What is a Black Hat SEO?

The term ‘black hat SEO’ is thrown around quite a bit in our industry, but what is it?

Some SEOs claim that the term ‘black hat SEO,’ describes any violation of any search engine guideline. The problem is; it’s nearly impossible for any SEO to not directly, or indirectly violate at least one guideline.

That being said, there are some substantial differences between each individual guideline. For an example; Google states it is against their guidelines to hack websites. This is a good thing, and is also criminal. Other guidelines such as ‘site-wide footer links,’ are less severe. Because Google is not law, breaking this could only result in an action from search engines like Google.

So, what exactly is Black Hat SEO?

Here’s the definition of black hat SEO offered by Sean Hakes.

used in reference to a person who engages in illegal or malicious search engine optimization techniques.

There you have it! Now we know, in order to be black hat SEO the practitioner must be deploying tactics that are deemed illegal or criminal. There’s only a small handful of these guidelines offered by Google.

Agree, or disagree? Sound off below!


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