What is Black Hat SEO and Who Uses Such Techniques
Black Hat SEO (SEO = search engine optimization) also known as spamdexing or search engine spamming mostly refers to web pages or sites that do not provide value to the users , instead their only target is to rank rapidly and high in the search engine page results (SERPS), those results that the search engines return when someone searches for a particular keyword in the engines lines.
In almost any case these websites offer only irrelevant and low-quality content.That kind of SEO does not respect the search engines rules and guidelines and the visitors land on those sites usually by deceptive and misleading tactics.
Black Hat SEO is the use of techniques for the manipulation of the search engines algorithms and bots to gain higher rankings
and I strongly recommend to Avoid such Methods if you really want to run a Healthy Website Business
In the mid 90’s there was a growth of spamdexing leaving the primary search engines behind the scenes and gained control over the search results.Those fraudulent behaviours though had to deal with a newcomer “Google”.
When Google entered the scene applied a page rank system that had one mark, to eliminate that spamming and to reward useful websites with relevant content that provide users a nice and friendly experience.Although Google is dominating the search results still there are a lot of Webmasters that use black-hat SEO techniques only to get fast results and rankings in the short-term.
They still using these tactics to misdirect visitors mostly to malicious websites or sales pages targeting their pockets and peace of mind.Once the search engine spiders discover such websites and remove them from the engine results the above webmasters continue on new websites with new domains and URLs. An ongoing battle for the sake of money of course.
I advise that if you plan to build an online business with long-term potential that you do not use such unethical practices.If you are looking to become an affiliate webmaster these techniques should not be contained in your list.They will cause you big trouble and you will lose your recognition and reputation.
Those techniques only can obtain results for a very short period of time.You should only focus on the user experience with high quality and unique content and you will be rewarded not only by the search engines but from the USERS that is your audience (your main target) , a reward that is well worth waiting for.
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Deceitful and illicit Tactics used by Black-Hat Webmasters
The catalog here is extended, I will try to illustrate the most common techniques that you should avoid if you plan to build a solid online foundation that will serve the public for long.
Category #1 – LINKS
The Link Spamming (with various techniques and methods) has only 1 purpose.To “Fool” Users and Search Engines)
… and is used to link a spam website to other already existing and highly ranked websites in an attempt to temporarily influence the search engines algorithms and get rankings in that manner.Usually, these “shady” webmasters use some kind of Link-Building software or (other scripts/widgets/robots) that their “Main” intention is to automatically create links to those mentioned high ranked websites.
Techniques To Avoid
1) The Link Farms – is a kind of an association between Black Webmasters That Run or Own Spam Websites.Inside these “shadow” communities every Webmaster is linking to one another, a mutual back-linking method that Google is fighting after the Panda Update (an extended article by Danny Sullivan).Most of the times these linked websites have no content related or their content lacks quality and their purpose is to “Fish” online unsuspected visitors having a strong presence with their Url’s in many websites.
Do not get involved in such kind of tactics with other bloggers you know and do not follow someone that proposes it.Build your quality content website and be part of marketing and other business forums to increase your brand volume, post useful articles inside these forums and take part in the conversations with your own experiences and insights to help everyone and yourself.Soon you will be rewarded with relevant links and with great comments from people inside these forums.
2) Splogs aka Spam Blogs – these blogs existence targets ads to get clicked by users and their content usually are created by spinning article software or software generator tools offering sometimes irrelevant and confusing information.They appear as normal blogs though their information is Outdated and they are full of intruding ads.
Acting in such a way can get you some quick results (not worth taking the risk though) as the internet users looking for informative posts more and more and with the spiders coming after soon you will have such spam blogs removed from the SERPs.Build something useful that has a long-term potential.Do not hunt quick “Penny” results.How much you think you gonna earn by Pay-Per-Click Ads till the spiders Smile At You.?
3) Spam in Blogs using Comment Spams – The Black Webmasters here placing quick (saved and pre-made) comments into random blogs usually with a link inside and a with a keyword or keywords to raise their inbound links volume and trick the engines.Their target mostly blogs that allow users to post comments without having them held for moderation.
Examples are comments like “Hello, very informative post.I like your work and your site.I will come back to visit it.Here’s my relevant article (Link included) and similar stuff with the main intention to have their comment posted on the website’s blogroll or forum and hoping that their link will be included inside to try to deceive the engines with a level of higher link popularity.
Always hold your comments for moderation before they get published and use anti-spam plugins like Akismet in WordPress.On the other hand, if you try to place some comments in other websites do it in a productive way by asking something similar to begin a prosperous dialogue with the poster that will result in a win-win situation for both.
This way your comments have value and the search engines will reward you for that.Do not just post comments on one small sentence saying how great this post was.These comments will be treated as spam by the Website Owners and your luck of having a link included has a very low success ratio
4) Spam in Wiki Forums and all kind of forums/networks – This is very similar to the above technique.There are a lot of Wiki – How-To’s blogs and business forums and communities that allow users to place their content automatically solving faster in this way technical or other problems that people deal with or answering questions or offering tutorials, education or other kinds of services (depending on the type of forum)
What they “Black-Hatters” do is placing links directing people to their spam sites with irrelevant content to the Wiki site or the forum that they are members usually with the help of a software.In 2005 Wikipedia executed a “no-follow” attribute to all outbound content so that these Links inside them get ignored by the Search engines algorithms.
If you need to post on a Wiki blog or a forum do it in an ethical way and only if your website is relevant to the Wiki or the community.Place your useful article, help people solve a specific problem and you will be rewarded by the Wiki owners, the forum owners, and the engines.
If you Own a Wiki Site or a forum/network/community and definitely you need the auto-publish function simply just put a “no-follow value” to the search engines like my screenshot (WordPress with All-In-One-Seo plugin) in those outbound content to have them totally ignored by search bots gaining nothing with their attempt.Also, do not let comments with URLs included in the profile.Be careful and have some administrator personnel to supervise your blog counting as you don’t want your visitors distracted with such irrelevant links.
5) Hidden Links – Here they use the placement of Hyperlinks with very small size mostly not underlined and / or with colour very similar to the background (almost or totally invisible) just for the purpose of link popularity inside their sites so that people mostly can’t see but the search bots will read while going through and may increase their link volume temporarily.
Place useful Normal Size Links Underlined that do make a contrast with your background.The natural link color for most website themes is by default blue and underlined like this one – Check my article on How to Build an Online Business.
6) The “Sybil” Attack – is where a Black Webmaster produces multiple clown sites with different domain names having them all linking to one another.The content of these sites is similar and do not provide any useful user experience probably filled with ads and more links inside.The name “Sybil” comes from the book “Sybil” from Flora Rheta Schreiber in 1973 talking about the treatment of a person with multiple identity disorder.
Produce one website at a time building useful content with the only purpose to help people.Try to gain sales by referring other merchant products similar to your website content as an affiliate marketer and do not bombard your visitors with ads.
7) Page Hijacking – is used by Webmasters when they copy the content of a popular website that is getting ranked high in the SERPs by placing the same Keyword Title plus some new words to the original and sometimes by having a domain name very similar to the competitor and by including a redirection temporary script pointing visitors to external unrelated or possibly malicious websites that only want to spam them or infect their system.
For example if the competitor is “womendesignexample.com” and the keyword ranked 1st in SERPs is the “leather boots for women” they will make a copy of the Headline Title like “leather boots for women in Europe” and they will include a link highlighting other similar pages (when you hover to the “similar pages” text it gives you the original keyword and you will be redirected to the competitor original site).
They also try to get a domain very similar “womendesignexample.net” to trick the engines include them in the SERPs as relevant competing websites to the original
Do not copy someone else’s work, one way or another you will be found and punished.Do not redirect visitors to other sites with irrelevant or malicious content to spam or infect them as they can point you out by filling out complaint forms.A lot of online users are Webmasters like you and they will not stay satisfied with similar redirections.
8) Referrer Spam / Log Spamming – When you follow a link from a certain webpage to another one the page that provided you with this link is called (the referrer) and the page you landed after is called (the referee).A lot of websites use log referrers to track their activity and for statistical purposes.
Some of them link back to the websites that link to them to amplify their rankings.However, this situation is getting used by Black-Hat Webmasters where they repeatedly place fake referrer URLs using software or robots mostly to websites that publish referrer statistics in order to gain popularity for their own spam sites.
The referee in such cases will be notified from the users’ internet browser that they redirected from the referrer and probably will proceed by placing their URLs in their logs.The Search engines may use the information of these referrer logs to measure the importance and therefore the rankings of the referrer sites.
It’s all about how you work and what you try to achieve with your online business.Wanting long term results should guide you to Link externally only to relevant websites from your website so that users can physically follow your links and have a better understanding of your content.
Your links should only focus on providing additional information to your users.Soon you will be rewarded from these users as they will continue to visit your website for being so informative and they will re-share your content with their networks.
9) Expired Domains and their Link Value – when a healthy and valuable website ages it gains authority, link popularity and therefore better rankings inside the search engines and their results (SERPs).What the Demon Webmasters do is monitor down domains that are getting close to expiring. Sometimes some websites may expire because their owners might get forgotten to renew or in cases of illness or simply because they change profession and no longer run into the business they used to.
Demon masters preying for aged linked popular websites to get them on expiration date automatically through the domain providers and use them as a cloud for their spam sites.They need their link value and their authority name to fool and trick the search engines.
But Google is also monitoring the renewal systems and is resetting the data on expired domains so that Link Value has no value at all and they continue to rank such websites after their new approval applications with Google.
Everytime Google is stopping a problem Demon Webmasters trying to find other “windows and passages” to spam people for the sake of money.It’s all about ethics.If you want to spam people and this is how you work then it’s up to you but beware, people and search engines are smarter than ever before, you will have to come up with very genius systems just only to get some fast “penny” results.For everyone that is looking to create a business just ignore this kind of techniques.
They extend their affiliate links throughout their pages and posts and try to gain commissions from other normal affiliate webmasters where they only try to help people and in the cases of affiliate links these are only presented as a solution and always they encourage their visitors to follow these links
Again this is another way that Demons are working with their links, try to steal from other webmasters, to fool users and trick the engines.Follow that road if you want your website to be shut down and ignored.
11) Sping aka Spam Ping – Pings are some kind of messages that are sent from a blog and other internet publishing tools or websites to a ping server notifying the ping server network of newly added content and material.What Black Masters do is use their Spam Blogs to send multiple ping notifications in a very short period of time with the intention to make their content looks fresh and renewed while they do not provide any useful changes at all.
They act in that way just to impress the search engines with newly added content to get them better rankings.This method has been a real problem for a lot of blog communities
How long you think that this kind of method will work for you.?..the Spiders are well informed and do keep a track of everything a blog does.
Final Opinion on Link Spamming
Be consistent and patient and interact inside social mediums to gain brand recognition.Place relevant and useful comments on other websites so that with time you will get Links pointing to your website.Do not use software to gain links.Do not steal other people’s work or intrude your visitors with ads and/or with affiliate cookies all along just to trick them.
Make a proposition, solve a problem and try to direct your visitors to follow your links normally, show them the respect they deserve and they will reward you.Sure it takes some time but the results are Worth Fighting For.
Category #2 in Black Hat SEO – Content Spam
The Content Spamming (with various techniques and methods) has only 1 purpose.To “Change” the way the Search Engines view the content of a website
Techniques To Avoid
12) Keyword stuffing – where the Black Webmasters stuff with keywords all of their content to increase the keyword number so that search engines will find their content relevant and index it.In most ways, they use misleading and popular keywords to attract visitors to unrelated spam websites with the intention to grab something from them.
Examples are titles or headlines like “here the best price, best prices, check the best offer, offers, offerings, bonus , bonuses for free.Intruding keyword stack to trick the engines.
But how many people will actually buy from these scam websites.?..If you visit a website that only is trying to sell you will you buy?…or you will press the Exit button at once.?
13) Unrelated or Irrelevant Popular Keywords – one of the silliest approaches of shady Webmasters.For example, using keywords like “Madonna said this is the best online shop with Free delivery” to trick users click through Madonna’s name.Or in the case of this post when you see my Title “Black-Hat Seo…” you expect an article discussing the above topic and when you visit my website I try to sell you Black Hats belonged to Celebrities, would that work for you.?….Keywords usage extended only to trick users mostly and the search engines in general.
But the engines are calculating the content of web pages in their entirety, not just from Titles or Headlines.Provide your visitors with highly relevant Titles that will get excited to click them.There are productive ways you can do this and be rewarded in the long run.
14) Hidden, Invisible text inside the content – a similar method to the Hidden Links we discussed earlier.Small size text at the bottom of a page, usually in the same color with the background or hidden with coding and software in order to get bypassed from users but to be detected from the engines in an attempt to get better rankings.
I believe that this kind of methods demand a lot of time to be developed and to be successful, you can get long-term high results simply by being ethical and human.
15) Meta Tags Stuffing with Keywords – hopefully, the Search Engines do not care at all about this method that belongs to the past and bypassing the meta tags, only calculating the content and compare it to the Titles and for its relevance.
But still some Black Outdated Webmasters try to stuff their meta keywords losing their valuable time with something that won’t lead to any results.
16) Gateway or Doorway Pages – where webmasters stuff their pages with keywords and then redirect visitors to other unrelated possibly malicious pages.Tricking the search engines to rank them temporarily and grab anything they can.
Again I believe that today’s online visitors are smart enough to avoid such deceptive techniques.When you visit a website that promises certain information on a specific topic stick to that and exit to unrelated linked pages that do not provide any more value.And in the worst cases report such techniques.
17) Scraper Sites, Article Spinning and Duplicate or Mirror Content – When that Masters copy the content of existing high ranked websites using software like web scraping.Their intention is to manipulate the search engines to rank them for work they do not own it. Usually, they redirect visitors to other spam and malicious sites or intrude them with pay per click ads once again.
Spinning Articles is the technique where you use software to re-write published content changing the order of the words or adding some new material to make it somehow unique. But these tactics result in Duplicate or Mirror Content and they are not recommended by the search engines.
Provide original content and when you refer to existing one credit the owner or link to their pages.Do not change published content that is ranking high just to steal the rankings.Thieves will be punished.
18) Page Swapping – Where Webmasters get a page ranked high in the SERPs and then change the content of this page in its entirety.
Try to update your pages with relevant content and material to improve the users’ experience.Do not try to deceive people and engines just to get ranked and then intrude them with irrelevant content.
Other types of Black Hat SEO
19) Cloaking – a very dark technique using side software scripts to identify IP addresses or HTTP header of the one asking to visit a webpage.When a search engine spider tries to access the page a server-side script is delivering content different to the one that is visible to online users.This way they try to get ranked for something that they would not normally.
All of these redirection techniques are useless for online users and sacrifice their experience for the sake of money.Honesty and original content can get you better high rankings in the long run.Users will reward you if you stay consistent.
20) Cybersquatting – aka Domain Squatting and URL hijacking (Typosquatting) – takes place when Webmasters buy domain names that include a trademark name inside acting on “Bad Faith” for the upper intention to get benefit from the process using someone else’s name.For example, the actor Kevin Spacey filled a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum to win the domain name kevinspacey.com from its owner (Alberta Hot Rods)
….In the URL hijacking webmasters try to get domain names very similar to the ones they try to compete …ie – google.com – goojle.com …. buzzsumo.com – buzzsumo.org or.net …. alitalia.com – airitalia,com…..and so forth.A great example is the Goggle.com website back in 2006 where online visitors getting infected with computer viruses and other malicious software.Lufthansa and Lego are 2 more companies that chased down typosquatted names and various artists , celebrities and athletes often deal with such problems.
Use only unique domain name relevant to your niche and what your visitors expect.There are a lot of methods you can use for brainstorming and to come up with ideas.Do not try to steal someone’s popular name to get profit from that.You will get found.You can build a brand name even without including any keywords to your domain name.
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Final Opinion on Content and other types of Spamming
As I already stated in the previous section of Link Spamming I am not a follower of these “shady” and “dark” tactics.I believe in the long-term potential of every business when used in an ethical and human approach.I do not believe in quick results and I am recommending especially to new affiliates follow a decent path to help people and then wait for the reward.A reward Well Worth Waiting For.
Once again, thank you for reading such an extended post but this subject is one of the most important subjects in the internet world and generally in the way that people proceed with their businesses.
Your online partner
I have been in internet marketing a long time now and I have to say I did learn a thing or two from this great article.
I will be re-visiting that’s for sure.
Perhaps your next one can be about White Hats techniques.
Have an excellent day.
Hey Robert , you are so kind my friend.Thank you for this awesome interruption , I am so glad you enjoyed it.All my best wishes and good luck.
I remember when black hat SEO tactics were making people lots of money, but just as fast as that money came, that same money was lost. Much like any other criminal activity.
While black hat SEO tactics aren’t necessarily illegal, I do agree that one should avoid them altogether. Successful businesses are built by doing things the right way.
I agree , whenever I hear a story of someone that earned a lot of money in a very short period of time , the result is money lost…
Well , these tactics are not exactly illegal , but unethical yes.They do punish these actions and they do very well.You can’t take advantage by fraudulent techniques to others.As you say , Christian , successful businesses are built the right way..
Thank you for your time in reading this long article and for your participation.Good luck to whatever you do.
I can remember back in 2008, when I first started trying to make money online, I briefly tricked my way to the top of the Google search results using hidden keyword stuffing. I create an ad on the site USFreeAds and repeated my main keyword many times in white text so that it fooled Google. I was on page 1 of the results really quickly, but I only lasted a day or two, before having my ad removed by USFreeAds. The fact that they noticed before Google did just goes to show how Google’s search algorithm was much simpler in those days. I’m glad things have changed, aren’t you?
Did you do that really Marcus?…I am glad you confess your previous experience.Indeed , that shows how simpler was Google’s algorithm few years ago.I am happy that they changed and that they filter out a lot of spammers and scams.Google follows quality and that is the road to improvement.
Now only those who help and are ethical can move on forward.
Thank you for re-visiting my blog and for sharing your story with me.
Very, very interesting stuff on topics that could land you in a great deal of trouble with Google. I have encountered the mentioned link farms on numerous occasions – many times they are disguised as pro link building services but in reality they will damage your site! I’ve also encountered many of those blog comment spams – none of them make any sense when read
Hello there Chris , I agree , if you get involved with these techniques you risk a lot for your website performance.The showcase of pro link building services sounds very appealing , who does not want to improve his website.But there are some things to consider before you invest.And those comments that do not make any sense is a daily routine.
Thank you for visiting my blog and for sharing your experience.
I was sure that these techniques existed as people are always trying to achieve success without working for it. I didn’t realize there were quite so many tactics in play. I am glad people and companies are looking for ways to prevent this. Again great article, thank you! I enjoyed reading it!
Welcome Aaron , yes , this is a fact , there is a percentage of people that want money the easy way , trying to find shortcuts.Of course they always update and renew their tactics , we all have to beware of.
Thank you for visiting my blog and for your participation.
This is a great post. Good job.
I’ve never seen one with this much detail.
I didn’t know there were so many black hat techniques.
The one I almost used was the link farms technique. But I’ve heard that Google can now detect that sort of thing.
Now I’m going for the white hat stuff. Like the Sky Scraper Technique.
What are your favorite SEO Techniques?
Hey there Julian , I would not try black methods even if the search engines could not be able to detect.I want to offer value and only that.My favourite method is blogging frequently.I believe that method brings the best of the results.Of course I use low competition keywords whenever it is possible.
Thank you for another visit , for your kind words and the support.
Great and detailed article! I had heard about some of the techniques that Black Hat SEO involves, but nothing to this extent until reading your article.
Well put together and easy to follow, I now am a much more informed online marketer! I feel like you do, I will stick pretty much to white hat SEO , thank you!
Nowadays the bots are getting better and better, so using these techniques could really bring down your entire business fast! Just not worth it!
Having said that, backlinks are not all bad, and can help your site if done properly. There is still value in getting a backlink from authority sites I think, as long as they are related to what you have on your site, etc.
Also a whole new world (OK not so new, but ever more pertinent) is the social links. As people’s internet use morphs into more and more interaction using sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, Google + etc., the search engines have to take this into consideration when they set up their algorithms….
Good stuff here and I appreciate your effort. I have bookmarked this site, I will be back again, Have a great day!!
Hello there Dave , indeed there are so many techniques of this kind and I believe everyday they are inventing new ones.As long as the search engines are improving their algorithms these “Black” webmasters are working harder on how to trick these algorithms.But instead , they could be using their time into building something useful.I guess , this is how they proceed with their businesses.
I agree with you that backlinks from authority sites are very useful , as long as they come naturally through genuine channels.I have published a related article on that matter , you can have a look here if you want.
And as concerns the social networks I believe the search engines already include information that comes from these channels into their ranking factors.Google now is showing up some Tweets in addition to the G+ posts and the YouTube results.As marketers we have to work on every possible direction and build useful content on all of these networks.
I am glad you found that article valuable and I want to thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to participate with your meaningful comments.I wish you good luck with your projects.You are welcome any time.
Wow, just wow, amazing quality content being presented here. I never heard of black hat seo techniques before. Sounds like a sniper or thief in appearance and actions. It is a shame that people still want to attempt copy/pasting someone else’s hard work as their own. They have to realize that they can’t get away with it since Google is smart enough to track them down and punish them. I never realized how little I knew about this going on until I landed on your article now.
Thanks so much for your time/efforts going into great emphasis on explaining all this for us. 🙂
Wishing you all the best with your online success above and beyond the horizon,
That is awesome Angel , seeing you find value in my article.Yes , I agree , they must be ashamed of their actions , and especially about copying other people’s work and trying to fool the engines and the people.All the dark techniques are being used by scammers , those that want some quick bucks no matter what the consequences are.
Hopefully we can notice dramatic changes from Google , which is a company to praise in my opinion.They do not only use the latest technology for a good purpose , it seems that their personnel make everything that they can in order to bring results to those who work decent and in “Good Will”.They are devoted at what they do , punishing suspicious , sneaky and fraudulent tactics.
This subject is so huge and it expands upon all the businesses we know.
I wanna thank you for visiting my blog , for your beautiful and enthusiastic comments , this is so kind of you.I wish you in my turn all the best.
This was an extremely thorough article that I really enjoyed reading. I really like that you’ve covered many areas that I didn’t even realize existed. I’m curious as to which techniques you find to be the best in order to get to the top of the SERP’s in an ethical manner?
Hi there Kevin ,I am so glad you found that article interesting.
My top priority is the content.I am focusing on the quality , to provide decent solutions.I just pick a keyword and that’s it.I place it in my title and then I only write in a human way trying to engage with the people not worrying of other factors at all.And from my experience so far I am getting rewarded.Because when I enter Google or Bing Webmaster Tools I can see my site ranked for way more keywords , with many of them on page 1.The engines know how to rank you and they will rank you for many keywords that you did not ever think of.
I wanna thank you for visiting my blog and for sharing your thoughts.
Great article on SEO – there’s a lot of reading but I certainly learned a fair bit about what not to do! Many of the points you made are actually recommended techniques on other websites that claim to know how to manage the search engines! If people are using them they are only hurting their chances of good rankings – definitely buyer beware out there!
Yeah it is a very long article but I think it is one of the most important subjects not only in internet marketing but in entrepreneurship in general , because black hats are everywhere.And it is quite annoying that there are so many websites , as you clearly stated , that adopt these techniques , they teach them to new marketers , of course to make a profit out of it.They do not care if these techniques will harm your website in the long run and they pretend to appear as masters or gurus.
Thank you Sara for taking the time to read my article and for sharing your thoughts here , let’s hope that in the future people will only buying “White” hats , besides white is not absorbing so much sun heat after all.
Thanks for letting us newbies and wannabes know about these horrible and ineffective SEO tactics. I once (OK, more than once) fell victim to these practices over and over for a long time. I eventually (through Wealthy Affiliate) learned how to do things the right way and I finally have a website that I am proud of. Your articles are exactly what people need to read to avoid the pitfalls that so many hopeful online entrepreneurs need to avoid.
Welcome to my blog Roland , I am very glad you found value on this article.Yeah , these all SEO tactics are not only ineffective but they can damage websites and rankings.Besides there is no search engine that is not looking for quality and so do the people.Too bad you have been a victim too , but I am not surprised as the majority of the people involved on online quests one way or another had been tricked by masters of this kind , myself included.
Definitely Wealthy Affiliate shows the right , decent and human way to provide quality to your visitors.You are proud of your website and you will continue to be as you keep on working and engaging.
Thank you for stopping by and for sharing your experience and for your lovely words of course.