Black Hat SEO: 6 Tactics to Stay Away in 2021



SEO has always been a tough game where everyone tries to win the competition. White-hat tactics work for a hundred percent but it takes lots of time before the first positive results emerge. 

The thing is that business owners can’t wait to see the SEO progress. They need to crush their competitors and rank well in the SERP in a blink of an eye. 

Unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve using white-hat SEO strategies. 

That’s when black-hat SEO comes into play. And these strategies might look risky so you should better stay away. 

In this post, you will get familiar with six black-hat SEO strategies you should avoid for all costs. 

Let’s start!

  • Don’t Buy Links

When you buy links from third-party sites, you ask these websites to link back to your source without taking into consideration whether it is relevant or not. You pay money and get your link placed. 

Why is it not safe for your site?

First of all, it goes against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Eventually, your site can get a penalty from Google. Besides, paid links won’t have any significant impact on the rankings. Therefore, it isn’t worth neither your money nor your site’s safety. 

So, how to avoid buying links but still keep your backlink profile strong? 

Use old-fashioned email outreach to build links. Reach out to the owners of the sites, introduce your material, and give them a reason to link back to your piece of content (landing page). 

It may sound easy, isn’t it? 

Unfortunately, link-building with the help of email outreach is not a hundred percent resultative process. You can send a few hundred messages and get a few links in return. 

How to succeed in building links via outreach?

For example, if you’ve updated your page with free presentation templates and you need to build more links. Your goal is to find pages that your source will complement. 

How to find these pages?

Go to the Keywords Explorer tool from Ahrefs and analyze your target keyword. To find outreach opportunities that would willingly link back to your page, you should review the “SERP overview” report.

Ahrefs Stats

Ahrefs Stats

Pay attention to the “domains” column and explore outreach opportunities easily. 

Ahrefs Stats

Ahrefs Stats

Skim through the results and figure out the targets you would like to reach out to. 

Work on your email outreach pitch. Underline why your page is worth the link and be ready to suggest something in return. 

  • Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is widely used to manipulate rankings by repeating the same words and phrases in the content. And this black-hat SEO strategy was quite effective back in the 90s. 

Fortunately, these days are gone. Keyword stuffing nowadays is only done by amateur bloggers, and if you stuff keywords, it could harm your SEO, which will lead to a Google penalty. 

How to avoid keyword stuffing and still rank for multiple keywords? 

The best way to handle this is by creating comprehensive content. When you cover some topics in detail, you will be able to include different expressions and long-tail keywords that people tend to search in Google. 

Plus, don’t forget to cover subtopics. Users can explore these subtopics online as well. 

What’s more important, subtopics can give you an opportunity to cover them separately as an individual topic. For example, if you review top results that cover a branding topic, you will see that the majority of them are guides. As the rule, the guides cover multiple aspects of the same topic.

Ahrefs Stats

Ahrefs Stats

  • Avoid Content Spinning

Content spinning stands for rewriting the same piece of content to create new articles. You can hardly find this black-hat SEO strategy applied across the personal blogs of the website owners. However, it can be noticed on third-party blogs where people publish their guest articles. 

Why does content spinning harm SEO?

Spun content has poor quality and it sounds weird. As a result, it leads to acquiring low-quality backlinks. 

What should you do instead?

Create unique variations of the same topic. For example, you stumbled upon the situation that you need to write a few guest articles on “outreach”. You can cover outreach in the following ways:

  • “Blogger Outreach for Small Business Owners”
  • “A Detailed Guide on Email Outreach from A to Z”

Despite the fact that the topic is the same, each version of the article covers the information from different angles. It will help you create more unique guest posts and build more backlinks. 

  • Avoid Blog Comment Spam

Another black-hat SEO strategy that aims to build links by posting irrelevant comments on the blog posts. It should be mentioned that links you build posting comments are “nofollow” usually. It means there is no SEO value in terms of rankings. 

However, if you want to avoid this black-hat strategy, you should write useful comments. Yes, it won’t have any SEO impact because the links will be “nofollow”. However, people will start visiting your site, reading your content, and linking back to your source. 

How to find pages where you can leave your comments? 

You can use the Content Explorer tool for this purpose. Just enter your topic, switch the search mode to “In title”, add a “Page traffic” filter with the minimum set to 100. Afterwards, click on “One page per domain” and “Exclude homepages” filters:

Ahrefs Stats

Ahrefs Stats

Review the list of blogs and reap the benefits for future link placement in the comments section.

Wix Blog

Wix Blog

  • Avoid Rich Snippets Spam

Rich snippets span is a black-hat SEO technique that helps you misuse structured data to gain the edge in the SERP. 

Why does it harm your SEO? 

According to Google, pages or sites that violate content guidelines may receive less favorable ranking or be marked as ineligible for rich results in Google Search in order to maintain a high-quality search experience for the users. It leads to a Google penalty. 

Secondly, it is not a secret that rich snippets improve CTR in the SERPs. That’s why people want to get them. However, if you violate rich snippets structured markup guidelines, your page or site may be marked as “ineligible for rich results in Google search”.

And don’t forget that Google is quite good at spotting spammy and irrelevant structured data. Thus, it is impossible to see rich snippets with spammy markup. 

The best advice you can get here is to follow Google’s structured data guidelines. 

  • Avoid Negative SEO Techniques

Negative SEO techniques are mainly used to harm your competitors’ sites or page rankings. 

Negative SEO is illegal. It is unethical. Negative SEO techniques look forward to building low-quality backlinks to hurt your competitors. 

For example, your content is all about entrepreneurship and your competitors create links across other irrelevant niches using wrong anchors leading to your site. Also, negative SEO involves leaving negative reviews or comments that have a goal to discredit competitors. 

Even though you build low-quality backlinks for your competitors, Google can identify these backlinks. Eventually, your negative SEO attacks will be smoothed over. 

What to do instead of negative SEO?

Create content that would satisfy Google’s requirements. It means, your content must follow search intent and attract backlinks organically. Let’s review these two aspects in more detail. 

Search intent shows the real reason behind the user’s search. To put it simply, if your piece of content provides people with the information they are searching for, there are way more chances to rank higher on Google. 

How to identify search intent? 

Draw attention to:

  • Type of content. Check out whether top result pages are blog posts, category pages, or something else. Adjust your content type accordingly.
  • Format of content. Review if the top pages are listicle articles, tutorials, how-to guides, reviews.
  • The angle of content. Identify content angle and figure out if you need to write your post for “beginners” or “for small business”. etc. 

Backlinks are one of the top three ranking factors that Google takes into account. Hence, it is critically important to run link-building campaigns and acquire backlinks. 

To Sum Up

Black-hat SEO strategies aren’t worth your time and efforts. Even if the idea to use these strategies seems to be attractive, you should stay away from it.  Otherwise, your site gets a Google penalty and your reputation will be damaged. 

Instead, use white-hat SEO strategies suggested in this post as alternatives. They will help you push your site rankings up and keep your website safe. 

If you think this post lacks more black-hat SEO tactics to avoid, feel free to share them in the comments.