What is Black Hat?
Black Hat – Slang for an unethical digital marketer or SEO that breaks search engine guidelines, in order to artificially rank websites. They use tactics like duplicate content, spammy link building, and negative SEO.
It refer to a set of practices that are used to increases a site or page’s rank in search engines through means that violate the search engines’ terms of service. The term “black hat” originated in Western movies to distinguish the “bad guys” from the “good guys,” who wore white hats (see white hat SEO). Recently, it’s used more commonly to describe computer hackers, virus creators, and those who perform unethical actions with computers.
What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO is most commonly defined as a disapproved practice that nevertheless could increase a page’s ranking in a search engine result page (SERP). These practices are against the search engine’s terms of service and can result in the site being banned from the search engine and affiliate sites. A list of tactics and strategies employed by black hat SEO practitioners have been openly denounced on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines.
“Is the work that I’m doing adding value to the user or am I just doing this for search engines to see?” is a litmus test on whether an SEO tactic would go against a search engine’s webmaster guideline. If no value is added to the user, but rankings are likely to increase, then your decisions are highly likely to be black hat. The same test can be applied to paid search practices to determine whether an activity is considered black hat PPC.
Recognized Black Hat SEO Tactics
The following SEO tactics are considered black hat and should not be exercised at all if you want to stay above board with Google and other search engines:
- Content Automation
- Doorway Pages
- Hidden Text or Links
- Keyword Stuffing
- Reporting a Competitor (or Negative SEO)
- Sneaky Redirects
- Link Schemes
- Guest Posting Networks
- Link Manipulation (including buying links)
- Article Spinning
- Link Farms, Link Wheels or Link Networks
- Rich Snippet Markup Spam
- Automated Queries to Google
- Creating pages, subdomains, or domains with duplicate content
- Pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing, viruses, trojans, and other malware
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