Back to Black: Two SEO Optimization Techniques That Are Dangerous and Outdated

Kyle Simons


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques can be divided into two categories: white hat and black. White hat SEO techniques are those that are approved of by search engines and that will likely positively influence your ranking in search results. In contrast, black hat techniques have been disapproved by search engines, and are specifically warned against in their terms of service. Violation of these terms can end in penalization, primarily in the form of a lower ranking in results, and even in complete ban from searches. Many cheap SEO companies will offer appealingly low pricing for their services, only because their black hat tactics are inexpensive. Note that their inexpensiveness is paired with ineffectiveness, and though they may at first seem to improve your company’s ranking for desired keywords, these techniques inevitably end in penalization and your website will fall to the end of Google or Bing’s SERPs. Additionally, many old techniques for SEO have been weeded out by advancement and improvement of web crawler algorithms. Below are two of the SEO techniques that are outdated, most frowned upon, and downright dangerous.

Keyword Stuffing

Once a technique that actually added appeal to your website for spiders, keyword stuffing is an archaic and harmful technique that engines were able to identify and stop back in 2005. This tactic involves packing pages with keywords that may or may not be relevant to the actual page. Rather than focusing on including this spam, it is much more beneficial to include content that is user friendly and well-written. This will not only keep users on your page, potentially creating business leads, but could also lower risk of penalization. To abstain from over-using keywords you can always employ synonyms, as Google does recognize words with parallel meaning and can distinguish randomized text from cohesive sentences and paragraphs. A keyword density of up to 5% is said to be ideal for proper SEO, since that is the usual concentration in quality content.

Common types of keyword stuffing include:

  • Using “noscript” tags
  • Blending text into the background to hide it
  • Excessive repetition of keywords in content
    •     E.g. “If you’re looking for nice Downtown Toronto Condominiums, contact us, the Downtown Toronto Condominium experts with the best in Downtown Toronto Condominiums”
  • Hiding keywords off screen or behind images


Cloaking involves using doorway pages, which is a direct violation of Google’s quality guidelines, and thus is ill advised in all forms. This black hat trick involves showing the web crawler a different page than the one that the end user ends up visiting. This has created numerous problems in the past where adult websites would lure viewers in by appearing in Google searches as completely unrelated websites. That is just one of the reasons that this practice is so frowned upon, and that websites should avoid including any script that attempts to identify a search engine’s crawlers at all; crawlers should be treated as traditional desktop computers. Since this tactic completely prevents algorithms from performing their designated task, many websites are blacklisted instantly for employing this practice. Note that techniques like geo-location, personalisation, and identifying mobile users are not considered cloaking since they do not attempt to identify spiders.

Other Techniques to Avoid:

  • Dishonest Redirects
  • Buying or Exchanging Links
  • Repetitive Meta-Descriptions
  • Machine Translation
  • Link Spamming

To conclude, keyword stuffing and cloaking, among the many other black hat SEO techniques, are ultimately ineffective ways of generating organic web visitors. These deceitful tactics ultimately pose more risk than benefit, and more often than not, result in eventual penalization from search engines. Performing white hat SEO techniques not only makes your website more user-friendly, but also improves your search engine ranking without detriment. At Spark, one of our team’s mottos is “Cheap SEO isn’t good and good SEO isn’t cheap,” because effective SEO isn’t what’s most inexpensive, but what works. Investing in a good SEO strategy is about getting the best bang for your buck and leaving black hat SEO in the past where it belongs.

Kyle Simons

Kyle Simons is an SEO Intern, media student, and full-time pun enthusiast.

Newsletter Sign-Up

Share the knowledge!