Black Hat SEO Techniques Negatively Affecting Your Rankings

There are a wide array of techniques for search engine optimization (SEO). In terms of categories, they fall under either black hat or white hat. These two major categories get their terms from the old Western films: bad guys or villains typically wore black hats. On the other hand, good guys or heroes generally wore white hats.

Getting to Know the SEO “Hats”

Black hat generally refers to techniques that are negative tricks, cheats, or even the likes of what’s referred to as hacks. On the other hand, white hat is a term for techniques that search engines tend to prefer since it’s SEO that’s essentially honest and clean.

Back when Google was new, there were key tricks that could be done for ranking to be affected one way or another, regardless of a webpage’s content. Relevance to the user wasn’t considered a major factor at all either, which would be pretty much unheard of today.

Relevant, usable, and essentially the best results are what Google is known for. As such, it’s also what they take a lot of pride in. This is why their numerous updates over time have actively sought out black hat techniques in order to combat them. In a single year, the search algorithms of Google can update up to 600 times just to make sure this occurs, with major updates that could flip rankings altogether.

SEO in white hat and black hat terms is now a typical part of any conversation. Want SEO results that are future-proof? Go white hat! Needless to say, black hat should thus be avoided at all costs since those strategies are what Google (and other search engines) will actively fight and remove.

Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid

Keyword Stuffing

As the name suggests, this involves repeated phrase or word insertion into text for a better likelihood of search engines picking it up. SEO used to do this, yes, but when keywords are overused, the text no longer reads naturally. Instead of providing a “smooth” read, the text is clunky and annoying. Semantically related phrases are preferred, and text by default should always sound natural and be clear.

Paid Links

This term may seem self-explanatory, but it’s worth defining: in black hat SEO, paid links are links back to a website bought specifically for looking good to a search engine. The rationale was that plenty of websites linking back would immediately equate to a website being an authoritative one.

Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. Most of the time, the links are of lesser quality and bulk quantity from link farms. These websites adding up to the hundreds are usually connected, but they’re generally spam-like, with links that are practically irrelevant. There’s a heavy penalty from Google, in particular, for guideline violations by using this technique.

Social Network Spam

This involves two things: posting irrelevant, unrelated links to comments, groups, and pages on social networks, and sending those same links to users directly. Don’t bombard connections or followers with content that has no relevance to them. Social networks should be used to affirm positive engagement and exchanges.


SEO techniques can be broken down into two categories: white hat and black hat. White hat techniques are honest and preferred by search engines. Black hat techniques are in a negative light as they are cheats, hacks, and whatnot. Avoid social network spam, paid links, and keyword stuffing.

Searching Greenwood for an SEO company that practices white hat techniques? Reach out to Magnitude Marketing today! We’re a full-service digital marketing agency that can boost your brand through honest and effective digital marketing strategies.