Black Hat SEO - How to Avoid Getting Hammered?

In recent years the competition in almost any niche has significantly increased. This has made it very difficult for websites to rank organically on search engines. Many websites that want to find quicker ways to rank on search engines use black hat SEO.
This is also referred to spamdexing (as shown in knowledge graph), search spam, search engine spam, web spam, or search engine poisoning and
Black hat SEO is against search engines’ guidelines and violates their terms. They may give some results initially. Over time, there is a high risk of negative consequences from using black hat SEO tactics.
In this guide, let’s discuss everything about black hat SEO. We’ll also look at the tactics that fall under the black hat SEO category and avoid them.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is a set of tactics to increase organic ranking in search engines. These tactics do not adhere to search engines’ terms of service. Search engines such as Google and Bing directly oppose the use of such tactics.
Some of these tactics include:
Black hat SEO violates the guidelines by search engines. This is mainly because these techniques do not add any value to the users. Their only purpose is to increase the website’s search engine rankings. In comparison, search engines want to rank only those websites that add value to their users.
Black hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing and link farms are strongly discouraged by search engines. Resorting to such techniques that add no value to the users may result in a penalty for your website. Or worse, your site may even get banned from search engines and affiliate networks.
Having a thorough knowledge about various black hat SEO techniques is important. You may not plan on using any such tactics. But, unknowingly, you may end up using any such black hat SEO techniques. This will have negative consequences for your website. All the efforts that you put in to grow your website’s traffic will go down the drain.
Therefore, it is important to understand the different types of black hat SEO techniques. This will help you to avoid them. You should also know the difference between black hat and white hat SEO tactics.

Why Should You Avoid Black Hat SEO Techniques?

Now that you know the meaning of black hat SEO, let’s look at some top reasons you should avoid it.

1. Black Hat SEO Techniques May Lead to Lowering of Website Rankings

The primary reason you should avoid using black hat SEO techniques is that it will lower reach. Use of black hat SEO may result in search engines penalizing your website. Search engines do this by algorithm filtering techniques that identify black hat techniques. Or even manual action taken by Google may result in penalties for your site.
SEOs have to keep a tab on Google search console Manual Actions to check if they have received any actions from the list.
This can lead to significant losses for your business. If your primary source of leads is from search engines, you may be a massive loss. Your website traffic will significantly drop. Your business’s revenue will drop.
Your business will be at the risk of running at losses. Or you may even have to close your company. To recover from the drop in your website ranking, you may have to invest in paid traffic. This can be through techniques like PPC that may require huge monetary investments.

2. Black Hat SEO Only Leads to Short Term Results

Another major reason why you must avoid black hat SEO techniques is that the results (if any) are only short-lived. Search engines are always on the lookout for such spammy techniques. Such techniques harm the user experience. Once detected, search engines take measures to ban the use of such spammy techniques.
Some sites use structured data to provide fake news and pull the audience towards them.
Hence, if you are resorting to black hat SEO techniques, the results won’t last long. Google will soon identify and take measures to stop their usage. In this process, Google may even penalize your site, as discussed in the previous point.
Hence, black hat SEO techniques do not offer any stability. You may find some spike in the rankings for a while. But, your traffic and rankings are sure to go down in some time. Hence, it is best to avoid such spammy tactics and stick to white hat SEO.

3. Search Engines May Ban Your Website

Apart from penalizing your site, there is a high chance that search engines may even ban your website. This means that your website may completely disappear from search engines.
Suppose that you’ve been getting a steady stream of traffic from these search engines. Then imagine the kind of effect such a ban will have on your business. You may lose most of your business prospects and leads. Your entire business may run into a loss.
This is why it is important not to use such black hat SEO techniques. These result only in instant gratification. Over time, the consequences may even lead to the closure of your company.

4. Black Hat SEO Techniques Result in Poor User Experience

A decade ago, many spammy SEO techniques used to go unnoticed. But today, search engines are mainly focused on offering the best possible user experience.
Black hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing significantly affect user experience. Search engines do not want to risk the websites that affect user experience. This is because a bad user experience leads to unhappy users.

Related : Importance of UX for an eCommerce site & How it Impacts your SEO?

Moreover, offering a bad user experience will also affect your business. Any business’s primary goal is not just to get organic traffic. Instead, it is to generate high-quality leads.
With a lousy user experience, it is not possible to generate high-quality leads. Most users landing on the website will bounce. Therefore, it is wiser to stick to white hat SEO techniques that lead to a good user experience.

Black Hat SEO Vs. White Hat SEO

Let’s look at the differences between white hat and black hat SEO.

White Hat SEO Black Hat SEO
White hat SEO is the process of using ethical SEO tactics. These tactics follow search engines’ guidelines. Black hat SEO refers to the process of using unethical tactics. These tactics go against search engines’ terms of service.
The primary aim of white hat SEO is to offer the best possible value to users. White hat techniques ensure that your website offers a good user experience. The sole purpose of black hat SEO techniques is to find ways to rank higher on search engines. The reason why search engines discourage the use of such tactics is that they hurt user experience.
By following white hat SEO techniques, you are bound to get results that last long term. Black hat SEO techniques may show results for a short while. But, the results do not last long term. This is because search engines eventually catch up with such tactics. They quickly and find ways to penalize websites.
White hat SEO strategies target both human audiences and search engines. They aim at offering value to humans. They also aim to improve your rankings on search engines. Unlike white hat SEO, black hat SEO only targets search engines. Black hat SEO techniques in no way benefit human audiences.
Following white hat SEO techniques will ensure that your audience finds value in your offering. This will help you earn a good reputation for your brand over time. Black hat SEO techniques are often spammy and fraudulent. Following such tactics may lead to a bad reputation for your brand.
The white hat SEO techniques used for backlink building help you build a strong link profile. With consistent efforts, you can earn a considerable number of high-quality links over time. Backlinks earned from white hat tactics are mostly spammy. Such links seldom contribute to good link equity and are of no value eventually.
White hat SEO techniques aim to improve website traffic. They also improve your conversions. Following white techniques will fetch you good results. These can be higher ROI and good conversion rates. In comparison, black hat SEO techniques only aim to bring traffic to your website. But, due to a bad user experience, most of such visitors will not convert. Hence, the value you earn from following black hat SEO is too low.

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List of Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid

Search engines classify specific techniques like black hat SEO. It’s better to understand these techniques and avoid their usage. Here’s a list of the most common black hat SEO techniques that you must avoid.

1. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the process of excessively using keywords in your content. Keyword stuffing involves the usage of keywords more than it is necessary. This makes the content look unnatural and hard to read. Readers will find it difficult to read and comprehend your content.
Sometimes, it also irritates the users.
Many website owners use keyword stuffing as a practice to increase the keyword density of their content. This may help the website rank higher for the keyword. This technique worked a long while ago. But today, Google is aware of keyword stuffing, and if caught, Google may penalize your site.
To avoid keyword stuffing, ensure that the keywords in your content appear naturally. It is good practice to keep the density of keywords below 1 to 2%.

2. Duplicate Content

Content duplication is a big no when it comes to following white hat SEO techniques. Today, it is difficult to produce high-quality, original content. This is why many websites resort to adding duplicate content to their site.
You can add duplicate content by publishing the same content on your website using different URLs. Another way to do it is to use other articles worldwide and publish them on your site as your own. Search engines strictly categorize both these techniques as black hat SEO.
Furthermore, even the owners of the content can take legal action. Either way, it’s harmful to your business.
Even changing a few words here and there doesn't count as original content. You must ensure that every piece of content that you publish on your site is unique. You should overlap as much of the content as much as possible.

3. Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

Private Blog Networks or PBNs are places where website owners can buy line equity from high authority websites. High-quality backlinks are one of the top three ranking factors for Google.
Getting high-quality backlinks through genuine means can be difficult and time-consuming. This is why many new website owners use PBNs for link building.
Also, some businesses assume that getting these links are cheaper than hiring link building outreach specialists.
Search engines consider PBNs as black hat SEO. This is because their sole purpose is to promote sponsored content. Instead of genuinely creating content that adds value to the users, PBNs go against Google’s terms.
Hence, do not resort to such PBNs, also known as links farms. Instead, try white hat techniques to build high-quality links to your site. This may take you considerable time and effort. But, the results will be worth everything.

4. Low-Quality Content

Believe it or not, but publishing low-quality content also qualifies as black hat SEO. As mentioned before, Google wants to improve the experience of its users. Hence, any piece of content that doesn't add value to its users is of poor quality.
Poor quality content may be in the form of content that is not original or in-depth. You must avoid content that is inaccurate, inappropriate, repetitive, and shallow at any cost. Such content doesn't add any value to your website visitors. The only purpose of low-quality content is to rank on Google.
According to quality rater guidelines, the content in a page is considered low quality when:
Instead, try to publish high-quality, accurate content that matches search intent. Research your users and try to understand the type of content that will add value to them.
Try to go in-depth with any topic you cover. Also, ensure that the content you publish is as accurate as possible. You can even run your content through experts before publishing it.

5. Doorway Pages

Doorway or gateway pages are usually intermediate pages. These pages funnel visitors to another useful page of your website. Marketers create doorway pages solely for ranking highly for specific search queries.
Search engines like Google qualify doorway pages are black hat SEO techniques. This is because these offer bad experiences to users. Doorway pages can lead to a variety of the same set of pages on the search engine results page. This means users will encounter the same information for every result.
Google has given examples of doorway pages here.
An example of doorways would be pages targeted at specific regions that funnel visitors to one page. Instead of using doorways, you must create original, meaningful content that helps out your users.

6. Content Cloaking

Content cloaking is the technique of offering different content or URLs to humans and search engines. This is a click-bait technique as users do not receive the content that they expect. Content cloaking is solely for ranking higher on search engine results pages.
For example, the site shown here is a manufacturer of ceramic bodies, but they are ranking for a medical term.
You should avoid using content cloaking as it does not offer any value to your users. Scammers use this to lure visitors into their website. They do this by adding enticing titles that don't match the content. Or another way website owners use it is to offer keyword-stuffed content to search engines. This content is not visible to users.
Avoid using black hat techniques such as content cloaking. Instead, you should aim to create value-packed content. Do not create different content or URLs for humans and search engines. Also, try to add titles, URLs, and meta descriptions that explain your content’s context.

7. Adding Hidden Texts

As described above, keyword stuffing refers to stuffing your content with keywords. Doing this will hurt the user experience. This is because stuffing keywords will make the content seem unnatural. The content will be difficult to comprehend.
To overcome this, black hat SEO practitioners use hidden texts. These are texts that are the same color as the background color of the page. Or some add hidden text by making the font size zero. Through hidden texts, marketers achieve keyword stuffing without hurting the user experience.
Website owners add hidden text for the main purpose of ranking higher on search engines. This is why search engines do not approve of this technique. Search engine crawlers today are quite advanced. Hence, search engines are easily able to detect these black hat SEO tactics.

8. Deceptive Redirects

Adding website redirects is an integral part of good SEO. SEO experts use URL redirects while migrating content from an old URL to a new one. Search engines consider redirects as a black hat SEO technique only when it is deceptive.
Black hat SEO practitioners use deceptive redirects to pass link authority and traffic to a low-quality page. The content of the redirected page does not match the original URL. Such deceptive redirects hurt user experience.
Hence, whenever you are using redirects, ensure that the redirects are valid. You must ensure that you deliver the content that you originally promised to your users.

9. Link Schemes

Link building plays a major role in Google’s PageRank algorithm. Building authoritative, high-quality links can be difficult. Hence, you may want to resort to some link schemes that help you build high-quality links for your website.
These techniques may seem harmless. But, it is important to know that you may get penalized for involving in link schemes.
According to Google, any links to manipulate the PageRank algorithm are a violation. Here are a few examples of link schemes that you must avoid:

  • Buying or selling links
  • Exchanging services for links
  • Sending free products in exchange for links
  • Excessive link exchanges ‘It’s often excessively done through social media connections
  • Automated services that create backlinks for your website
  • Large scale guest posting campaigns

Many marketers are unaware of the fact that these link schemes fall under the black hat SEO category. It is important to beware of such link schemes. Search engines are likely to penalize you for indulging in such black hat SEO link schemes.

10. Link Farms

Links farms are another spammy SEO technique that is similar to link schemes. Link farms are often advertised as a link-building service to your website. It is best to stay away from such services as Google may penalize your website.
A link farm is often a group of websites that increase the link equity of another site. They do this by increasing the number of inbound links. Such websites are of no value to search engine users. The links added to such link farms are usually unrelated and irrelevant.
Any links that you can get from such link farms will be useless. So, it’s better to avoid getting involved in it.
These links are only to rank higher on search engines. Following link farm services is a clear violation of Google’s terms of service. Therefore, it is important to avoid any involvement in such link farms.

11. Abusive Use of Structured Data and Rich Snippets

Structured data and rich snippets are a part of healthy SEO tactics. These helps search engines like Google comprehend the contents of any webpage. The right use of structured data and rich snippets can help you increase your rankings. But violating these falls under black hat SEO.
Marketers sometimes abuse structured data and rich snippets. They do this to offer search engines information that is incorrect.
For example, marketers may violate structured data to show higher ratings and reviews. When users see these ratings on search engine results pages, they get deceived. This is because the information is inaccurate.
Therefore, ensure that you do not violate structured data and rich snippets. Instead, use these features to present the correct information to search engines. This will help you improve your search engine rankings over time. You’ll also be adding value to your users.

12. Comment Spamming

Comment spamming is another black hat SEO practice that was huge a few years ago. Comment spamming is the process of adding links to your website on comments of other websites. While this may seem harmless, it is very important to avoid this.
For example, as shown in the image below, several bots and spam sites comment with the sole reason of getting a backlink or spamming your web page.
Over the years, search engine algorithms have gotten smarter. Nowadays, websites automatically categorize the links added to the comments as no-follow links. Still, you will find many spammy services that offer comment spamming as a service.
If your website consists of such spammy comments, then Google may take down your page. Hence, make sure that you remove such comments from your site. Similarly, suppose that you have resorted to adding your website link on comments before. Then, ensure that you remove all such links.

13. Negative SEO

If you thought that SEO experts use black hat SEO only for their website, then you are wrong. Some even follow such techniques for their competitors’ websites. Marketers do this to get the competitors’ websites penalized or banned by search engines.
Marketers usually carry out negative SEO by falsely reporting their competitors’ sites. Or, they may even actually send some spammy links to their competitors’ websites. This is so that it appears that the competitors are practicing black hat SEO.
It is very important not to fall too low and create negative SEO for other websites. Search engine algorithms are getting cleverer with every passing day. And you may be the one getting penalized for the same.
You should also beware of negative SEO for your website. It is a good practice to monitor your link profile frequently. If you find any such spammy links, you should immediately remove them.

14. Content Spinning

Content spinning is another black hat SEO tactic. This was popular amongst marketers a few years ago. Writing original content is difficult. This is why content spinning may seem like an easy way to produce tons of new content.
Content spinning involves replacing a piece of content with synonyms so that it turns into a new article. The article will seem new to search engine algorithms. Marketers do content spinning either manually or through automated software.
There are several spinning tools out there, but none of them can escape the wrath of Google algorithms.
Google’s algorithms easily catch content spinning after the Penguin update. Another disadvantage of this practice is that the content produced this way may not look natural. The content will not be readable to users. Hence, try to avoid content spinning.


SEO is a long process and will take considerable effort. White hat SEO won’t fetch you results overnight. But the results that you get will be worth it. To get quick results, many marketers resort to black hat SEO techniques.
Such techniques put you at the risk of penalization and search engine ban. Also, following such techniques will hurt your user experience. And this will thus lead to lowered conversions.
Therefore, it is always best to educate yourself about black hat SEO. And make efforts to avoid such techniques altogether.
Schedule a call with our SEO expert to save your site and avoid getting hurt from search engines.

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