Black Hat SEO – Definition

Cite this article as:"Black Hat SEO – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated March 7, 2019, last accessed November 26, 2020,


Black Hat SEO Definition

Black hat seo refers to a set of practices that are used to increase a site or a page’s rank in search engines through means that violate the search engines’ terms of service. “Black hurt” is a term originated in Western movies and recently it is used to describe computer hackers, virus creators and those who perform unethical actions with computers.

A Little More on What is Black Hat SEO

All the SEOs need a proper understanding of Black Hat SEO and its consequences. The black hat SEO is commonly referred to a disapproved practice against the search engines’ terms of service and this may lead to the banning of the site from the engine and affiliate sites. Google’s and Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines denounce the tactics and strategies employed by black hat SEO practitioners.

There are several SEO tactics considered to be black hat and should be avoided at all cost if one wants to remain above the board with Google and other search engines. These include Content Automation, Doorway Pages, Hidden Text, Keyword Stuffing, Reporting a Competitor, Sneaky Redirects, Cloaking, Link Schemes, Guest Posting Networks, Link Manipulation, Article Spinning and many more others.

Reasons for reporting black hat SEO include: when a website has been attacked through a malicious hack or virus or when there is a spammy web result on a competitive keyword a website is ranked on. The latter can be resolved by filing a webspam report through Google Webmaster Tools. If a website happens to be the target of a negative SEO campaign of spammy links, then one should use the Disavow Links Tool in Google Webmaster Tools after contacting webmasters.

Reference for Black Hat SEO

Academic Research on Black Hat SEO

  • Towards active seo (search engine optimization) 2.0, Boutet, C. V., Quoniam, L., & Smith, W. S. R. (2012). JISTEM-Journal of Information Systems and Technology Management, 9(3), 443-458. This paper explains the meaning of internet referencing or SEO in response to an environment that allows everyone to communicate information globally as a strategic discipline that aims in generating visibility, internet traffic and a maximum exploitation of sites publications. Despite being misperceived as a fraud; SEO has evolved to be a facilitating tool for referencing website with search engines. This articles shows that it is possible to achieve the first rank in search results of keywords that are very competitive, it shows the methods that are quick, sustainable and illegal and it also clarifies some working functions of search engines, advanced referencing techniques and it lays the foundations for an in depth reflection on the qualities and the advantages of these techniques as well.
  • SEO in e-commerce: Balancing between white and black hat methods, Duk, S., Bjelobrk, D., & Čarapina, M. (2013, May). In Information & Communication Technology Electronics & Microelectronics (MIPRO), 2013 36th International Convention on (pp. 390-395). IEEE. This research is based on putting of good practices between SEO and making mistakes in balance while using particular optimization method Search engines are constantly improving the algorithms to bring the most relevant search to users. New algorithms have been used to develop new methods to avoid being declared as black hat and degradation. The methods being used by several e-commerce in Croatia has be shown as well.
  • Characterizing key stakeholders in an online blackhat marketplace, Farooqi, S., Jourjon, G., Ikram, M., Kaafar, M. A., De Cristofaro, E., Shafiq, Z., … & Zaffar, F. (2017, April). In 2017 APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research (eCrime) (pp. 17-27). IEEE. This paper shows that it is important to consider a number of factors affecting black-hat marketplaces in order to deploy effective technical and legal countermeasures. These factors may include how marketplaces operate, who is buying, who is selling, what is being sold, who is more successful, etc. This paper also presents a as a black-hat marketplace since the site provides unanalyzed transaction information. This paper further tries to analyze selling and buying behavior of individual users and propose a strategy to identify key users.
  • Worst practices in search engine optimization, Malaga, R. A. (2008). Communications of the ACM, 51(12), 147-150. This article highlights the worst practices in search engine optimization that may affect search engine users. Recommendations to address these practices have also been proposed.
  • Search Engine Optimization: A Study, Patil Swati, P., Pawar, B. V., & Patil Ajay, S. (2013). Research Journal of Computer and Information Technology Sciences, 1(1), 10-13.  This study analyses the rising trends in Search Engine Optimization. According to the author, the number of people using search engines is increasing due to the popularity of the web. However, most people are only interested in the top few result pages. Thus, promoting a website in search engine is critical in website development. This paper also presents the feature of search engine page rank algorithms, SEO techniques and black hat SEO techniques.
  • Search engine optimization—black and white hat approaches, Malaga, R. A. (2010). In Advances in Computers (Vol. 78, pp. 1-39). Elsevier. According to this article, majority of people make online searches and online purchases based on the top ranked search engines. As such, it is critical to appear at the top. The article then describes the meaning of search engine optimization (SEO) and illustrates different SEO processes and methods. Further, it explores the concept of black hat and how black hat sites may be banned or penalized by search engines.
  • SEO in e-commerce: Balancing between white and black hat methods, Duk, S., Bjelobrk, D., & Čarapina, M. (2013, May). In Information & Communication Technology Electronics & Microelectronics (MIPRO), 2013 36th International Convention on (pp. 390-395). IEEE. This article describes the role of SEO in e-commerce. It highlights the most used search engines as well as the process of optimization. The article also discusses the means to balance between good practices in search engine optimization and making mistakes.
  • Understanding search-engine optimization, Gudivada, V. N., Rao, D., & Paris, J. (2015). Computer, 48(10), 43-52. This article explores the concept of search engine optimization (SEO). The authors explain why many organizations are directing their strategic marketing and sales towards a search engine results page (SERP). The authors illustrate how SEO influences business success as well as the key factors for ensuring successful SEO marketing.
  • Overlapping factors in search engine optimization and web accessibility, Moreno, L., & Martinez, P. (2013). Online Information Review, 37(4), 564-580. This paper offer evidence that overlapping factors of SEO not only serve to ensure the accessibility of a website for all users, but are also significant in the website optimization process. The authors research demonstrates that any SEO project undertaken should include proper design of accessible web content in order to better access and index the resulting web content.
  • Web spam detection using link-based ant colony optimization, Taweesiriwate, A., Manaskasemsak, B., & Rungsawang, A. (2012, March). In Advanced Information Networking and Applications (AINA), 2012 IEEE 26th International Conference on (pp. 868-873). IEEE. This article discusses the concept of web spam and how it affects the quality and efficiency of web search engines. A novel link-based ant colony optimization learning algorithm has been presented by the authors to address the problem of web spam. The authors then generate classification rules in regard to common features of normal hosts.


Was this article helpful?