBadJuJu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from USA

      @michiganman567 My opinion of that would be if the article or blog post is in line with the niche of your website then by all means, do it because since it falls in line, Google will see it as a positive link. If it isn't similar then I wouldn't use it because Google might very well look at that as an effort to just increase the number of backlinks to your site. I like to err of the safe side.

    • TheBadJuJu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from USA

      @spartucusjones Thank you! I am glad to hear it will help you out!

    • michiganman567 profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      What do you think of the comment programs that let you leave a link with your most recent article when you comment? Should we use those?

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 

      6 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Very informative and well researched hub! This will definitely be useful to my own writing.

    • TheBadJuJu profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from USA

      Thank you @Chris Hugh. White hat SEO is easier once you have the basic info.

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 

      6 years ago

      Good info. I'm gonna reread this hub carefully and learn some good techniques.


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