black hat seoIn search engine optimization (SEO) terminology, Black Hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually does not obey search engines rules. Black Hat SEO may also be referred to as Unethical SEO or just spamdexing, as spamdexing is a typical frequently used Black Hat SEO practice.

Some classic examples of Black Hat SEO techniques include keyword stuffing, invisible text, and doorway pages. However, unethical techniques have evolved, and now you are more likely to hear these kinds of buzzwords. (You don’t need to know the specifics of these strategies; just please, if you hear a so-called SEO consultant mention these terms, hang up the phone.)

  • Article marketing
  • Search engine submissions
  • Link exchanges
  • Article spinning
  • Keyword density
  • Setting up fake P.O. boxes to rank for multiple location searches

Black Hat SEO can and often does result in your website being banned from a search engine, however since the focus is usually on quick, fast-return business models, most experts who use Black Hat SEO tactics consider being banned from search engines a somewhat irrelevant risk. (They will just start over with a new domain name and website.)

Black Hat SEO is more frequently used by those who are looking for a quick financial return, rather than a long-term investment. SEO consultants who use these practices usually live somewhere far away – in another state or country even – and they won’t have to look you in the eye when Google bans your website. This is the risk with Black Hat SEO, and it’s a very real one.

Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue. 

Amazingly, Google itself gets the same email!

Dear google.com,
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”

Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from a Nigerian prince.

  • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through Google’s Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap.
  • Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do. Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from the search engines. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.

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