If you read SEO blogs or speak with experts in the field, you might find that we’ll often use phrases like “to do this ethically” or “there isn't an ethical way to do that.” Occasionally, though, we’ll get the follow-up question “Well, is there an unethical way to do it that's still successful?””

The answer to this question is complicated but also fascinating. In short… Yes, there are unethical SEO practices that can temporarily be very successful. On the flip side, those quick successes can come with some pretty dire consequences, up to and including having search engines derank your domain indefinitely.

Read below where we explore some Black Hat SEO Techniques you should avoid to maintain website health.

More on SEO Services


Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing includes overusing keywords or using unrelated keywords in ways that are confusing or unhelpful to website visitors. The resulting content will usually read as repetitive or awkward.

An example of this would be if a Seattle roofing company used content similar to, “The Seattle roofers at our Seattle roofing company are here to solve your Seattle roofing needs.”

Though keyword stuffing can cause temporary surges in SEO success, Google and other search engines have AI in place to find and foil these attempts.

What to do Instead?

Instead of keyword stuffing, using natural-sounding language in content is preferred by search engines and website visitors alike. incorporating keywords will often happen organically when your website content is written in a way that is helpful and informative for your users. Search engines strive to provide users with the most relevant and helpful information, which means that sites using more helpful, understandable content will naturally rank more highly than websites with less or lower-quality content.

Check out our blog on How to Avoid Robotic Sounding Content for tips and tricks on creating better content all around for your site.


Hidden Or Hard-To-See Links And Lists

Hiding things from website visitors sounds fishy to begin with, but what purpose does hiding things like links and keyword lists from website visitors serve? Some website managers use this black hat technique to appeal to search engines without overwhelming the website users. On the surface, this might sound like a small infraction, but it can come with some big consequences. Since search engines like Google primarily focus on providing content that is helpful to search engine users, adding unusable and inaccessible content to website users cannot be factored into your SEO strategy.

Website owners who use the hidden link and list method may see temporary SEO gains followed by severe drops in search engine rankings. Search engines have even been known to issue manual actions or other formal penalization to websites that hide optimization tactics from website visitors, which can lead to indefinite or permanent removal of search engine indexing.

What to do Instead?

Similar to what we mentioned in the section above on keyword stuffing, creating helpful content using easy-to-understand language is the best place to start. Furthermore, using keywords to build image titles, alt text, and headers make up just a few of the solid ways to optimize your site that are also helpful to website visitors.

An alternative method is to use your navigation menus to provide relative lists of services or products for your users. A strategically placed menu can function the same as a list while also providing your visitors with a useful tool. This method has been utilized for decades by website managers to improve SEO as well as website user experience.


Stolen Content

It should go without saying that stealing is inherently bad. This black hat technique usually involves a content creator finding content that ranks well and copying it as their own. Like other black hat techniques, a website may see temporarily improved rankings using this method. However, Google and other search engines will quickly catch on to this type of behavior, leading to a reversal of any gains in rankings.

This technique is most often used by cut-rate SEO companies who want to provide quick service without doing any of the work.

What to do Instead?

Instead of stealing or copying from another website, it’s essential to create unique and original content for your website. If you are hiring an SEO company to create content for you, it can be helpful to read business reviews to ensure that you are hiring an honest and respectable company.

Visit our page on SEO content writing services to learn more.


Ongoing SEO Services That Last

Our Colorado SEO experts are trained to use optimization practices that help you achieve your business goals while also catering to the needs of your website visitors. Taking all angles of SEO into account, we can build lasting strategies to help your business grow.

Reach out to our Denver SEO team today to request a free website consultation.

Contact Us

Written By Aspacia Coverstone

Aspacia was born and raised on the east coast where she graduated with a degree in Media Arts and Design with a focus in Converged Media and Cultural Communication. Her career encompasses companies and startups of all sizes that have spanned a variety of industries - everything from craft beer to tax and accounting.