What is: Black Hat SEO?

Define Black Hat SEO

Table of Contents


Black Hat SEO refers to the tactics or practices that are used to boost a site or page’s rank in search results by violating the terms or guidelines of search engines.

Detailed Explanation of Black Hat SEO

In the realm of SEO (search engine optimization), there is a long list of tactics, methods, and strategies. Since search engine optimization is extremely important in order for websites to show up in search results, it’s no wonder that there is so much information available on the internet.

It’s no secret that showing up in search results is absolutely essential for business or endeavor growth. However, it is necessary to note that there are right and wrong ways to go about search engine optimization – black hat SEO is one of the wrong ways. In a quest to rank your website higher in Google (or any other search engine) search results, you can actually end up weakening your website’s ranking rather than improving it. This, of course, is counterintuitive and is reason enough to avoid black hat SEO and the rest of the SEO “dark magic.”

In this glossary article, you’ll learn a few things about black hat SEO, such as what it is, what tactics and/or methods count as black hat SEO and more.

What is Black Hat SEO?

As mentioned above, black hat SEO is one of the wrong ways to go about search engine optimization. Black hat SEO is a term describing any SEO practice that is used to increase a website’s search ranking via methods that work against search engines’ terms and conditions of service.

Originally, the term “black hat” was used in many Western films as a means to make a distinction between the good guys and the bad guys – good guys wore white hats, and bad guys wore black hats. In today’s technologically advanced world, the term black hat is popularly used as a way of describing virus creators, hackers, black market sellers, and any other persons who participate in illegal or unethical activities related to computers and the web.

You should understand that black hat SEO tactics – although dressed up as ranking “quick fixes” – are actually some of the worst mistakes you can make for your business or website. Not only can black hat SEO utilization cause your site to rank lower in search rankings, but it can also result in your website being banned from the search engine(s) entirely, which brings your website’s traffic to a sudden halt, resulting in loss of business and revenue.

Documented Black Hat SEO Techniques

If you’re uncertain about whether an SEO tactic is black hat SEO or not, all search engines provide a list of practices that they consider as such. However, below are some of the most widely recognized black hat SEO tactics that you should avoid in your SEO strategy:

  • Doorway pages
  • Automation of content
  • SEO keyword stuffing
  • Hidden text links
  • Misleading redirect links
  • Cloaking
  • Guest posting networks
  • Buying links
  • Spinning articles
  • Link farms or networks
  • Automated Google queries
  • Duplicating content or creating duplicate websites
  • Spammy pages showing malicious behavior, including viruses and trojans

What You Should Do About Black Hat SEO

First of all, you should avoid utilizing black hat SEO tactics in your strategy. If you use black hat SEO tactics, you can potentially get your website ranked lower in search results or, worse, banned from Google or other search engines completely. Some people find short term success with black hat SEO due to a small boost in traffic, but Google (and other search engines) are buckling down to give websites that use black hat SEO the boot. Instead, focus on organic SEO strategies such as excellent content, using optimal keywords, and having a great marketing strategy in place.