Ethics in SEO: The Black Hat Dilemma

Black Hat Ethics Featured Kristen Killian
Kristen Killian
November 20, 2014

In Search Engine Optimization there is not necessarily a “code of ethics” to follow, though search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo do have guidelines set up to promote best practices in SEO. There are also tactics that are simply frowned upon within the industry.

There is a name for those practices that are frowned upon and known for being “bad”; it is called Black Hat SEO. The Black Hat strategy involves sneaky ways to increase your search engine results. Different things like stuffing keywords, hidden text, hidden links, link farms and many more are examples of this and you definitely want to avoid them.


Black Hat Purposes

It’s clear that Black Hat Practices are not ideal, so why are they even used at all? It is essentially a way to cheat rankings because you are filling in non-relevant content in different places throughout your site. It’s great in the short term, because your site can hopefully make it to the top results for many different types of searches. The only issue is that it is not sustainable long-term.


Long-Term Issues

Search engines have set guidelines and they will enforce them by their own means.  When search engines send out their spiders to crawl the web, they are looking for the Black Hat techniques. When they come across a website that is not following their guidelines and “cheating the system,” it is recognized as spam. In an effort to keep the internet safe and clean for web users, they can choose to de-index you in their SERP (search engine results page). They can keep you de-indexed for any amount of time until they consider your website clean and uninfected.


What You Can Do To Ensure Best Practices

When building website content it is very simple to remain fair and honest. You may not be pleased with your immediate rankings, but if you keep building your web content to the likings of you current users, you may find that it will help you rank higher in the future. Keep up to date with analytics and see where you can improve. Maintain an ethical mindset and search engines and competitors will thank you.


Have you had issues with your site ranking being affected due to black hat techniques? Comment in the section below, email us at, or tweet us @Perfect_Search!



Kristen Killian
Online Marketing Intern

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