November 18, 2010 3

What The Heck is Black Hat SEO?

By in SEO

The phrase ‘black hat’ originates from old western movies where the good guys were differentiated from bad guys by wearing ‘white hats’. But I think the term when applied to SEO is misleading since it portrays an image of someone that lacks morality or ethics.  ‘Black hats’ don’t go around stealing, committing cardinal sins or defrauding the state. What they are doing is attempting to game the search engines by using techniques that are frowned upon by search engines and some industry folks. They are impatient and want to increase their traffic and rankings, now.

I am not endorsing black hat techniques nor am I implying that you should use them, I just wanted to touch on the some of the most common ones.

  • Buying an old well-established website or expired domain and using it for backlinks to your own site/s
  • Hiding text and links in the same colour as the site’s background colour
  • Using cloaking scripts which serve one thing to search engines and something different to humans
  • Link farming which involves creating lots of websites with low quality content and linking them together
  • Spam commenting on blogs using automated software like Scrapebox
  • Stuffing keywords into Meta tags is probably one of the oldest techniques

In my day to day travels around the web, I have seen plenty of anecdotal evidence which shows that some black hat SEO techniques do work. So the question you should be asking is not whether they work or not, but will they still work tomorrow? Instead of playing a game of cat and mouse with the search engines, its far better to build a solid long term strategy, with no concerns about whether the next algorithm will penalise your website or not.

Finally, I think its relevant to mention that in his dishonesty research, Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational found that most people WILL cheat in small ways if they believe it can go undetected, and SEO is no exception.

  • http://www.borisjacquin.com Boris Jacquin

    By imposing its own black hat/white hat rules, Google is, in my opinion, abusing its already-outrageous monopoly.

    Black hat techniques can come very handy for quick results, while you’re building up your SEO using white hat techniques, which take a lot longer to show results.

    Am I advocating the use of black hat? Absolutely, or at least I am advocating the exploitation of Google’s algorithm loopholes. If Google didn’t want black hat techniques to work at all, they would make it a priority to detect them and act on them by removing the indexing of the website that is taking advantage of black hat techniques. f course Google already does this, but for some websites and not for others.

    Black hat is like speeding on a motorway, it’s effective but you don’t want to get caught by Google, the corrupted police force. Because let’s not forget that Google doesn’t have a problem displaying a website at the very top of the search results as long as you are prepared to pay enough money on Adwords. What Google doesn’t like is that you get around their rules. And by dictating that some techniques are black hat, Google is also trying to pass as public service. Yeah, right.

  • http://goo.gl/2lPUH Ricky

    We must always go with the way of white hat, and there is no other alternative for this, with black hat we might make some money but we will be blocked or will end up with mess….

    so i think we must only be true and correct, and we surely will get success in long term.

  • http://www.davelemarketing.co.uk/ tahir

    Black hat keep on changing’s as the Google algo and your not pretty sure today white will stay white hat for long. May be next Google algo change shift one of so called white hat seo technique into black hat…