What is Black Hat SEO and 10 Techniques You Should Not Use

Why SEO is the job of Marketers, not just programmers
Wil Reynolds: Do SEO for People, Not Robots

Have you ever needed the “Brazilian way” to solve a problem?

When Google emerged in the late 1990s, the best-positioned sites on the results page were there for your keywords and also  links pointing to them.

Some developers quickly identified “quick fixes” of SEO to deceive the tools and position their websites in the top results.

These techniques are known as black hat SEO , referring to the films western , where the bad guys usually wore a black hat.

black hat bandit

At this time, sites that used black hat techniques include multiple keywords and links to the websites and so could the best positions in the ranking. But all the attention of users also turned the spotlight on Google these sites and techniques.

Since the 2000s Google is updating its algorithm  constantly to identify techniques that try to manipulate your results, punish sites that use them and also prioritize sites that offer quality content and relevant to the user ‘s search, making the race for top positions each more just. You can follow all the Google algorithm updates history this page of Moz .

In addition, Google also has its Webmaster Guidelines , with tips to facilitate the indexing of your site in the search engine, practices to follow and list of techniques to avoid. Basically, through its guidelines, Google explains that you need to create quality content and focused on users .

So we can set black hat as:

SEO aggressive techniques that do not follow the guidelines of search engines and try to manipulate its rules, in order to get great results in a short time and at risk of receiving punishment.

What are the main black hat SEO techniques?

By frequent changes in Google’s algorithm and its rankeamento factors , several black hat techniques arise and are also virtually extinct over time. The most popular techniques today are:

keyword stuffing

One of the first techniques of black hat used to try to manipulate Google, the strategy is to include a keyword on a particular page as many times as possible in an attempt to increase the keyword density page and show relevance to searchers.

This includes the content itself, its title, meta tags and alt text to the images.

black hat keyword stuffing

In the above example it is possible to identify a number of times the term “e-commerce Brazil”, possibly in an attempt to position the page in the first positions for this search.

When calculating the word density on the page (percentage of times the term is used), the result is that “e-commerce Brazil” has a very high density, more than 7% .

The Google team realized that many sites were abusing the application of keywords on pages for the sole purpose of getting the top positions, and also the number of times the keyword appears in the text is not a relevant guarantee.

Since mid-2000, Google has diminished the relevance of the keyword density on the page and even penalizing your excess usage. With the update of the Panda , many websites ended up losing positions and traffic for the practice of keyword stuffing and had to chase the game .

To move away from this technique and to avoid a penalty, the recommendation is to produce texts with ease , keeping the page keyword density of 2% or less, and also prioritize the use of synonyms . Before you publish the page, read and ask about reading other people to make a text with more quality.

hidden content

Another ancient technique black hat who has also made great success was a way to add more keywords, terms and other relevant links only thinking in search engines, without showing anything to the user.


The most common ways of using this technique are:

  • Apply the text on the same site of the background color;
  • Reposition the text off the page via CSS;
  • Change the font size for.

Google has all these ways to hide mapped content for some time and can identify and penalize easily sites that use this technique. The rule here is never include “hidden content” in your SEO strategy.

duplicate content

You know the phrase “nothing is created, everything is copied”? If the content of the pages of your site, forget it . This is because, for Google, good content is original content. Any page that has a content identical to one already published is considered a duplicate content .

There is debate among webmasters if there really is a penalty for this, but the fact is that when there are online like content, Google will prioritize only one to display to the user, usually it was first published, and hide copies of the results of search.

black hat

Only if you copy content excessively, or have an automation to copy content from other sites, you will be considered SPAM and will certainly be penalized for it.

Let’s see what the Google team has to say on the subject:

For these reasons, avoid copying content from other sites, especially competitors because most of the time you’ll be doing them a favor, since Google will choose to display the original content on the subject, it will not be yours.

Opt for other content relevant to your business as a reference to do something better and more complete.

Besides not copy content from other sites, it takes a few settings on your own website to fix common problems that can be considered duplicate content such as paging site , similar content and a mobile version of the site , for example.


Camouflage, in literal translation, is the technique in which the developer sets up for a page to be displayed in a way to search engine spiders, which are responsible for reading and indexing the page by the tools and otherwise to users, setting it for using the tag user-agent .

The page is displayed for the robots is made only in order to gain positions in the ranking and uses all possible techniques for this, without the need to care for usability.

Already the page is displayed to the user is totally different, usually without much relevance and of low quality. By applying this technique, the site will be penalized by Google Penguin!

Doorway page (page or gateway)

This technique also explores cloaking, but here are created several pages focused on robots to access, each optimized for a specific keyword. And when the user accesses, is a completely general nature and sometimes without any connection to what was sought.

In 2015 Google launched an update to the algorithm specific to identify and penalize sites that exploit the Doorway page.


It is literally a ‘farm links “in which all participants generate links to each other in an attempt to improve pagerank of all sites.

It is not very difficult to identify sites that still use the Linkfarm: they have content like everyone else, but full of links to sites with no relevance.

This practice made a difference at the time only the pagerank matter, leading to low quality sites to the top of Google. But now all that it will generate is a Google penalty.

Private Blog Networks (PBN)

PBN is a network composed of several blogs and websites that generate links to the site that needs to go up in the Google rankings.

The sites in the network usually have a good online authority because they are old domains that have expired, they returned to the market and were purchased for this purpose. There are various websites and even companies focused only that!

As Google’s algorithm is increasingly intelligent and tough, developers and site owners are honing this technique to avoid punishment (which may be to the exclusion of Google).

For this, take some care when creating or hire a PBN, how to ensure that sites use different CMSs and register domains on behalf of people or different companies.

In early February 2017 there was a major update to Google Penguin, in order to further improve the detection MBPs, causing abrupt falls of various websites traffic that used this strategy.

paid links

Basically, the goal is to pay for a site generate a link for you. And this applies not only money but also offer a discount on the product or an advantage in the company, for example. Any link generated only for a reward is considered paid link.

Check the reviews of Matt Cutts , former coordinator of Google ‘s webspam team and a major reference in the world of SEO:

Of all the techniques, this is the most difficult to be identified by the Google algorithm, it does not like Google to find out if you talked to a friend in a cafe and paid for it include a link to your site.

To avoid the most of this technique, Google also analyzes the existing relevance between the sites. There is something natural an ecommerce shoes generate a link to the site of a butcher, you agree?

Another monitoring the Google algorithm that can identify these and other strategies is when a site starts to get many links from day to night. This is certainly a sign of black hat and this site happens to be closely monitored.

The recommendation is not adhere to this strategy since, as it is more a way to circumvent the seekers, it is also punishable. If you already take actions like this, do not be alarmed if you come a time that your organic traffic plummeted as it is a risk you are running.

Recalling that publieditorial content is also considered link paid, except when the marking is included nofollow links, indicating the search engine spiders that should not be passed no authority for that site.

blog SPAM

Have you seen totally irrelevant comments on blogs and forums, only in order to include a link? This is another attempt to obtain authority and traffic more easily. There are even tools developed only to distribute links in these locations.

It is a practice that was very common to try to improve pagerank, but fell out of favor with the inclusion of tag nofollow in these spaces, indicating to the search engine spiders that all links inserted on site should receive no authority.

Today the only advantage that still exists to include a link in comments and forums is to generate traffic and even the possibility of Lead generation with it. In this case, if the link is relevant to the discussion forum or the comments of content, include a link at these sites can bring positive results.

negative SEO

Inside the black side of SEO, some webmasters choose not to apply black hat techniques to the site itself, but by damage competitors with negative SEO techniques (also known as SEO negative).

This technique is to include negative comments and ratings on the site and Google My Business competitors and even generate many low – quality links to your sites (called toxic links) to generate a search engine punishment.

Fortunately Google provides some ways to work around these attitudes. Irregular reviews on Google My Business can be reported to Google and have great chances of being removed.

The Google Webmaster Tools also provides a tool to disavow links , with which you can add a list of toxic links from your site, indicating that you do not want to receive this link and removing any link (the link to your site will still be there, but he will not be harmed by it).

What are the punishments Google

If you do not follow Google’s guidelines, your site may receive a penalty, which varies according to the severity of the infraction – determined by the volume of irregularities and their impact on site performance.

Possible punishments are:

  • Down 30 positions in the ranking;
  • Drop position 50;
  • Drop position 950;
  • Google ban.

Thus, if your organic traffic fall from one moment to another, chances are good you have received some punishment.

How to test if the site was penalized by Google?

  1. Check the Google Search Console if you have received a message or if there is any information in the “Manual Actions”;
  2. Visit Google and search for “site: www.seusite.com.br”. It appeared some result? If you did not show up (or the answer just brought home) you’ve probably been banned from Google;
  3. In seeking the name of your business on Google, your site is still well positioned? If not, it is likely to have received a punishment;
  4. Search on Google for specific terms of pages that you used to have good positioning and make sure they still continue between the first and second page. Otherwise, chances are you have been punished.

If none of these steps outlined a punishment, you probably lost relevance with some updating Google or increased competition. In this case, the only thing to do is improve your content and SEO strategy to recover your site.

He was punished by Google? The first step is to identify and remove what caused the punishment (especially if you use any black hat technique). Then you can make a reconsideration request to Google to try to reverse the punishment.


Now that you know the main techniques of black hat and all the problems that can arise with the practice, I believe that you want to spend away from them, correct?

Just for the record, in March this year a new update called Google Fred dropped several sites that had little content and were well positioned due to other factors (many were using black hat).

Use the techniques white hat (following Google ‘s guidelines) certainly takes more work and it takes longer to get the results, but is not suffering punishment assurance up front and see all played work out.

For starters, how about starting a strategy of generating links that actually works and is not liable? Check out the video link building tips to start now .

And to go further, download free  The Complete Guide of SEO , a material with everything you need to know to stay on the first page of Google and drive more qualified visitors.

Has done black hat, you know another technique or has received some punishment? Share your experience in the comments.