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Ranking on the SERPs (search engine result pages) is excellent for business, as it exposes you to lots of growth opportunities. However, if you use the wrong techniques you can destroy your search engine ranking instead.

Black hat SEO techniques might seem like a fast solution, but you’ll get the disapproval of search engines like Google and Bing — and tank your rankings even faster.

Black hat SEO tricks are a bad approach to search engine optimization (SEO). The negative SEO impact will lower your SERP positioning. Alternatively, white hat SEO is more ethical and will positively affect your website’s ranking.

Read on to discover: 

  • The difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO techniques
  • The bad SEO practices to avoid using on your website

The Difference Between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO Techniques

SEO requires approaches that align with search engine algorithms — black hat SEO techniques do not so avoid them at all costs.

White hat SEO improves your search engine ranking ethically and abides by their guidelines. The strategies focus on boosting your website rank on SERPs while delivering an excellent user experience to human website visitors.

Alternatively, black hat SEO techniques do not follow search engine company terms. Instead, they use manipulation to get higher search engine rankings.

This can lead to a penalty or complete eradication from result pages.

Bad SEO Practices You Should Avoid

1. Duplicate Website Content

Publishing duplicate content is a black hat SEO technique that can destroy your website’s ranking. Google explicitly says you should avoid duplicated content. Search engines view it as plagiarism and poor website design

When search engines crawl your website to index content, they will ignore any non-unique items they find. 

Ensure you don’t duplicate your blog posts or someone else’s content. If you must use existing media on a new web page, mark the page as “noindex” and “nofollow” to prevent a negative impact on your website’s SEO. 

However, the best practice is to stick to search engine rules — create unique, original content to help your page rank.

2. Keyword Stuffing in SEO

Keyword stuffing means repeating a specific keyword within the body of your copy, even when it’s not relevant. This seems like a good idea when you want to optimize that post for search engines. 

But being more concerned about keyword density than writing for humans is a black hat SEO technique that will quickly tank your content’s ranking.

Keyword stuffing will also make your audience lose interest in your writing since it looks like a language only bots can understand. 

Similarly, shoving irrelevant keywords into your blog posts shows search engines you’re trying to trick the algorithm into placing your content at the top of the SERPs. This can also earn you a Google penalty.

Mentioning your keywords can be an ethical white hat SEO technique. But you should do it naturally. 

Place keywords in strategic places like:

  • Article or blog post title
  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Introduction
  • Subheadings

You should include your keywords several times in the body, but be sure they flow well and make sense in context.

3. Low-Quality Guest Posts

Guest posting is a fantastic way to improve SEO but can go badly if you do it wrong. 

Regularly publishing new content featuring guest authors and bloggers on your website is a good SEO habit. But you need to ensure that these posts are original, valuable, and high-quality. 

You can feature new writers on your website and publish content written by others, provided you check for plagiarism. And don’t include work that isn’t useful for your audience. 

You should also check there are no links to bad websites with non-relevant or low-quality content. Even if your website contains valuable content, linking to suspicious, spam-filled blog networks might attract a penalty.

4. Excess Ads Above-the-Fold

Above-the-fold is the part of a web page visible to your users before they start scrolling. Google penalizes websites with too many ads in this area. According to search engine guidelines, it’s a bad SEO technique because it creates a poor user experience.

When a website falls short of Google’s page layout algorithm, it might lose a high amount of the organic traffic it would otherwise get.

Paid links refer to link schemes that involve buying links in a blog post slot or directory, mostly on authority websites. Getting strong backlinks from authority pages can boost your website’s SEO. 

Although it takes effort, time, dedication, and connection to earn legitimate backlinks, the result is more than worth it. 

If you try to manipulate your way to the top of the SERPs through paid link building you might quickly receive a Google penalty. 

This black hat SEO technique can completely cripple your website growth, as Google strongly disapproves of paid links.

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6. Cloaking

Cloaking refers to purposely showing different content to your website visitors and search engines.

Some websites use cloaking to hide:

These websites attempt to fool search crawlers to rank on the SERPs while breaking search engine rules. This black hat SEO technique also aims to trick Google’s algorithm so that a website can rank for several keywords that aren’t relevant to its available content.

7. Clickbait Headlines

Several webmasters shoot for high clickthrough rates by creating misleading headlines. These “clickbait headlines” usually lead to content that has no value — and is bad for your SEO.

Make compelling but honest headlines that promise your readers value by the end of the post.

Clickbait headlines lead to a high bounce rate once visitors realize they’ve been manipulated. You may also earn a penalty if your fake headlines consistently violate Google guidelines.

Link farms are websites or directories that create opportunities for link building. Link farming is a black hat SEO technique that inflates the number of backlinks a website has to improve its rank on the SERPs. 

These outgoing links are usually numerous and low-quality, containing keywords a website wants to rank for as anchor texts. 

Google quickly detects link farms and punishes websites that use this method. You can avoid receiving a search engine penalty if you “nofollow” any links in comments, ads, and websites you believe are untrustworthy.

9. Slow or Unavailable Websites

Hosting your website on poor servers isn’t really a bad SEO trick — but it is something that can negatively impact your search engine ranking. 

Slow or unavailable webpages make people avoid or bounce from your website. This signals to Google your website is not worth ranking since visitors are not interested.

According to search engine specifications, the average website’s load time should be three seconds or less and should be available all the time. Therefore, it is essential to use a reliable hosting provider to build a fast website on dedicated servers so it is accessible at any time.

Black hat SEO techniques can crush your website’s ranking on the SERPs. Use white hat SEO techniques in your content marketing to improve your website’s SEO, rank higher on Google search engine results page, and meet your goals.

The best SEO methods include high-quality content, strong backlinks through relevant guest posts on high domain authority platforms, and a fast, reliable website.

Make sure your website is speedy enough to rank high on search engine results pages. Check out Bluehost’s hosting plans today.

What is black hat SEO?

Black hat SEO refers to unethical and manipulative techniques used to improve a website’s search engine rankings. These tactics violate search engine guidelines and focus on exploiting loopholes in algorithms to achieve quick but short-term results.

Why is black hat SEO considered unethical?

Black hat SEO is considered unethical because it aims to deceive search engines and users, providing low-quality content or irrelevant information. This practice undermines the integrity of search results, leading to a poor user experience and devaluing the efforts of legitimate websites.

What are the potential risks of using black hat SEO?

Using black hat SEO can result in severe penalties from search engines, such as Google. A website employing black hat tactics may be de-indexed or receive a manual penalty, leading to a significant drop in rankings and traffic. It can also damage a website’s reputation and credibility.

Is cloaking an effective black hat SEO technique?

Cloaking may provide some short-term advantages by showing different content to search engines than what users see. However, search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated in identifying cloaking, and using this technique is likely to result in penalties.

Are there any situations where black hat SEO is acceptable?

No, black hat SEO is never acceptable. Ethical SEO practices focus on providing valuable content and a positive user experience while adhering to search engine guidelines. Resorting to black hat techniques undermines the principles of fair competition and trust in the online ecosystem.

Can a website recover from a Google penalty for black hat SEO?

Yes, a website can recover from a Google penalty by identifying and rectifying the black hat tactics, submitting a reconsideration request, and demonstrating a commitment to following ethical SEO practices in the future. However, the recovery process can be time-consuming and may involve rebuilding trust with search engines.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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