5 SEO Tactics to Avoid at All Costs

black hat seoInternet marketing and content marketing is an area where you can make the mistake of actually using frowned upon tactics without even realizing it. In order to avoid making the mistake of using black hat or unethical techniques in your marketing campaign, consider some of these not so favorable ways to abuse SEO and do more harm than good for your effort.

#1: Keyword Stuffing – It may happen naturally if you are genuinely writing about something that requires certain keywords to be used repeatedly but it is still something to try to watch for. While overusing certain keywords once worked to get your site or blog bumped to the top of a Google search, it now has the opposite effect. Saturating your piece with words in an obvious abuse of SEO will now get you booted or offend those who find your site this way anyway.

#2: Paying for Links – Having links and backlinks is something else that should happen naturally. Paying for this type of connection is considered unethical and will probably not get you the results you want. Also creating fake websites just to increase the backlinks for your site is not an ethical practice to follow. This ties into the next one too. 

#3: Hiring someone to leave fake comments or to write false reviews and testimonials – The idea is that you should be attracting real versions of these for others to see. If you want to encourage visitors to your blog or users of your product to leave real comments, reviews or testimonials that is one thing. If you go out of your way to have false versions of these, you are operating with black hat marketing techniques.

#4: Hidden or Invisible Text – This is the practice of using text that cannot be seen by visitors to a site or blog but is detected by search engines. Again, it is considered a less than ethical tactic to use to rank higher on search engines. This is also considered a form of spam and therefore frowned upon.

#5: Using Misspellings – This is used when you create content marketing and use keywords that are commonly misspelled. Using the misspelled version of the word but directing it to the correctly spelled version is frowned upon and not a good practice to get in the habit of for SEO.

While it may be tempting to use some tricks that could be considered “in the grey area” you will more than likely be sorry you did. In the long run it is never worth using these types of black hat approaches to SEO. Yes, it may take more time to build up the desired effect from white hat techniques but the results will be more positive and long lasting.

Avoid making these mistakes, whether intentional or not. It is best to learn how to correctly use and treat SEO and then you will not fall into one of these traps. There are other unethical SEO practices but these are some of the more common ones that become a pitfall.


Chris Auman is a veteran Internet marketer, website developer, and designer with over 20 years of experience in the trenches. As President and Senior Strategist at Sanctuary, Chris has successfully guided the online marketing efforts for companies large and small. Chris’ clients range from family owned & operated retail operations with a local footprint of 1-10 stores to multinational Fortune 500 companies.