Some of us have heard or read about “back hat” techniques in search engine optimization. This refers to sneaky optimization tactics that webmasters use to boost up their sites’ ranking in search results. These black hat tactics go against Googles webmaster guidelines, and anyone caught using these tactics will be penalized by Google, dumping your site to the bottom of search results.

The following are some of the most common rule-breaking black hat techniques used today. Learn them, and avoid using them.

Don’t Use Unrelated Keywords

Ensure the keywords you are using are relative to your website and/or business. While it may be tempting to use highly searched (but irrelevant) keywords for the sake of gaining more traffic, this tactic has been proven to be a waste of time. Even if you gain more visitors from this, you won’t gain any sales from it because visitors were expecting to see something else and will likely leave your website anyways. Search engines will not always catch this right away, but when they do, your ranking will be penalized for it.

Avoid Article Spinning

New content on a regular basis is excellent for SEO. Search engines love it. However, because it’s such a time-consuming task, website owners will try and get around this by “spinning” their articles to give the illusion of fresh content. Article spinning is done by taking one article and producing multiple versions of it by changing some of its words via software. The idea is to trick the search engines into thinking it’s fresh content. The problem is that these spinners often produce horribly written content and doesn’t provide any new information to users.

Buying Links is Not Worth It

It’s common SEO knowledge that search engines will look at inbound links as a signal for ranking. Generally speaking, the more inbound links to your page, the more relevant your website is. So it’s not surprising that people will opt to “purchase” links instead of earning them through proper channels, to give their website a boost.

The problem is that inbound links must be natural. Search engines will look at the content of these sites linking back to you. If it’s not relevant to your website/content, then it will have a negative impact on your SEO. In addition, purchased links are usually done in bulk. Obtaining 100 inbound links in one day is not likely and not natural. Search engines will take notice of this, and your ranking will suffer.

While there are always new tricks to gaining an illegitimate SEO advantage, search engines are becoming smarter too. It’s only a matter of time that you’ll be caught. The short term gain is not worth the long term consequences, so keep that white hat on and play by the rules.

To learn more on proper SEO practices and things you should never do when optimizing, visit