The Black hat SEO = Dig Your Own Grave!

In Feb 2006, BMW’s official site was blacklisted by Google for indulging in unethical SEO activities that manipulated the page ranking system. Getting blacklisted by Google would mean that your site’s PR suddenly drops to zero and no more pages from your site will be indexed by Google basically denying your site’s search visibility.

Black hat SEO or spamdexing get penalized by GoogleBlack hat SEO (spamdexing) is the collective term to describe such bad SEO activities. These methods, for sure, bring in immediate visibility to your website or blog but are almost certain to be banned by Google sooner or later. In this post, I shall try to explain the SEO activities that are considered wrong by the search engines and in particular Google.

Most Commonly Found Black Hat SEO methods

The following are the commonly found black hat SEO approaches.

#1 Keyword Stuffing: Here, we are not talking about the controlled way of keyword inclusion as discussed in our last post (blog post seo). But they actually stuff so many keywords in the meta tag as well as page body so many times (in some cases keyword-only pages as well may be there) that these pages will sabotage search engine’s attempt to find pages with the right content as indicated in the meta tags.

Stuffed keywords are not only seen in meta tags but also in hidden text, Image alt tags, div regions, areas beyond the screen co-ords, noscript region, very small font-sized text, text with background color etc.

#2 Doorway pages: These are the pages that do not contain any good information readable by the humans but are maintained for search engine bots alone. Usually, stuffed with keywords and links alone, they are primarily there to attract search visits via great page ranks that they usually have. The reader, after landing there, will be automatically redirected to some other page (even unrelated to what they searched for). BMW was penalized for this approach, as I understand.

Doorway pages are also known as entry pages or jump pages.

Please note that the Landing pages are not Doorway pages. Landing pages are usually used to provide the content summary to the search visitors and they are genuine in nature.

#3 Cloaking: Cloaking is an attempt to fool the search engines by providing a particular version of a page for the search engine bots to index and actually another version to the human visitors to read. This is a different form of doorway pages, in a way. The methodology uses IP addresses, user-agent information etc to distinquish between bots and humans.

#4 Link farming: Link farms refer to a huge number of backlinks provided to a particular URL to improve its page rank and hence improved search hits. Link farm approaches can be via manual link exchanges (reciprocal links), automatic exchanges via scripts, bulk linking, multi-way linking etc. Usually, link farming is considered spam when large numbers of inbound links are coming in to a particular URL especially from totally unrelated content.

#5 Google bombing: This refers to the way of artificially inflating the search rank (positioning within the search results) of a particular page via providing huge number of links with the same anchor text pointing to that page. Google bombing was very common until a year ago before Google changed their algorithms (Remember how some of those evil minded people spoilt Microsoft’s name via Google bombing. The same had happened to George Bush as well. In both cases, some funny literal search resulted in hits to the pages mentioned above)

Usually, the result set fetched in via Google bombing contain many irrelevant links.

A word of caution

To be on the safer side, it’s always better to avoid the above mentioned methods and stick to the so-called White hat SEO methodology. In fact, Google has come up with a bunch of Quality Guidelines for Webmasters and it’ll be really good if you could go through that documentation once. Also, be careful while signing up with any SEO services that promise quick result and it is always good to spend some time to understand their SEO approaches up front.

In the case of BMW, Google reverted the death penalty after the former apologized and stopped their black hat SEO activities that was apparently done by external campaigners. The same consideration might not come through for everyone else and hence say NO to Black hat approaches!


  1. Abdul :

    Of course…!!! Black hat SEO is to get penalty from Google. Nice post Ajith…. This is awareness to all black hat SEOs.

  2. Blog for Bloggers :

    Dude, BMW is extremely lucky they managed to get out of that one, black hat seo is something I won’t get into because the risks are way too high. Especially for business like them.

    p.s. Until reading this I didn’t even know any of the methods used in black hat seo.

    Blog for Bloggers’s last blog post… Guest Posting: What Its All About

  3. Cheat. Just don’t get caught.

    the Blogoholic’s last blog post… 10 Effective Methods to Get More Comments on Your Blog

  4. @Abdul, welcome to DollarShower and thanks for agreeing to my take on Black hat SEO

    @Ardit, you are right. BMW (and later Ricoh as well) got away with it. Looks like at that time there were plenty black hat SEO firms around.

    @Rajaie, heheh… cheat = you 😆 Btw, good to see that your new blog is rocking!

  5. I must admit that when I first started to blog, that was about 10 months ago, I was really impressed by these black hats seo tricks and even tried them.. But then after reading much about these I stopped and even deleted that blog which was already banned from google index at that time. It was my first blog, a MMO one. I left that niche as it was too saturated.

    I now prefer to work hard using allowed seo tips and thats much better and adding to it some imagination, any one can make better use of these.

    Better to not cheat google and in the case of BMW, they have been really lucky to get out of this as someone said above.

    Kurt Avish’s last blog post… Blog of the Year 2008 Awards

  6. @Kurt, yes… black hat is a big no no, if you want to sustain. Usually, it’s adopted only by those rated or illegal sites for quick visibility and then perish. In their cases, it works better because they expect the domains to be banned and want to cash in as much as possible before moving over to the next.

    Yep, allowed ways of SEO itself has enough challenges and excitement built into it and hence why go the black way? I shall soon provide a platform whereby all of us can try to excel via the allowed ways of doing SEO.

  7. Sire :

    Makes you wonder why people go to such extremes, especially when you are bound to get caught out sooner or later and when you do I would say that in most cases it wasn’t worth the small moment of fame.

    Sire’s last blog post… Blog No Evil,The Fourth Wise Monkey

  8. @Sire, exactly… once banned is like almost a permanent ban. Some of those blogs with decent content and traffic but with PR0 could be the victims of bad consulting or self SEO done the ‘black hat’ way.

  9. Sire :

    Losing your PR isn’t as bad as Google black banning your site. A few of my blogs lost their PR because I took on paid posts but they still receive a fair amount of traffic from Google so at least it did not affect the SERP of each individual site.

  10. Archie Pennies :

    And the classic and pesky auto blogs that read feeds and send pingbacks. Theres one that keeps sending me really ugly trackbacks to my blog from viagra and stuff like that. These are the worst. Great post Ajith!

  11. @Sire, thanks for the follow up. You are right. Loosing PR may not be the ultimate punishment but what they term as Google Death Penalty is stopping indexing your blog

    @Luis, haha you are right. It’s one of the most annoying things… I think such forced trackback requests based on automatic keyword queries is another attempt to make those stupid blogs visible in SERPs. But most of them end up getting banned.

    (Btw, thanks for the stumble)

  12. How to Build a Link Spammer ???

  13. Hami :

    Wow that bush thing was a result of Google Bombing? Nice points you have compiled here in a very readable way ..

    p.s. I am your new reader 😀


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