Black Hat SEO

Glossary  |  2 mins

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Black hat SEO refers to any SEO work that goes against search engine guidelines in an attempt to artificially raise a site’s rankings. Like ethical (white hat) SEO, black hat SEO can cover a wide range of methods and strategies, such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, and building black hat backlinks through private blog networks or paid backlinks on low-quality referring domains.

Unlike ethical SEO, however, black hat SEO doesn’t seek to resolve a searcher’s query, and has a singular focus on driving a website up a given page of search results regardless of how valuable the content is. For this reason, black hat SEO methods often incur penalties for the sites they’re used on.

Though black hat tactics can promise quick wins, the risk of using it is rarely worth the return.

Black Hat SEO Link Building

Black hat link building can come in a variety of forms, all of which are explicitly forbidden by Google’s spam policies. Some of the most common methods include using private blog networks (PBNs), spamming public comment sections with backlinks, link building through low quality and spammy websites, and serving keyword and backlink rich versions of pages to search engine crawlers which are invisible to human users (cloaking).

The black hat links gained through these methods can create a sudden uptick in rankings and traffic for the target site when they’re first established. Many of Google’s most significant core algorithm updates were rolled out specifically to undermine the value in blackhat link building, for example 2012’s Penguin Update which cracked down on unethical link schemes and keyword stuffing.

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Black Hat SEO FAQs

What are black hat SEO techniques?

Black hat SEO techniques are any SEO techniques that go against Google’s spam policies. Though “black hat SEO” usually refers to unethical SEO that’s done knowingly, some site owners and amateur SEOs can engage in black hat SEO without realising they’re doing anything wrong.

What is black hat SEO link building?

Black hat SEO link building is link building that goes against Google’s spam policies. Common examples include buying links through PBNs and low quality sites, low quality guest posting, spamming comment sections on high authority sites with backlinks, and cloaking.

Questions to ask your link builder