Black Hat SEO – Dark Side of the Force or Peace of Mind

black hat seo penalty

Do you want to end up like this? Black hat SEO will help you do this!

Black Hat SEO is always a though subject to talk about, but at the same time a popular one. Let me say it clearly and let me say it loud so everyone can hear. Black Hat SEO is not for amateurs, if you are not an advanced SEO you shouldn’t even be thinking about black hat SEO techniques. But at the same time, some of the “black hat” tactics used a few years back are standard practices now, some of them were pioneers of SEO, but for the most part there are certain black hat techniques that should be avoided at all costs.

There is so much you can do to promote your website and increase your rankings and traffic these days that in my opinion it is a waste of time to try any black hat SEO at all. Just solid networking can get you great exposure and traffic as well as some quality links. Not to mention natural link building that comes with great content. Social media if done right can be a great source of traffic as well as links. If you are a blogger, there is not a single good reason why you should engage in black hat tactics as there are countless way to promote your website, you probably can’t handle all of them, so just don’t think black, it’s not worth it.

Larger companies may attempt some gray hat SEO techniques, and some may even go for the pitch black, but again, is it worth the risk? I don’t want to talk about the SEO techniques involved with the black hat world; my question is simple, is it better to risk it or play it safe and have a peace of mind?

I know that some of you are thinking that even if you do everything right there is no guarantee that the results will be there, so piece of mind is not much of a comfort. Well it is, if you do everything right and pit in some extra effort into great design, great content, promotions, link building, social media engagement, customer service, local availability, there is no reason why you shouldn’t rank high or get some targeted traffic. On the other hand, one wrong move can leave you stranded on a lonely island for months and months with no boat in site.

I know this Robinson Crusoe analogy may have worked for some of you, but for the rest that have something smart to add regarding sanctioned use of black hat SEO I have a few more things to say. First, don’t use Google as an excuse. They make mistakes, but they try, and they are such a large company that all of us in the internet industry depend on them, so they have a luxury of making mistakes, you don’t and that is a fact!

Next, spamming, buying links, doorways, cloaking or even keyword stuffing (do people still do that?) are all things that can easily be found out. The only question is if you get caught or not, but if you draw too much attention, like fast increase in rank or even SERP domination, you can be sure it will backfire on you. Other advanced black hat SEO techniques may be harder to see, but SEO’s know them, they know what they are; we can see them and so can Google, again, the only question is if they are looking for them.

I know some people say that there are black hat SEO techniques that are not black hat or are consider gray hat, and if you are not an advanced user it is easy to fall for that trick, especially if the SEO company working for you is selling you black hat without you realizing it, which is why I always say that every company needs to have a dedicated SEO consultant. The bottom line is that some SEO practices can be seen in all colors, depends on the angle, and we are not kids, people who know what they are doing will always seek the edge, and I applaud them, but there is a handful of people that can find new ways to push Google back, and most likely you are not one of them, so stop playing a badass and stick to proven search engine optimization and internet marketing efforts or you might find yourself in a stinky cesspool of bad sites screaming get me out of this s…

About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

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10 Response to Black Hat SEO – Dark Side of the Force or Peace of Mind

  1. Johanna @ on June 7, 2011

    Hi Zarko,
    I have some ideas about black hat SEO, but I don’t know much about it when it comes to its advanced forms. I agree that newbies must not think about doing black hat SEO techniques to garner some attention to their site. I have a question though – what is the worst thing that could happen if Google penalizes your site for black hat SEO? Silly question I guess, but I’m just curious..thanks!

  2. Zarko on June 7, 2011

    The worst thing is a combination of things that happens afterwards. You will either drop down in rankings by 10, 20 or more pages or even be de-listed, so in return your traffic from search engines will be close to zero. You will lose trust, so it will take long time to get back to where you were after you change and correct all of the thing you were penalized for. Basically you will lose a few months of organic search traffic at least, in some cases more depends on the situation and your effort for comeback. Overall it is not a pretty sight…

  3. Mike Nolls on June 8, 2011

    Zarko, great post about Black Hat and I would definitely recommend most new bloggers and web admins to stray away from it. ESPECIALLY, stay away from paying for any services that are of the “black hat” type.. These companies want your money and could not careless about your site or future goals. That being said, it is getting harder to define true “black hat” techniques, because in Google’s perfect world, any “manipulation” of links is blackhat.. and therefore to be penalized. But we all know social bookmarking, blog commenting, article writing, etc is VERY white hat BUT can be done in black hat ways. I.E. Automation of these tasks and spinning content, etc.

    Stay conservative and focus on putting the important parts of your site first: quality content, clean HTML and CSS, intelligent promotion, and no BS with your on-page SEO. Keep it clean and natural. With backlinks, I’d say go a “little” black hat here and there, gotta stay competitive right? :)

  4. Lynda on June 9, 2011

    I am no professional at SEO, definitely still learning. I agree though content is very important. I also feel building good quality links are important by communicating with other bloggers. Thank you for sharing :)

  5. Antonia@Conversational hypnosis on June 10, 2011

    I believe most people don’t necessarily use black hat techniques to rank, but to actually rank faster and easier!
    It’s pretty obvious that one can get far these days, there are a lot of white hat things you can do to rank, but how much will it take and how much work does that require? So this leads to blackhatters thinking “why make 5 manual comments in 10 minutes when i can push a button and make 500 comments in the blink of an eye?”

  6. Zarko on June 10, 2011

    Antonia, their reasonings for using black hat doesn’t make it any better or more useful, and the answer to the last “hypothetical” question is also very simple: “Because 5 manual comments can help you make connections and rank, 500 spam comments can get you banned”

  7. Mark on June 11, 2011

    It’s all black hat in my opinion. I used to think in terms of White and Black, but it is all so relative and completely depends on who you ask and who you see doing what.

    Personally, I feel than any SEO outside of producing stellar content is BH…just my opinion…:)


  8. DiNaRa on June 12, 2011

    I had one unpleasant experience with a customer who wanted to be ranked very fast. We explained in details all possible techniques (black and white and grey), explained all the pros and cons of black and white but still he decided to do only black ones motivating it by the fact that Google wouldn’t notice him and he would like to be on the first page. He appeared on the first page but …. stayed there only for one week. Then his site disappeared and lost.
    After that we had to start from the very beginning and it took us half a year to become closer to the first pages in google but this position if more stable in gives more positive results.

  9. Antonia@Conversational hypnosis on July 5, 2011

    Black Hat SEO is indeed very popular and really for pros. I have learned its technique and I think starters about the business will be having a hard time using it. But of course, it can always be studied. If you are targeting a big fish, start considering black hat SEO now.

  10. rss feeds submission on March 15, 2012

    When the links and content of your site change continuously, you would have to utilize the feeds submission directory service, simply because this can make much better your traffic.

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