If white hat SEO is ethical optimisation, then obviously black hat SEO is its polar opposite. When you complete a black hat technique, you are being dishonest or a little unscrupulous in your attempt to game a search engine into giving you a higher ranking.

These methods are widely used by upstarts who are seeking a quick rise in the ranks, typically the most popular amongst affiliate marketers. However, for longevity as a website owner, black hat tactics will leave you at the bottom of the barrel.

There are just as many black hat tactics as there are white hat tactics, and sometimes people enter into a black hat scheme with the best of intentions, believing that they’re doing nothing wrong. So just to be clear, if you’re attempting to deceive people or to manipulate results in any way, shape or form, then you’re performing a black hat technique.

Let’s go over five of the most common and most tempting black hat tactics that you should always avoid using…always.

  1.  Keyword Stuffing

Stuffing in too many keywords and out of place keywords that aren’t relevant to the content is a way that a lot of site owners use to be found. The good news is that you will experience a slight and temporary boost in the rankings. The bad news is that no one’s going to stay on your site for more than 3 seconds once they read the incoherent gibberish.

  1.  Automated Content

Content is the undisputed king of the internet, and thus there are a lot of software programs out there to create automated content for you. It’s not grammatically correct. It’s barely legible. But it’s cheap and fast. The biggest problem, however, is that it’s a tactic that will promote failure with your site, so don’t use it.

  1.  Unrelated Link Exchanges

Link sharing’s effectiveness is up for debate. But as long as you’re sharing links with a relevant site (say a supplier or a closely related affiliate) it’s perfectly acceptable. However, some take it to extremes and simply share links with any and every site out there. This is not what you want to do.

  1.  Link Doorways

You can add as many pages to your website as your server is able to hold. Theoretically, we’re talking about millions. Obviously you will never come close to this, but some individuals have realised that if they create fake pages for the sole purpose of linking, they can index more pages and be found by the spiders easily. These doorway pages are really unethical and can get you in trouble.

  1.  Invisible Text

One of the sneakiest methods of all, invisible text is sometimes used in order to stuff links on sites without damaging the site’s appearance. Designers will change their font to the exact same color of the site’s background, so it cannot be seen by the human eye, and then stuff it full of keywords and links so that the search engine can read it.

Being an honest site designer is imperative if you expect to experience prolonged success. Using any of these techniques will ensure that your brand suffers irreparable harm. Remember to stay far away from these tactics.