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Black Hat SEO


In the field of natural search engine optimisation, the term “Black Hat SEO” refers to a set of techniques that do not comply with the guidelines laid down by Google. Although some SEO experts use these methods to exploit vulnerabilities in search engine algorithms and improve their rankings, many people consider these practices to be unfair to sites that strictly follow Google’s guidelines.

The search engines are very clear about prohibited practices, as well as the possible risks and penalties to which users of black-hat techniques are exposed. The use of black-hat techniques does indeed entail its share of risks. Even if at first sight these techniques seem attractive, the risks involved are considerable, and the stakes are often not worth the candle.

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White, Grey or Black Hat SEO: What's the difference?

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO refers to all the ethical techniques used to improve the natural referencing of a website, in compliance with the guidelines and rules imposed by search engines.

White Hat techniques are the least aggressive and most natural SEO techniques. They deliver positive, sustainable results over the medium and long term. They are the exact opposite of black hats, which aim to deceive search engines with aggressive and unethical techniques in order to obtain short-term results.

White Hat SEO techniques include creating quality content, ethical netlinking, optimising site structure, improving loading speed and all the elements linked to user experience.

Grey Hat SEO

Grey Hat SEO is simply a combination of White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. Grey Hats use all the techniques of White Hat, while occasionally using Black Hat techniques, such as buying expired domains in order to create satellite pages, buying links or abusing snippets.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO is, for Star Wars fans, the dark side of the force. As mentioned in the introduction, Black Hat represents unethical techniques aimed at improving the natural referencing of a page. These techniques offer impressive SEO results, but these are generally short-lived. In fact, search engines are finding it less and less difficult to detect these techniques, and tend to penalise sites that engage in this type of practice severely.

Black hat seo: what are the risks for your site?

Using Black Hat techniques entails many risks for your site and is often not worth the risk. This is why the vast majority of SEO specialists choose to ignore them.

Black hat techniques can achieve faster results than white hat techniques, but only in the short term. These unethical techniques are very often detected by Google, which applies heavy penalties to websites that use them :

Negative impact on rankings

The main reason why Black Hat techniques are not recommended is loss of position in the rankings and loss of traffic.

When Google detects the use of fraudulent techniques by a website, it generally penalises it. In most cases, these penalties result in a loss of position in the rankings, a loss of visibility and a significant loss of traffic.

To avoid your site being downgraded almost permanently, it is preferable to use White Hat techniques, which are much more effective in the long term.

A poor user experience

When you create content for your site, you must always ensure that it corresponds to what users are looking for, that it is complete, original and unique to your site. Black hat techniques aim to optimise content for search engines and not for users, which is very detrimental to the user experience.

Bear in mind that Google’s objective is to offer the most relevant response to users’ queries, but also the best possible user experience. If you take these two factors into account when creating the content for your site, there’s a good chance that Google will favour you.

Limited long-term results

Although these techniques may seem attractive at first glance, they offer little in the way of long-term results. In fact, although Google may take a little time to detect your fraudulent techniques, once the algorithm has been updated or following a manual examination of your site, penalisation and loss of traffic are inevitable.

So if you have a long-term web page project, we strongly recommend that you avoid these techniques, or risk seeing your site penalised in the long term.

The various reprehensible techniques in Black Hat SEO

There is no set number of Black Hat techniques. The only limit is the creativity of SEO Black Hats and their ability to outwit Google and its guidelines.

The following is a list of the main techniques used in black hat SEO:

Duplicate content

Creating original, high-quality content is a complicated and time-consuming task. That’s why some SEO specialists have developed fraudulent techniques to overcome this difficulty.

Duplicate content involves taking content that already exists on another site, copying it and using it on your own site. Translating and using the content of a page in a foreign language is also considered duplicate content.

These techniques are penalised by Google, so it’s important to take the time to write original, high-quality content that brings value to users. If you don’t have the time to write content, you can always contact an SEO agency or freelancer to take care of it.


Cloaking is a technique that consists of presenting two different types of content : one to the user and another to the search engine. The content presented to the search engine is a page perfectly optimised for SEO, and the content presented to the user is perfectly optimised for the user experience.

This is a deceptive practice and is therefore punished by the search engines. Focus your efforts on designing a user-friendly page, with quality content, and there’s a good chance that the search engines will reward you.


Hidden text

The hidden text technique is a black hat technique that consists of masking text by making it the same colour as the background, and deliberately placing it off-screen or behind an image. To do this, SEO black hats deliberately use CSS, the computer language responsible for the formatting and visual style of a web page, to camouflage themselves. This allows content to be stuffed with keywords that are visible to the search engine but totally invisible to the user.

This technique was widely used a few years ago, but is no longer at all relevant today. Nowadays, search engine crawlers are much more powerful, and detect this type of fraudulent technique very easily. We therefore strongly advise against using this technique. Instead, try to integrate your keywords into your content in a logical and natural way.

The SEO negative

Not all black hat techniques are aimed solely at improving your site’s SEO. There are certain techniques that aim to damage or slow down your competitors’ efforts to get their sites listed.

These methods are highly unethical and go against Google’s guidelines. The main negative seo techniques are

  1. Creating toxic links
  2. Generating duplicate content
  3. Deleting your links
  4. Writing negative reviews

A SEO agency can be a good way of protecting you against these attacks. They will be able to analyse your link profile and detect attacks on your links or the creation of undesirable backlinks.

Automated link creation

Another black hat technique is the automation of massive link creation (backlinks). There are various ways of doing this:

  • Forum: Massive automation of profile creation on blogs allowing do-follow links, while including a link to your site in your profile bio.
  • Comments: Automate the writing of comments on forums or blogs (allowing do-follow links), while including a link to your web page.
  • Automate the creation of low-quality blogs and include links to your web page.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is an old black hat technique that consists of abusively filling the content of a page with keywords in the hope of gaining a better position in the search results.

This technique, is no longer at all current, and search engines detect it very easily. We advise you to write content in a natural way, focusing on concrete subjects and providing added value for users.

Satellite or Doorway pages

Satellite pages or doorway pages are pages that are generally invisible to the Internet user, targeting specific search queries, with content designed to act as a funnel towards a main page. For example:

You have an e-commerce site for sports shoes, and you want to improve its natural referencing. You could create 2-3 pages on the theme “sports footwear”, and create links on these pages to your sports footwear e-commerce site.

doorway pages

Bonus: Example of a real case

There are well-known cases of websites being penalised by Google because of Black Hat practices. Take the case of J.C Penney, for example.

J.C. Penney is an American department stores’ chain based in Texas. The company had managed to position itself at the top of the search results on several keywords that were highly strategic for their market. As a result, their results exploded during this period.

These excellent results were due to black-hat techniques for creating backlinks. More than 2,000 backlinks were discovered at that time. These links had optimised anchors that contained the keywords J.C Penney wanted to rank for. The problem was that most of these links were on web pages that had nothing to do with J.C Penney’s core business. Online casino sites, car sites, etc. were among the sources.

Google confirmed that J.C. Penney’s actions went against the guidelines for webmasters. J.C. Penney has been sanctioned by Google and has lost nearly seventy positions on Google for various strategic terms on which the company was positioned.

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