Black Hat SEO: 6 Ways To Get Your Website Banned

Whether you are a website owner or an internet marketer, you know the importance of having high search engine rankings. With high rankings come high traffic, which — directly or indirectly — translate into increased profit. As a result, the temptation is great to resort to all sorts of tactics to improve a website’s position in search results.

However, any deceptive techniques used to improve rankings should be abandoned. Such tactics, generally termed Black Hat SEO, may cause a website to dropped from search engines and banned indefinitely.

Black Hat SEO Techniques To Avoid

Below are six popular Black Hat search engine optimization tactics that you should avoid. (Note: This is not an exhaustive list.)

1. Keyword Stuffing

The more often you use your keywords on a page, the higher you keyword density. However, search engines don’t look for exceptionally high keyword density, but reasonable keyword density. If you repeat your keywords too often, search engines might think that your website is spamming.

2. Cloaking

Cloaking is when websites serve one web page to search engine spiders and a different to human visitors. This can be used to mislead the search engine with regard to the content on the website.

There are, however, some methods of cloaking which are not regarded as a deceptive, such as delivering unique content to users based on their location, or allowing search engines to index password protected pages.

3. Hidden Text

Another method of deceiving search engines with regard to a website’s content is by including hidden text. Text can be rendered invisible by setting it as the same color as the background, using negative margins, or placing it in an invisible containing element.

4. Gateway Pages 

Sometimes additional websites or web pages are created with the sole purpose of ranking highly in search engines and generating traffic for another website. If these pages provide no value to visitors and are only used for rankings, your website may be penalized.

5. URL Redirection

This occurs when a user, or search engine, is unknowingly redirected to another website. Sometimes this practice is used to acquire the pagerank of the destination page. At other times, it is used to redirect users to a malicious website.

6. Link Farms

Google Pagerank and other similar ranking algorithms for other search engines place a lot of weight on link popularity. Black Hat search engine optimizers often take advantage of this by creating something known as a link farm, which is consists of a community of websites which link to each other.


Search engines have gotten progressively smarter in their quest to deliver highly relevant search results. So even if these tactics give you some success, it will only be temporary and could result in an indefinite ban of your domain name.

If you have been banned, it is possible to salvage your domain name. See I’ve Been Banned! What Can I Do?, where we discuss how you can ask search engines for reconsideration.

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2 Responses to “Black Hat SEO: 6 Ways To Get Your Website Banned”

  • neil July 18, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    good pointers – websites which try and boost their rank using these techniques are rightfully banned imo

    • Velvet Blues July 18, 2008 at 1:00 pm

      Yes. What’s frustrating is when particularly clever websites are able to enjoy prolonged success while using these tactics.


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