8 Black Hat SEO Techniques That Actually Work

top black hat seo techniques that actually work

White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO 

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a process of increasing the visibility of a website or web page in search engines via the "natural" or unpaid ("organic") search results. The goal is to move as many relevant web pages to the top of the search results as possible, and to move irrelevant, poor quality, plagiarized posts, or malicious web pages down. 

So are your web-pages fully optimised for SEO? Today, 70% of online experiences begin with a search engine like Google, with SEO driving 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media. Furthermore, only about 1% of people click on results from the 2nd page of Google, meaning ranking as high as possible in search engines has never been so important.

Getting your website ranked #1 on Google and other top search engines can be extremely difficult and time consuming. It also can be quite costly for most business sites to rank high on Google or other top search engines like Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex, and YouTube! 

What Is White Hat SEO? 

White hat SEO is a term that is used to describe the use of legitimate and ethical techniques to promote websites. These methods help the search engines return the most relevant and high-quality results to users. White hat SEO techniques are supposed to be completely in line with Google's guidelines (we focus on Google mostly because they have a monopoly on search for more than half the world) and immune to penalty such as manual actions, spam de-indexing, and severe rank drops.

What Is Black Hat SEO? 

Conversely, Black Hat SEO are techniques used to manipulate the algorithms used by search engines, to gain higher rankings. Black Hat SEO does not have a good reputation because it is frowned on by most White Hat SEO experts. and it's not advisable for most business owners because it's against Google's Webmaster Guidelines & Terms of Service. 

Does that mean black hat search engine optimization doesn't work? 

No, of course not. Black hat search engine optimization still works today. Many SEOs are still using it as getting quality, organic search traffic can be quite lucrative. 

The Top 8 Black Hat SEO Techniques (That Still Work) 

In this article, we'll give you the rundown on 8 different black hat SEO techniques people are using today. We will list them in the order of how effective they are, going from 1-8. 

1. Tiered Link Building 

Tiered link building is simply the process of building more links to your existing backlinks. The goal is to pass more link juice from your tiered links to your main website. A simple example scenario could be you have 5 tier 1 links pointing to your main (money) website (these are high-quality, relevant contextual links from trusted sites. typically, Web 2.0 blogs, like Tumblr.com or WordPress.com). Then you would create 10 tier 2 links pointing to each of the tier 1 links (like forum or blog comments). Lastly, 20 tier 3 links pointing to each tier 2 link (your goal here is to build as many links as possible). 

The real advantage of this method is it's still relatively safe. But what if Google discovers part of your tiered link scheme, and hits one of your first-tier links with a manual action? 

Simple. You remove that one link, leaving your original tiers unaffected. 

You can automate the entire process using tools like GSA Search Engine Ranker and SERPGROW GSA list. This allows you to build links around the clock. 

2. Private Blog Networks (PBNs) 

PBNs are a network of seemingly authoritative sites built only for one purpose - building links to your main website, to help it rank higher in Google. 

It's a powerful way to increase link diversity. By posting links to targeted niche relevant pages on different domains, you're able to build many links with little competition. The effectiveness of this tactic is still very prevalent today if you keep the content high quality. 

The advantage of a PBN is one of control. The owner of the network has the capability to change the content however he wants (to improve relevance), to add how many (or few) links he wants (i.e., having less outbound links on a page means he can minimize loss of link power) and to boost the rank for a site. 

3. Expired Domains 

Keeping a website well maintained is a key part of everyday operations for any online organization. It’s common for a company to rebrand or go out of business. When this happens, the company domain isn't just dropped at the registry, they are put up for sale. 

A common black hat strategy involves buying expired domains that previously ranked well and had backlinks from the reputable sites Google likes to see. A popular black hat technique is to buy an expired domain that was once highly ranked in Google and still has authority backlinks. Then, either re-create the old site or add fresh content under the same URL (from Way Back Machine). 

Another variant of this method is to 301 redirect the expired domain to your primary site, taking advantage of the link juice. 

The good news is that you can quickly buy expired domains using a service like DropCatch (a domain registrar that keeps an eye on domain expirations). 

4. Cloaking 

This approach is used to trick search engine spiders as well as users. Two types of content are written and delivered. One is for search engines to help your site rank, and another one for the users. 

For example, if you searched in Google for "puppy training", then clicked on one of the search results. Instead of landing on a page of useful information and resources about training puppies, you're taken to a movie streaming and download website full of spammy links (the cloaked site). 

The chances of getting caught using this technique are slim if you do it right. Search engine spiders will not index a cloaked site typically, but if they do and are seen as shady, they risk being deranked or de-indexed. 

5. Doorway And Gateway Pages 

These pages hold content with little use for the reader but are keyword rich (keyword stuffing) and have CTA's (Calls to Action). These doorway pages are used to inflate a site for a particular search query by using cloaking. So, when a user clicks on these pages, they are redirected to a completely different landing page that has no connection with the user's original search query. 

To combat the doorway and gateway pages technique, Google launched a penalty In March 2015. 

6. Link Buying And Swapping 

Marketers know that backlinks are important for search rankings and to build a website's authority. But most don't know how to create a powerful linking strategy. As a result of this, linking buying and swapping have increased in popularity. 

Link buying, is something Google recommends strongly against. But for sites in difficult or tiny niches, developing the content required to build high quality backlinks can be quite a challenging task. 

As a workaround, some SEOs will use services that explicitly sell links. For example, authority links published in new guest posts, or added to existing articles on websites that meet specific criteria. 

This allows the SEO to choose the exact placement site, and the anchor text included in the link. This can be a powerful tactic if used correctly. 

On the other hand, link swapping often takes place via private Facebook groups that exist solely for this purpose. This creates a large base of niche level reciprocal linking opportunities. For example, it's common for “mommy” or “recipe” blogs to link to one another. 

An author will write a recipe, then link to a friend’s similar food post. And vice versa. In general, this is not a problem. But if a website's entire link profile is made up from domains who they have linked to, it could leave a huge footprint for Google to find and penalize. 

7. Duplicate Content 

According to Google: “Duplicate content generally refers to text or HTML being repeated on a website. If the text is the same, then the content may be considered duplicate, so it’s important to understand why pages are similar and if they both serve different purposes.” Duplicate content is a problem for Google's algorithm. Duplicate content can harm search rankings and cause other issues, such as the loss of trust of a website on the part of its users and/or third-party services that use pages to index webpages. 

While Google can detect content duplication easily enough at the page level, it has had a harder time dealing with duplication of entire sites and their later link profiles. 

As a result, the practice has become a lot more prevalent in recent years. The problems with duplicate content for SEO are two-fold: 

1) Duplicates that are not always malicious in nature. Duplicates can arise through honest mistakes or bad practices. For example, if you nest some <h1> elements, you might accidentally produce duplicate titles for your top-level pages, or accidentally write "Web Design" twice in your robots.txt file. 

2) Intentionally copying content. This is content stolen from other pages on the web, without the permission of the original author. Some of this is even automated in nature, with or without linking credits involved.

If you copy content from other sites and post it on your site as your own, that's plagiarism. Google finds this quickly. Google’s spiders are constantly crawling the web to find duplicate content - so once found they're de-indexed at once. 

To avoid this issue, you could use one of the many plagiarism detectors available on the internet. 

If you really need to copy parts of another article, then cite the source (or add a canonical link or link back to the original article). 

Duplicate content is getting even more difficult to detect in some cases for both website owners and search engines due to content spinners, content rewriting, and translated content from other languages that may not show up on plagiarism detection software programs. 

8. Strategic And Subtle Keyword Stuffing 

When we say keyword stuffing, we don't mean the ridiculous and nonsensical examples you saw in the early days of search engines. Websites and posts would just have keywords listed hundreds of times to try and rank higher. 

We also don't mean hiding keywords in images or invisible text and hidden fonts like old school black hat SEOs used to do two decades ago. 

Strategic keyword stuffing is based on enhancing a website or article and making it clear to both the reader and crawlers what a web page is about. People need repetition (within reason) and Google needs clear indications what your content is all about. You can also research what your page ranks for (or what it could rank for) and start sprinkling in strategic keywords to help rank higher for related terms, while keeping keyword density natural. 

Don't engage in keyword stuffing for no reason or to a ridiculous extent, but a little extra reinforcement and word diversification can help you rank for more keywords over time.

Most SEO Pros Wear Many Hats

These are a few of the black hat SEO techniques that still work. The moral of the story is don't trust anybody who claims that their techniques are 100% white hat all the time, because if they were that good, they would be making a ton more money than they already are. The best most SEOs can do is where multiple hats, including grey hats.

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