SEO Beware: Black hat tactics to avoid

Don’t ask how do I get there, ask what can I do to deserve to be there.


Danny Sullivan @dannysullican

Kerry Dean @kerrydean

Rob Kerry @robkerry

Michael Streko @streko


Kerry Dean:

Black Hat SEO

–          Black hat seo works, for a while at least.

–          It’s all about making money… and fast!

–          Here’s a secret: Black has isn’t about buying links.

–          Blackhat SEO is all about creating millions of pages

Blackhat Methods: SEO Sabotage

Goal: Get your competitors removed from the SERPs

  1. Link removal tactics (drop their rankings)
  2. Link creation tactics (get them penalized)
  3. Get really shady with cross-site scripting
  4. Hijack their site
  5. Submit Google spam report on all your competitors’ sites
  6. Email known Google employees at their personal blogs/sites, requesting a paid link from your competitors email

Cloaking: Serving different content to Google and bots

Search payday loans – third rank is customs house museum, when you click you see a museum, when you do a Google preview you see a ton of links.

–          This links out to all of his other clients, or  he is selling links on a site that he hacked into.

–          At the bottom of the page is another group of links.  He is linking internally to other pages inside of this website, to make other pages inside the site ranking for other terms.

–          Why link internally?

  • He cloaked the ENTIRE SITE!
  • It all ranks for credit and payday stuff.
  • But how does it rank? Look at the incoming links, there is a two week period with a huge influx of backlinks

–          The best part, NOTHING happens to you! (the black hat) because you don’t own that museum site.

–          This can be repeated

Next example: Viagra over the counter



–          Human redirected to trustetablets.come with the same affiliate ID

–          Bots see the regular site

–          Wison site gets 200k links in early july and then 100k links in late august, apachawaii gets 2 million, proof is in the anchor text

Black hat SEO:

  1. Arrive
  2. Make Hell
  3. Make Money
  4. Leave

Question: Is Google Watching?

For ‘viagra over the counter’

6 out of the top 10 are blackhat or redirected


Rob Kerry:

What is Black Hat SEO?

–          Definition from old western movies where villain wore black hat, and hero wore white hat

–          Google definition: Anything against Google webmaster guidelines.

Can white hat get penalized?

–          A gaming site was using an in house A/B testing solution but it was server side instead of  client side.

  • Google noticed the variations and flagged it as cloaking

–          Financial corp partnered with news org and all news sites links to it

  • Google penalized, had to get in contact to get links ignored.

–          SEO agencies claiming to be e100% white hat are often the most dangerous

–          These white hat tactics can get your website burnt:

  • Web directory submission
  • Widgets
  • Infographics
  • Press Releases
  • Article Distribution
  • Guest Blogging/Posting
  • Viral Campaigns
  • Sponsorship / Partnerships

–          The common denominator? Quality and Anchor Text


–          Press release Bad


  • September is underwear month, the only link is the anchor text underwear

–          Press release good

  • More interest in the PR value, linked from the brand term and a link to the website with text “website” – not spammy

–          Do become an authority leader in your space

–          Don’t spam your community like a 90’s meta keyword tag

  • Don’t have a forum signature full of anchor text, neither people nor google give this authority

–          Black hat still works to a limited degree

  • Web spam and cloaking still work but google is making it harder, plus the best money was for niches, which are more competitive
  • Blackhat is getting harder to make money from

Is Google on our site?

–          Yes, if you are a shareholder

–          It’s in their best interested to keep SERPs clean, but it’s all about increasing profits

–          Users clicking on organic results cost Google money, paid clicks increase revenue and helps their share price

–          Don’t be surprised to find Google entering your niche, like finance

–          If a blackhat with adsense is ranking #1 google is making money, if a white hat without it is, they aren’t

The new age of SEO

–          Authority building is key – stop obsessing about link volumes, say no to commercial anchor links paid or free

–          Keyword targeting in link anchors is gone, ensrure that ON PAGE targeting is laser

–          Cross channel collaboration saves money in tough times, every marketing channel has potential SEO value

–          Always ask questions about your campaign and demand visibility – what are your SEOs really up to

–          It’s harder for smaller website to gain the same level of authority, share of voice and brand mentions

–          Initial SEO campaigns should be defined by the budgets available. Smaller budgets should target smaller niches.

Michael Streko:

Social media registration for Ill use

Name squatting of vanity URls and Sub Domains

–          Vanity URL: name


UDRP social media vanity urls & subdomains are the wild west of trademark, name infringement & shady tactics.

UDRP is uniform domain-name dispute-resolution policy. It is a policy to make trademarked domains taken. Slander is now reserved for social media.

Why do vanity names matter?

–          Easy to grab a vanity name on a high authority site subdomain, link build to it and rank for the term.

–          This can cause spam and bad rep for your product or site

3rd Party link removal requests – the new website penalty?

–          People hiring companies for link removal requests

  • Black hat, these companies will request link removal even if you don’t own the website. About 1 out of 5 of these companies ask for verification

Written by

Spencer is the founder of Brandfish. He is an SEO who enjoys the outdoors and rugby.