What is Black Hat SEO and why to avoid it

9 mins read

In this article, we will cover in detail about black hat SEO and why to avoid it. While writing content on website or blog, everyone wants to be ranked high on search engines like Google. But while optimizing the content as per SEO requirements, they use to over optimized it or do some illegal tricks. By doing this they generally achieve to rank high on search engines for few days, but after that when search engine knows the facts or tricks used on that website or blog, the search engine penalize and down the rank of that website or blog.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is a technique used on the website to get high rank on search engine result (SERPs). Instead of following the proper rules or guidelines of search engines, the illegal ways to satisfy the bots used in search engines and get high rank on search engine quickly is called back hat SEO.

Now let’s understand what are black hat techniques and prepare yourself, so you can make sure to avoid them while creating your contents.

Black Hat Techniques in SEO

Here are the list of black hat techniques that you should never use in your website or blogs. If you don’t know about those techniques, it may be possible that you will use such techniques while doing SEO and the search engines will penalize and down the rank of your website or blog.

1. Keyword Stuffing

If keywords are used unnecessarily in content, or it used more than specified limits, then it’s called keyword stuffing. Adding multiple variation of keywords in your content, resultant bad experience to users. The specified limit for Focus Keywords is 0.5% and the Related Keywords is 0.2% is good to use in your content.

It’s good practice to write quality content, without keyword stuffing. Use your keywords naturally. It should not sound like a broken statement.

2. Article Spinning

Due to lack of information on a particular topic, the website owners or blogger used to copy content from other popular articles. Sometimes they used to copy and spin the content to make it different from the copied article, but such activities lead to bad user experience or low quality content. Finally, the rank on search engine result will be down.

If you do the same and publish such content on your website, it may be possible that search engine will penalize your website.

3. Hidden Links

Internal and External linking are important for SEO. Sometime website owners or bloggers don’t have proper content to use links properly, they used to create hidden links, because it’s important for SEO. It can be done simply by making content and link colour same to your page colour. In this way it’s not visible to users but can be read by search engines. This is done to achieve the guidelines of SEO and to rank on search result.

But such activity comes under black hat SEO and search engine may penalize for the same. So never try to satisfy search engine. You should always think about your users and provide them valued content.

4. Cloaking

It is a technique by which one can create multiple versions of a page or create a different piece of content. One is for users and second one is for search engines. If a user visits on that page, the website use to redirect on different page, while the search engine remains getting information of different page. Both the pages are totally different to each other, and this technique is called Cloaking. By this back hat techniques, the website owner is able to fool the search engines.

It is totally fine to make different version of same page with minor changes to make a website responsive or to serve content depending on different countries. In this process, the part of content gets changes instead of the complete web page.

The spamming websites like few websites that offered to download free movies. They used to create multiple versions of same page which is different for users and different for search engines.

Search engines are becoming smarter and able to find such pages. If it observed by search engine, your website uses cloaking techniques then search engine will penalize your website. So it’s suggested that you should never do cloaking in your website.

5. Poor Quality content

Some time website owners use to create a rich content for meta-data information, first paragraph or feature snippet and don’t focus on remaining content such content are called poor quality content.
This technique is used to fool the search engine bots. But in reality, search engines are very smart.

Those low quality content will never rank on search engines result. So your practice should always to create quality content as per your users need. Never try to create content only for search engines bots to rank your website quickly.

6. Sneaky Redirect

It is a technique of black hat SEO, by which a user’s redirected to some different page than the one they initially wanted and clicked on. It is something similar to cloaking, but in this case it also redirects the search engine’s crawler.

The redirect should only be done with some sense, like you changed your domain, or you would like to show different pages for logged-in users and different page for without logged-in users, or may be due to some occasional offers on your website, you want’s to redirect to new offer page. Such activities are fine to do. But you should always avoid sneaky redirects on your website.

7. Comment Spams

On most of the websites or blog there is feature of comments. One can write comments regarding the given contents. If a user does comment with quality content and provides a link as a reference to get more detail about the content, what they have written in comment, in this case it will be treated as white hat SEO. It’s totally fine.

But sometime, someone uses to do comments without quality content and provide links within content, just to create a backlink for other websites. Such comments are called spamming comments and come in the category of black hat SEO. We should avoid such spamming comments.

8. Paid Links

If a website owner use to place links of other website by charging some amount or against some services, such placing of links is called paid links. It is against the rules or guidelines of search engines, and it’s strictly not allowed. If a search engine found such websites, then it may be penalized or such websites will be removed from search results. In this case search engines may penalize both the websites, who is placing the link and the other whose link is placed.

So it’s best practice to never use paid links. You should always follow the common and natural process for your SEO.

9. Social Media Spams

It is a general practice to share your website URL or newly created articles on social media, which is totally fine and should be a good practice for SEO. But excess of anything is not good in all fields. The same comes here also, if you share your URL on social media excessively in the form of comments, posts, pages, this back hat technique is called social media spamming. It’s not good for your website or blogs. If you do such practice regularly, you may be blocked by social media providers.

10. Wrong Meta Info

When you search a keyword on a search engine, it used to provide a list of website links with meta title and meta description of that website or web page. With the help of such description, one can decide to visit the website or not.

Sometimes it has been observed that, the content is totally different from its meta description and what you are looking for. Such contents are comes in the category of black hat SEO. Such content doesn’t like by visitors and also search engines. The user will never come again in future on that website. So if you do such activities, your valued users will never come again to your website.

11. Private Blog Networks (PBN)

Private Blog Networks (PBNs) are a network of blogs or websites that are owned and operated by individuals for the purpose of manipulating search engine ranks. Such owners used to place other website’s URL into their different websites by talking some charge.

The idea behind PBN is to create a network of high-quality, authoritative websites that can pass on link juice and boost the search engine rankings of other websites. By linking other website with targeted keywords, the PBN can help that website to rank higher in search engine results pages.

One example may be to purchase an expired or unused domain that still has a high authority or backlinks, and then using those domains to create new websites that link back to the other targeted website.

PBN is considered as a black hat SEO technique, and it violates the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. The search engine can penalize such websites. Therefore, it is not recommended to use PBN as a part of your SEO strategy. Instead, you should focus on building high-quality, natural backlinks from reputable websites to improve your search engine rankings.

12. Link Farms

Link farms are a type of black hat SEO technique that involves creating many low-quality, spammy links from one website to another or between a group of websites. The purpose of link farms is to manipulate search engine rankings by inflating the number of backlinks to a website.

It is typically created by groups of websites that agree to link to each other in order to increase their link popularity and search engine rankings. These websites often have little or no relevance to each other and are not natural links, which is highly unethical.

13. Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are a type of structured data markup that allows website owners to provide additional information about their web pages to search engines. It can help to improve the visibility of a website in search results by displaying additional information, such as ratings, reviews, and other meaningful details.

Rich snippets are not considered a black hat SEO technique, there are some black hat methods that involve using rich snippets to manipulate search engine rankings. For example, some website owners may use schema markup to display fake reviews or ratings in rich snippets, or they may use schema markup to display irrelevant information in order to attract more clicks. Such practice is against the guidelines of search engines and may penalize the website.

14. Link Manipulations

Link manipulation is a black hat SEO technique that involves artificially manipulating the number or quality of backlinks to a website in order to improve its search engine rankings. This can include buying links, exchanging links, or using automated software to create links in large quantities.

Buying links is the practice of paying other websites or link brokers to place links on their sites that point to your site. Exchanging links is when two websites agree to link to each other in order to increase their link popularity.

Using automated software to create links in large quantities is also considered link manipulation. This involves using tools like link farms, blog comment spam, and forum spam to create large numbers of low-quality links to a website.

15. Malicious Page Behaviour

Malicious page behaviour is also a type of black hat SEO technique that involves creating web pages that are designed to harm users or trick search engines. This can include practices such as phishing and malware distribution.

Phishing is the practice of creating web pages that mimic legitimate websites in order to trick users into providing personal or sensitive information. Malware distribution involves creating web pages that contain malicious software, such as viruses or Trojans, which can infect users’ computers when they visit the page.

16. Excess use of Internal Links

This technique involves linking excessively to other pages on the same website in order to manipulate search engine rankings. This can include practices such as creating multiple links to the same page, using exact match anchor text excessively, and creating links in irrelevant content or in hidden areas of the website.

Excess use of internal links is considered a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines because it is seen as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings by adding unnecessarily the number of internal links to a page. This can also result in a poor user experience, as excessive internal links can be confusing and make it difficult for users to find the information they are looking for.

17. Similar Domains

The registering domain names that are similar to a popular website’s domain name in order to confuse users and redirect traffic to a different website. This can include practices such as registering domain names with common misspellings, using hyphens or numbers in the domain name, or using a different top-level domain (TLD) extension.

Similar domains are often used in phishing scams, where attackers create a fake website that looks similar to a legitimate website in order to trick users into providing personal or sensitive information. Similar domains can also be used to redirect traffic to a different website that is unrelated or spammy.

Such similar domains will never rank on search engine’s result page. So you should avoid such practice also.

18. Competitor Article Reporting

It is a process of filing false or misleading reports to search engines in an attempt to harm a competitor’s search engine rankings. This can include practices such as reporting a competitor’s website for spam or other violations of search engine guidelines, even if the website is in compliance with the rules.

Competitor article reporting is a highly manipulative and unethical practice that can result in severe penalties from search engines. Search engines take reports of spam and other violations very seriously and may penalize websites based on false or misleading reports.

So instead of reporting a competitor website, you should create a quality content in such a way that will provide more value to users in comparison to your competitor’s.

19. Over Optimized SEO Content

If a website uses lots of keywords or links in content, or may add more keywords in image ALT attribute keeping in mind to get high rank on search engine results, such technique is comes in the category of black hat SEO and known as Over optimizes SEO.

This can also include the use of exact match keywords excessively, repeating keywords unnaturally, or hiding keywords in the page’s code or in hidden areas of the website. This can also result in a poor user experience, as over-optimized content can be difficult to read and understand.

20. Link Schemas

When we search a keyword on search engine, it used to provide meta information in addition with some popular pages, this is the feature of website schema. There are multiple tools available for this such as Merkle Structured Data Tool, Hall Analysis, The RankRanger Structured Data Tool, Schema App, Google Rich Results Test, Google Structured Data Markup Helper etc.

21. Duplicate Content

If you copy the content of some popular website into your website, keeping in mind to rank on search engine, because the original website is ranking high on search result. This is called Duplicate Content and comes in black hat SEO techniques.

Such activity will be easily observed by search engines and your website will never rank in this case, so you should always try to write your content with high quality. You can visit many similar websites and try to understand detail from them. After that, try to create your own high quality content that should provide more value to users in comparison with other similar websites. This is the process by which you can rank your website naturally on search engine results.

22. Content Scraping

Content scraping is a black hat SEO technique that involves copying content from other websites and using it on your own website without permission. This can include practices such as using web scraping tools to automatically copy content from other websites, copying and pasting content from other websites, or using content from RSS feeds without permission. There are multiple tools available to do content scraping for examples: Bright Data, Octoparse, Scraping Bot, Scraper API etc.

Content scraping is considered a violation of copyright law and can result in legal action against the website owner.


Always be honest with your content that you are providing and try to provide unique content as much as possible. Always create content as per your valued customers and not for search engines. From above black hat technique one can fool the search engines for some time, but after few days the search engine will know the black hat techniques if used, and finally you will lose your rank on search result.


What is a black hat SEO technique?

A black hat SEO technique is an unethical and manipulative practice used to manipulate search engine rankings in a way that violates search engine guidelines. Examples include keyword stuffing, content scraping, link manipulation, cloaking, and other practices aimed to fool search engines and manipulate website rankings.

What is black hat vs white hat in SEO?

Black hat and white hat refer to two different approaches to search engine optimization (SEO). Black hat SEO involves using unethical and manipulative techniques to manipulate search engine rankings, while white hat SEO involves using ethical and legitimate techniques to improve search engine rankings.

While black hat SEO can provide short-term gains in search rankings, it is ultimately unsustainable and can result in long-term damage to a website’s reputation and search visibility. White hat SEO, on the other hand, takes a more sustainable and ethical approach to improving search rankings and building a strong online presence.

What is the goal of black hat SEO?

The goal of black hat SEO is to manipulate search engine rankings using illegal techniques, in order to achieve higher search engine rank and ultimately, drive more traffic to a website. Black hat SEO techniques can be used to achieve quick results and improve a website’s rankings in a short amount of time.

However, the goal of black hat SEO is not to provide high-quality, user-friendly content that provides value to the audience. Instead, it focuses on taking advantage of search engine algorithms to manipulate the rankings, often at the expense of the user experience.

Is black hat SEO Illegal?

The black hat SEO techniques are not illegal if they do not violate any laws, but they are considered unethical and can be in violation of search engine guidelines. However, some black hat SEO techniques, such as content scraping, can be considered a violation of copyright law and can result in legal action against the website owner.

While black hat SEO is not illegal, it can result in penalties from search engines, including a significant loss in search rankings. It can also damage a website’s reputation and credibility, as well as harm the user experience.

Other topics to read

What is White Hat SEO and how to do it

What is Search Intent in SEO

10 SEO Tips to get on the first page of Google Search

Dharmendra is a blogger, author, Expert in IT Services and admin of DJTechnews. Good experience in software development. Love to write articles to share knowledge and experience with others. He has deep knowledge of multiple technologies and is always ready to explore new research and developments.

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