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The word ‘black hat’ was first used in Western films to differentiate between the good guys and the bad ones, but it’s more often used to describe computer hackers and people who engage in unethical behavior online. Black hat SEO tactics are those that violate search engine guidelines and can result in your site being banned from Google and other search engines. 

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Search engines want to provide people with the best possible results when they conduct a search, which is why they make it clear which practices they consider to be against their terms. Despite this, there are still many individuals and agencies who choose to use black hat SEO tactics in order to boost their sites’ rankings. 

There are a few key reasons why you should avoid black hat SEO techniques: 

Loss of Traffic, Visibility, and Rankings

When websites practice black hat SEO tactics, they typically lose search visibility and traffic as a result. This can be a huge setback for any website and will often impact its conversions and revenue. 

Poor Quality Content

Another common practice in black hat SEO is the use of low-quality content that’s not helpful to searchers. This is typically done by using content that has been scraped from other websites, or by simply copying it. At one point search engines like Google were not very good at recognizing duplicate content, but this was solved with the introduction of the Google Panda update in 2011. 

These techniques can result in your website receiving a penalty from Google that will negatively affect its search engine performance. These penalties can come in the form of algorithmic updates or manual actions that will result in your site’s rankings being lowered. 

Link Schemes and Paid Links

A link scheme is a technique used by black hat SEOs to manipulate a search engine’s ranking. These schemes can include paid links or links from websites known as link farms. 

Purchasing links from other websites can result in a higher PageRank for your site, which could lead to a better position in search results. However, these links can also be considered as a link scheme and may cause you to receive a penalty from Google or other search engines. 


Black hat SEO artists and hackers often use cloaking to show one piece of content to visitors and another to search engines. This is an especially popular tactic for spam websites that want to rank high for terms that are irrelevant to their original content. For example, the lyric website Rap Genius was caught performing this tactic in 2014, and it lost up to 700,000 daily visitors. 

This is because cloaking tricks Google into thinking that it is viewing the same page as a searcher when in fact it is not. In addition, this tactic can cause your site to be penalized for duplicate content, which is another black hat-SEO strategy. 

If you suspect that your site is suffering from any of these issues, report it to Google as soon as possible. Getting ahead of the issue will allow you to fix it and avoid being tagged with manual action.