If you read our previous post about New Year’s Resolutions for your website, you saw some black hat SEO tactics that we want you to avoid. However, what exactly is black hat SEO? It’s what is considered the unethical and easy way to increase the search ranking of a page. Why is it unethical? To know why it is unethical you need to know what the intention of a search engine is. The goal of a search engine is to sift through the trillions of web pages to find quality links to websites that relate to your search. Black hat SEO uses techniques that increase a pages ranking by trying to deceive the search engine. So it increases the page ranking without actually being a quality link. Black hat SEO also violates a search engines rules and regulations.

Some of the techniques that a black hat SEO may include:

  • Hidden text. Websites with text that is either off screen or the same color as the background.
  • Keyword stuffing. Stuffing the website full of long lists of keywords that relate to your website.
  • Using link farms. This is building a network of sites that link to one another for an easy increase in page ranking.

While this shows results for the website trying to increase it’s page ranking, it can be frustrating for the user and completely goes against the goals of the search engine.

While getting caught doing black hat SEO won’t land you any jail time, it will put you in some hot water with the search engines. Sites that use black hat techniques will eventually get banned for their unethical practices so this type of SEO while effective is only temporary.

More Than a Slap on the Wrist, Real Life Black Hats Revealed

  • In 2006, BMW got caught spamdexing in an effort to send users to their website. When discovered, they were given the worst punishment for SEO, they were removed from the Google index.
  • Back in 2011, JC Penny came under fire after a New York Times article investigated how JC Penny did so well in search results. It was later found that JC Penny was using thousands of unrelated websites to link to the JC Penny website. After Google was alerted, JC Penny was no longer showing up in searches that it had previously been ranked first. When JC Penny was contacted by the times they claimed they were unaware of the links and terminated their relationship with their SEO firm, SearchDex.
  • In early December, Google discovered a link network: Anglo Rank. Soon after, it was confirmed that Anglo Rank was penalized as well as those involved. It seems like in the past year, Google has been increasing its efforts to eliminate black hat SEO. With 2013 drawing to a close it is looking like 2014 will be an even better year for SEO.

-By Evan Wright