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What is Black-Hat SEO and Why is it Dangerous

Updated on October 4, 2016

What is BlackHat SEO?

In your never-ending quest to boost your google rank, you've no doubt encountered the term Black-Hat SEO but you likely only have a vague grasp of what these techniques really entail or whether you should be considering using Blackhat techniques for your own Search Engine Optimiziation.

BlackHat SEO is a catch-all term for various techniques that exploit loopholes in Google's (and other search engines') ranking system. The idea is to achieve the (in appearance or reality) the most desirable qualities in a website from an SEO perspective, but to do so through underhanded, or unnatural means.

What Are Some Examples of Black-Hat SEO?

There are literally hundreds of techniques employed by Blackhat practitioners. Some of them even masquerade as White-Hat techniques, especially when it comes to link-buildilng services. This is why you should be very wary of buying backlinks to your website, because nearly all of the affordable backlinking services actually employ BlackHat techniques.

Some Examples of BlackHat SEO:

  • Backlink building through Spambots or CommentBots
  • Paying for Backlinks
  • Creating backlinks from high PR pages through security exploits
  • Using multiple H1 header tags on a page
  • Creating endless keyword anchor link chains within a website
  • Hiding extra keywords on your website through techniques like:
    1. Hiding extra keywords with colored text on the same colored background
    2. Hiding keywords in HTML code or comments
    3. Creating doorway pages stuffed with keywords for SEO, but autoredirecting the user so only search engines actually see the doorway page.

Why would someone use BlackHat SEO?

The short answer is because BlackHat SEO Works! Well, this is true at least in the short term. If it didn't work, you wouldn't see so many people willing to risk Google penalties to employ these techniques. Unless you're launching your website with the backing of thousands of dollars for advertising and promotion, there's no more effective way to boost your ranking quickly than with BlackHat techniques. The reason is that BlackHat SEO is designed to create the illusion of optimized, authoritative, high PageRank sites, even if very young websites/

So wait, you're telling me that BlackHat SEO works and it's way easier and less time intensive than natural, WhiteHat SEO. What am I waiting for? Are there any reasons you shouldn't use BlackHat SEO? There sure are, and they're big reasons!

Why BlackHat SEO Is Dangerous!

You may outsmart Google in the short run, but if you really think you're going to stay one step ahead of Google's army of brilliant software engineers for long, you've got another thing coming. Google's primary objective is to make sure the highest quality websites make it to the top of the rankings. Since the websites employing Blackhat SEO are the less useful, or less established sites that are trying to catch up through unnatural means, succeeding in achieving a top 5 rank can put a target on your back.

Google is constantly updating the algorithm that they use to generate search engine ranking pages (SERP's). With each successive update, they do their best to close a few more of the loopholes that BlackHat practitioners seek to exploit. It's not that Google isn't aware of the tricks being employed. Google knows. It just takes a while to figure out how to teach the search engine to make the distinction between what is authentic and what is Blackhat. Because Blackhat is designed to mimic the appearance of WhiteHat SEO, this part can be very tricky, and Google doesn't want to accidentally punish websites that have built their reputation through legitimate means

Because it takes so much effort for Google to close the SEO loopholes, they add an extra penalty when your site gets flagged.

You may be thinking that you'll use BlackHat tricks until they close the loophole and then you'll just find a new one, but it's not that simple. Just like the IRS, Google ads a Penalty plus interest! Websites that have been flagged for BlackHat violations not only have all of their phony links disregarded by Google (causing a natural ranking drop) but Google may also tack on an additional penalty and bury your site in the 5th, 6th, or even 10th page of Google, where no one will ever find you. Sites that commit particularly egregious SEO crimes can even be banished from Google altogether, So think twice before you buy those 100 .Gov or .Edu backlnks for $99, and decide whether it's worth. For some people, this answer will always be: Yes.

What Type of Sites Should Use BlackHat SEO?

If you care about your website's long-term reputation and Google ranking, you should not use Blackhat SEO (with the possible exception of some natural link building services when your siste is more established).

BlackHat SEO is best for websites that don't care if they're around in 6 months. While this doesn't apply to most of us, it does apply to many internet marketers or those trying to drive traffic to a particular website or product. If one domain gets punished, they can easily launch another because they don't have that much effort invested in any one domain or website. The market and the ranking system create the incentive to cheat, and there will always be people willing to take the risks to reap the rewards of BlackHat SEO. Just make sure you can live with the consequences if you decide to give it a try...


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    • CrescentSkies profile image

      Michael Ward 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Out of curiosity how did you test this? I ask because if you just typed your keywords into google and your hub appeared in the first page it really is meaningless, Google will alter your search results based on what sites you normally visit from your computer. The only way to reliably check your SERP is to use one of a number of special tools.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Matthias M. 

      6 years ago from USA Baby

      I'm not sure that google 'punishes' hubpages. We actually get a natural bump and exposure that we wouldn't get otherwise. I do very little backlinking and find that I'm usually on the 2nd page and occasionally first page of google for keywords I'm targetting. It is fair to say that we get very little 'bump' for backlinks we create to hubpages, but as your hubpages footprint grows I bet google exposure will grow as well.

    • CrescentSkies profile image

      Michael Ward 

      6 years ago from Texas

      The thing is, EVERY link that you create by yourself is not well loved by Google. No matter where you make it, they believe all links should be made altruistically.

      The contradiction here is that nobody will post your link altruistically if they can't find it in the first place! If you don't advertise yourself "somewhere" you'll never get found, and our poor hub traffic shows how good Google is at giving people with good content a chance at this.

      It's true that spam needs to be controlled but Google has failed in differentiating spam from simply sharing your link on sites that are built for it (like directories or social bookmarking sites).

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Matthias M. 

      6 years ago from USA Baby

      You're right CrescentSkies and actually I agree with google. Most links generated from blog commenting have almost no value besides creating a dofollow link. At the very least it shows a blog owner willing to put in effort, so that should be better than nothing, but in the end, what value do you think 1000 backlinks from the 2nd comment page of another blog should really confer to the linked page. Google wants to count only organic links and I don't blame them. That's why higher-end blackhat techniques work so well, because they mimic organic links.

    • CrescentSkies profile image

      Michael Ward 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Actually by Google's terms normal link building in general is considered black hat seo. Google has decided that any attempt to promote your website via backlink building is automatically bad and "attempts" to penalize for it.

      That's why all the hubpages traffic has gone down so considerably. Their stupid algorithm adjustments have caught us legitimate users up with the black hatters.


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