Black Hat SEO Tactics: What Are They and Why Should They Be Avoided?

woman wearing black hat seo

Are you attempting to execute your own SEO? You may have already realized that it’s a tough thing to learn alone. For a start, a lot of the advice online is outdated or contradictory. There’s also a risk that you’re given bad advice and you end up using black hat tactics. 

If you’re not sure what black hat tactics are and how they could affect your SEO for the worse, read on to find out.

How do search engines determine result order? 

Search engines don’t have someone manually sorting through each site to determine its value. Can you imagine how long that would take? Instead, they use algorithms to assess different websites based on a set of criteria.

This criteria is designed to find the best possible results for each search query, so that search engine users are satisfied with their experience. Think about it, we only use Google so often because it’s great at delivering relevant results. If it started showing us the worst websites first, we’d soon move onto another search engine.

When many websites address the same search term, search engines prioritize those that they deem to be most authoritative, trustworthy, and user-friendly. 

What are black hat tactics? 

SEO is the name given to the collection of techniques used to prove to the algorithm that a website meets this criteria. 

Black hat tactics are different, though. They are used to trick the algorithm. Rather than improve the website to improve its ranking, they take sneaky shortcuts in a bid to obtain an unearned position on the search engine results page.

You might think of black hat tactics as the dark side of SEO. There is certainly a relationship between legitimate SEO techniques and these unethical practices.

For example, an SEO specialist might seek to strategically include keywords to alert the algorithm that this content addresses a particular search query. However, someone using black hat tactics would simply stuff a website full of high ranking keywords, whether they were truly relevant or not.

Backlinks (links from an external website) are taken as a sign that a website is authoritative. Generating backlinks is an effective SEO strategy. The black hat version would involve paying link farm websites to include backlinks on their spam pages.

What happens when black hat tactics are detected? 

The algorithm is getting much smarter at detecting when these tactics have been used, and websites that are caught can receive a punishment.

Rather than improve your ranking on the search engine results page, using black hat tactics can have the opposite effect. Google can demote you in its listings or even remove your website altogether! 

Recovering from these punishments will take serious time and investment in SEO. That’s why it’s better to avoid the risk in the first place! 

Avoid black hat tactics by using reputable SEO specialists 

When you work with reputable SEO specialists like the Big Fish Local team, you can be sure that only the best and most ethical practices will be used.