Black Hat Backlinks: The Problems and Techniques to Avoid

blackhat backlinks

Usually, website owners strive for higher search engine rankings to gain more visibility and organic traffic. Backlinks, links from other websites pointing to your own, play a crucial role in search engine algorithms. However, some website owners resort to unethical shortcuts known as black hat backlinks. This brings us to the contentious topic of black hat backlinks, a practice that can jeopardize the integrity of your website and its standing on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Backlinks are fundamental to SEO strategies because they signal to search engines that other websites consider your content valuable enough to link to. However, as we venture into the realm of black hat backlinks, we uncover a darker side of SEO practices, where manipulation and unethical tactics aim to trick search engines and fast-track site’s rankings.

This article explores the problems associated with black hat backlinks, the techniques to avoid them, and how to identify them. Let’s read!

Blackhat backlinks are backlinks obtained through black hat SEO techniques, which violate search engine guidelines and attempt to manipulate search engine rankings unfairly. Unlike white hat SEO techniques, which focus on creating high-quality content and building genuine connections with other web pages, black hat links often involve link schemes designed to deceive search engine algorithms. An example of a black hat link could be one originating from a low-quality web page site that exists solely to pass link juice, without providing any real value to its visitors.

An example of a black hat SEO practice could be a link placed on a website with irrelevant or low-quality content. Search engines consider the source and context of backlinks, and such links can negatively affect your site’s ranking.

1. Search Engines Penalties

Search engines like Google Search continuously refine their algorithms to detect and penalize websites using black hat tactics. Penalties can range from a decrease in search engine rankings to complete removal from search results pages (SERPs).

2. Damaged Website Reputation

Engaging in black hat practices can damage your website’s reputation and brand image, associating it with unethical practices and potentially deterring potential customers.

3. Poor User Experience

Black hat links often lead to irrelevant or harmful websites, providing a poor user experience and potentially harming your website’s bounce rate and other engagement metrics.

1. The Desire for Quick Results

Some website owners want immediate improvements in their rankings (to manipulate rankings) and see blackhat SEO as a shortcut. Blackhat backlinks can appear to improve search engine rankings quickly, but these gains are typically short-lived and unsustainable. Some shady ways of creating website links may help for a short time until search engines figure them out and stop them.

2. Lack of Knowledge

Sometimes, people unintentionally create harmful links because they lack awareness about SEO. Not everyone managing a website is familiar with the intricacies of search engine optimization, making it easy for them to unknowingly develop improper links.

Unfamiliarity with ethical SEO practices or being misled by black hat SEO tactics can lead website owners down the wrong path.

Many people don’t know how to get links for their websites, so they hire others to do it for them. But not all of these services are good. Some low-cost link builders take shortcuts and use tricky methods like putting links on PBNs. They do this because it’s a fast and simple way to get links for their clients.

They skip the hard and expensive parts of link building, like reaching out to others or creating quality content, and instead, they just put links on sites they control. If clients don’t know much about how websites work, they might not realize they are paying for tricky links. They might see the links and think the service is doing a good job.

1. Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

One common tricky method is using Private Blog Networks (PBNs). These are groups of websites built just to link to another site and make it rank higher. People doing this buy old domains that already have a good reputation. They then make new websites on these domains, often with cheap or computer-generated content. Google is good at finding PBNs, so those doing shady link-building try to hide the connection by hosting the sites on different servers. The problem is that search engines might catch on and stop these links, causing a big drop in rankings.

Engaging in paid links schemes, either by buying links from other websites or selling links from your own, violates search engine guidelines. If the SEO company you’re working with spends money on buying links, it’s a sign of potential shady practices known as black hat backlinks. Paid links fall into a gray area, and what exactly counts as a paid link can be debated.

Google doesn’t like paid links because they try to manipulate search results. Google’s former web spam head, Matt Cutts, compares buying links to buying reviews on Amazon. Instead, it’s better to build strong connections with relevant and trustworthy sites in your industry. Share useful content that gives credit to your site as the source.

3. Comment Spam

Leaving irrelevant comments on other sites with links back to your own is a black hat backlink technique that can harm your website’s reputation. Securing links by commenting on blog posts is a traditional approach, but leveraging automated programs to leave a multitude of comments violates Google’s guidelines. These automated comments, typically facilitated by bots, result in numerous but ineffective links. Services offering such black hat link-building are sometimes found on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr.

Link farms serve as websites specifically created to furnish links to other sites, with owners making money by selling these links. Often affiliated with Private Blog Networks (PBNs), these farms might no longer find internal link benefits worthwhile, prompting owners to commercialize them through link sales.
While the repercussions for utilizing links from link farms are generally moderate, given Google’s algorithm nullifying them, accumulating an excessive amount could trigger a manual penalty.

5. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO technique where a webpage is loaded with excessive instances of a particular keyword or phrase. The primary goal is to manipulate the search engine rankings for that keyword and gain an unfair advantage in search results. Instead of providing valuable and relevant content to users, the focus is on repeating the target keyword unnaturally and excessively within the content, meta tags, or other on-page elements.

Among the most extreme black hat link-building techniques are hacking websites to give links to their content. Hackers often target older, less frequently monitored blog posts due to their vulnerabilities. The inserted links may go undetected until someone stumbles upon them, offering an almost boundless opportunity for link inclusion. Despite the associated risks, hackers find this method appealing due to the control it affords over elements like anchor text and link placement.

Knowing how to identify black hat links can help you avoid inadvertently harming your website. Here are some tips:

1. Google Search Console Check

Google can penalize your site through manual actions, impacting your rankings and potentially removing your site from Google’s index. If numerous black hat links are pointing to your site, you might be facing a manual action.

To see if there are any manual actions, go to Google Search Console and click on “Manual Actions” under the “Security and Manual Actions” tab. Any issues with your site will be displayed here. If everything’s fine, you’ll get a message like the one shown in the image below.

Google search console - Polar Mass - blackhat backlinks

If you’ve got a manual action or are concerned about links that could harm your site, it’s crucial to identify and remove problematic links. The first step is conducting a thorough backlink audit, creating a list of all your website links, and evaluating their quality.

The easiest way to do this is by using an SEO tool. SEMRush or Ahrefs is a good choice; it scans your links and flags those it identifies as potentially coming from harmful domains.

You might find unnatural placement like in comment sections or unrelated content suggests blackhat baklinks. Also, over-optimized or irrelevant anchor text used in the link might indicate manipulation.

Is Black Hat SEO Illegal?

Many black hat SEO strategies are not illegal, while not necessarily breaking the law, it is against Google’s guidelines and may lead to penalties from search engines, but the consequences usually stop there.

Certain black hat SEO methods, however, have the potential to cross legal boundaries. A clear illustration is unlawfully infiltrating a website to incorporate links to your own site. Unauthorized access to someone else’s website is a violation of computer security laws and could have legal ramifications.

So, what are the other SEO backlink techniques that I should use?

An Alternative Way: White Hat SEO

Instead of resorting to black hat backlinks, focus on white hat SEO practices for long-term success. White hat links techniques emphasize creating high-quality content, building genuine backlinks, and providing a positive user experience.

By focusing on creating valuable content, establishing yourself as an authority in your niche, and building links naturally through guest blogging, blog commenting, social media engagement, and other ethical methods, you can achieve sustainable success in search engine results without risking penalties or harming your website’s reputation.

Remember, black hat backlinks might seem like a quick fix, but they can ultimately harm your website and your business in the long run. Stick to white hat SEO practices and build a strong foundation for long-term success.


While the temptation for quick SEO wins through black hat backlinks might be strong, the long-term consequences can be devastating for your website’s credibility and rankings. Embracing ethical SEO practices and focusing on white hat link building strategies are essential for sustainable success. For those seeking expert guidance, Polar Mass offers comprehensive SEO Consulting Services, supporting businesses in achieving their online visibility goals ethically and effectively.

How can blackhat backlinks harm my website?

Engaging in blackhat backlink techniques can lead to several severe consequences, including:

• Search Engine Penalties: Search engines like Google actively monitor and penalize websites using blackhat techniques. Penalties can range from a drop in rankings to complete removal from the search index.
• Loss of Traffic: A penalty from search engines will lead to a significant decrease in organic traffic, which can hurt your business and online presence.
• Damage to Reputation: Being associated with spammy or unethical practices can tarnish your brand’s reputation, making it harder to build trust with your audience and industry peers.
• Long Recovery Times: Recovering from a penalty can take months or even years, requiring extensive efforts to clean up your backlink profile and rebuild your site’s authority.

How can I identify if my website has blackhat backlinks?

To identify blackhat backlinks, perform a thorough audit of your backlink profile using tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Moz. Look for the following red flags:

• Unnatural Link Patterns: Sudden spikes in backlinks or a high number of links from unrelated or low-quality websites.
• Spammy Anchor Text: Excessive use of exact-match anchor text that looks unnatural or repetitive.
• Links from Low-Quality Sites: Backlinks from sites with poor content, low domain authority, or known link farms.
• Hidden or Sneaky Links: Links embedded in invisible elements or hidden within the site’s code.

What should I do if I discover blackhat backlinks pointing to my site?

If you find blackhat backlinks pointing to your site, take the following steps to mitigate the damage:

• Disavow Links: Use Google’s Disavow Tool to inform search engines that you do not want certain backlinks to be considered when assessing your site.
• Contact Webmasters: Reach out to the webmasters of the sites linking to you and request the removal of the blackhat backlinks.
• Clean Up Your Profile: Regularly monitor your backlink profile and remove or disavow harmful links to maintain a healthy and compliant link profile.