What is black hat SEO?

Black hat search engine optimization refers to techniques used to get higher search rankings on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing using unethical means. Black hat SEO usually creates a poor user experience by circumventing techniques used by the search engines. This presents less-than-accurate results to the searcher by making their web page appear higher on the search engine results page than it should. Black hat SEO breaks the search engine’s rules and regulations and usually presents the web page’s content differently to search engine spiders (used to crawl the web to discover web pages) than to the search engine user.

Much of black hat SEO techniques were perfectly legitimate in the early days of the internet; however, some of these methods were used to the point of abuse. The modern SEO community now frowns on these activities, such as: keyword stuffing, invisible keyword text and doorway pages. Keyword stuffing is where you put long lists of keywords and little else on your site in order to make the search engine crawlers think your page is relevant. Invisible text is keyword stuffing by placing the keywords on a background of the same color, rendering them “invisible.” Doorway pages are pages that a searcher never sees; but, instead are intended to attract search engine crawlers for the purpose of higher rankings. The searcher usually is redirected to the actual site immediately when they come upon a doorway page. Though these techniques may temporarily increase a web page’s ranking, those that use them run the risk of being banned by search engines completely.

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