“Refers to an optimization strategy, a person who uses dirty tricks to bring his site up in search engines. …”


As SEO continues to develop and gain prominence, Blackhat SEO techniques are increasing in their prevalence and also ingenuity.

Some typical examples of blackhat SEO trick include:

  • Using hidden text or links. These could be hidden in ALT tags of images or made the same colour as the page background so as to appear invisible to the public, but remain visible to searchbots. Style Sheets (CSS Spam) can be used in an attempt to hide these manipulations from search engine’s anti-spam filters.
  • Using techniques to artificially increase the number of links to a page by buying and selling links with the main aim of increasing rankings in results pages.
  • Using link farms to create masses of site links. These often lead to links between unrelated and therefore irrelevant pages, which Google generally picks up on quickly.
  • Excessively cross-linking sites to inflate the apparent popularity.
  • Cloaking: delivering different pages depending the IP address and/or agent who is requesting it.
  • Doorway/Gateway/Jump Pages – pages designed as an entrance to a website, each one of them optimized for a different keyword but which have no real content. These automatically redirect the user to the main website. This tactic is heavily used by adult content sites. Often with a Javascript mouseover redirect that sends the user to the new page as soon as the cursor hovers over the page content.
  • Mousetrapping. This is where web users are “trapped” on a page or site by various nefarious techniques. This can include disabling the “back” button on a web browser, presenting a stream of excessive pop-up ads, or even re-setting a browser homepage.
  • Duplicate Content. Identical or very similar pages that can be accessed from different URLs. Examples would be copies of the Open Directory Project (dmoz) listings or online books taken from Project Gutenberg. Someone could even steal the content of your website! This happened a number of times to me whilst working at ReviewCentre.com. Often the duplicate content was featured on amateur sites or forums, sometimes with the layout and even URLs replicated (but replacing Review Centre’s domain name with their own).
  • Misuse or cyber-squatting of competitor domain names or name typos, for example: Microsofr.com. At ReviewCentre.com we occasionally found new websites set up with very similar names eg. http://www.holidayreviewcentre.com
  • Spamming Forums and Blogs. Although using forums as part of a link-building strategy is legitimate and effective, excessive linking from one forum indicates dirty tricks (and a lazy SEO Exec…).
  • Excessive outbound links to websites that use high risk techniques or Spam.
  • Hiding outbound-links either with Javascript or by redirecting to a gateway page blocked by a robots.txt file.
  • Link Hoarding: getting as many inbound-links while giving out few outbound-links.
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