If you've ever tried to optimize your own website, you've probably found that the process can be a little tricky. I mean, between link-building and creating high-quality content, it's hard for one person to wade through all the necessary tasks on their own.
That's why black hat SEO techniques have been around since search engines were first invented. These kinds of tricks are made to get sites ranked higher on search engine results pages, even when they're low-quality. And the tricks aren't always obvious, they might include strategies like article spinning, keyword stuffing, buying links, cloaking (which is where a page shows different content depending on who is looking at it), negative SEO, and invisible text (which is where a site puts white text on a white background so it can't be seen by human readers).
The real issue with these dodgy tactics is that they don't take users into consideration at all, users are just an afterthought in the quest to get higher rankings.
Black Hat SEO techniques to avoid at all costs:
The days of using a high keyword density to trick search engines are long gone, but this practice is still used by some because it's an easy way to game the system. Keyword stuffing means packing your article with as many keywords as possible — so many that it doesn't make sense and isn't even readable by humans. Search engines now recognize this and will penalize you for it.
This means putting keywords in the same color as your website's background or hiding them somewhere on the page where a human visitor won't see them (but search engines will). Again, this is a very old trick that no longer works, but some people still use it.
This means showing search engines one version of a page while showing another to human visitors. For example, you might have an article that's nothing but keywords stuffed together, but then show a normal-looking page when someone visits your site. Anytime you're trying to trick search engines, they'll eventually figure it out and penalize you for it.
While it's true that SEO wouldn't be where it is today without black hat SEO, Google has really cracked down on this kind of underhanded behavior and for good reason. Their goal is to help search users find what they're looking for as quickly as possible.
If you want your website to rank well and avoid getting penalised by Google, you have to put yourself in your users' shoes and think about them first. When you do this, you'll create content that actually helps people instead of trying to trick algorithms into thinking that your site is more relevant than it actually is. The results will be worth the effort.
So whether you're planning on doing SEO in-house or with an agency, stick with honest tactics that will get real, long-term results. Avoid the temptation to use black hat techniques at all costs!