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5 Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid - The Story

5 Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid

Do you know the difference between good SEO and bad SEO?

Years ago, SEO methods were developed that encouraged ways to “cheat” and artificially raise your website’s search engine ranking. These methods are now referred to as “Black Hat SEO”, after the Black Hat wearing villains in old Westerns. “White Hat SEO”, named after the heroes in those Westerns (, are time-tested, ethical methods of raising your search engine ranking. These methods can include the smart use of keywords and link building. It’s important to know the difference between Black Hat and White Hat SEO methods, as the use of bad SEO can badly damage your website’s reputation and ranking online.

Keyword Stuffing

This is a technique you often saw in the earlier days of search engines. Content on a website would be written with extremely obvious keywords, repeated over and over again, to trick search engines into raising your ranking.

An example of keyword stuffing might be, “I am the best doctor in Toronto, Ontario. A doctor in Toronto, Ontario needs to be the best doctor in Toronto, Ontario. You want the best doctor in Toronto, Ontario!” Even though there is almost no content in that copy, there was a chance that, in the past, the page could have gotten a high ranking because of the number of times the keyphrase “Best doctor in Toronto, Ontario” was used.

Search engine algorithms are now sophisticated enough that they recognize keyword stuffing and lower the ranking of sites that use it. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore using keywords on your website. But it does mean you shouldn’t try to cheat Google with unnatural stuffing of keywords.

Link Farms

One way search engines determine how high a website ranks is if it is linked to from other websites. If a highly-ranked website like Wikipedia, for example, links to your page, this has a positive impact on your SEO ranking.

Link farms abuse this principle. Clusters of websites, all of which link to each other, are used to try to convince search engines that they have high-values links, thus increasing their ranking. Thankfully, this 20-year-old Black Hat SEO method rarely works anymore, with many link farm domain names being completely removed from search engine indexes.


Plagiarism is the act of copying, word for word, someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. In the world of SEO, high quality, original content is king. One of the worst Black Hat SEO techniques involves copy and pasting content from a highly-ranked website and put it on your own. This used to work, but now Google finds duplicate content and penalized you if you have duplicate content.

Plagiarism is unethical and can have a major negative impact on your SEO rankings. It should be avoided at all costs.

Hidden/Invisible Text

Hidden text was another Black Hat SEO technique that may have worked in the earlier days of the internet, but can now badly damage your search engine ranking.

It involves repeating multiple popular keywords in an invisible body of text at the bottom of a webpage. For example, the text would be written in the same colour as the background of the page and make it invisible to the user, but visible to the search engine bot.

This is a variation of keyword stuffing.  Search engine algorithms can now easily identify the use of hidden text.  Websites that use this method can be penalized and their search engine ranking lowered. It is a SEO method that is best avoided.

Comments Spam

Have you ever been on the comments section of a blog post and found comments that have nothing to do with the post? Comments with random links like, “I lost 100 lbs by eating nothing but bananas! Learn more here! http…”

Not only does this Black Hat method of creating back links make a comment section almost unusable, it also just doesn’t work anymore.

Use Whitehat SEO

Regularly create quality content. Get quality websites to comment and link to your website.  These are the basics of Whitehat SEO.

If you’d like to hear some of the ways ( our SEO experts can generate more leads and revenue for your business, please feel free to contact us for a free website audit. SEO is a long-term visibility investment that pays off, many times over. Contact The Story Web Design & Marketing ( for your webpage’s Search Engine Optimization today!

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