5 Black Hat SEO Terms You Need to Know

Every industry is filled with terms that are specific to that industry. Some industries have niches with their own terminology. Such is the case with black hat SEO. Despite having a solid SEO background, I continue to come across terms from the black hat side of things whose meanings I don't know. Every time I do, I make a mental note, but I figured putting them down on “paper” would be a good idea so here's the first batch.

Using vulnerabilities in a website's underlying code to inject links to a site, ideally one trusted by search engines. The more complicated the CMS, the more likely there are going to be holes in it that can be exploited. Once the links are in place, pinging or linking to the exploit pages can speed up the indexing by search engines.

To hide your association with the link in case it is discovered, put the real site a hop or two away from the link. For example, make the link look like it's an affiliate link i.e. an affiliate you don't control and then you can deny all knowledge and feign anger at such abusive techniques.

If you can isolate signatures in code that identify a particular piece of software, you can then automate link submissions. For example, if you can determine the signature used by a particular forum software, you can write software that crawls the web (or a list of URLs) to find instances of that software. Once identified, you can then use a script to create user profiles each with a link back to your site.

Automated Content Generation

This term usually refers to using content sources other than your own for creating web pages in an automated fashion. These pages don't necessarily make “sense” and are generally useless to users, but they target keywords that can bring traffic from search engines. Top rankings for competitive terms are unlikely, but it is possible to obtain rankings for the long tail of search which in aggregate can be quite lucrative.

Advanced techniques include measures to make the content unique by mixing from different sources, rearranging of text blocks, and/or replacing words with synonyms.

Parasite Hosting

This technique involves creating content on a host you don't control where the host in question is so trusted that your content can easily rank for the targeted keyword. Ideally the page would serve up legitimate-looking content to search engines, but redirect regular users to a page of your choice where you can monetize the traffic.

A variation of this includes finding no longer used accounts on sites like WordPress. Sometimes people get tired of their projects and just deactivate their accounts. This leaves a trusted URL up for grabs.

Override Back-Button Clicks

When a user leaves your site, you lose the opportunity to monetize that traffic. Instead, intercept the back-button click and direct the user to a page of your choosing. If you're really sneaky you can make the destination page LOOK like the page the user expects e.g. a search results page, but of course is actually that you can monetize.

And in closing the usual disclaimer about black hat being bad for humanity, blah, blah, blah 🙂

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7 Comments

  1. Interesting from the point of view of knowing what NOT to do. LOL

  2. Very interesting read. Not exactly the info I was Googling for. Thanks for sharing your views and experience.

  3. Marios Alexandrou

    @BigEasy Care to share some descriptions of techniques that aren't mild? I'd love to hear them.

    SEO sabotage is another article entirely :-)

  4. With the exception of #1, these seem like mild techniques compared to what I think of when I hear the term "black hat".

    That said, I think most traditional "black hat" techniques are mild compared to the sabotage tactics coming to be known as "negative seo".

  5. Overall, its a pretty comprehensive list but I think you're missing cloaking. Black hats get a bunch of bad rap for cloaking. Although Blackhat SEO itself isn't illegal, things like XSS begin to throw it into the illegal arena.

  6. Disgusting as the techniques may be, some of them are pretty clever :)

  7. you are so funny!!

    And in closing the usual disclaimer about black hat being bad for humanity, blah, blah, blah

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