In the world of search engine optimization there are tactics that some shady Internet marketers or webmasters employ in order to manipulate the search engines into ranking their website higher. These tactics usually go against search engines’ terms of service policies and are considered ‘black-hat SEO tactics’.

It is the policy of Orion Group to ensure our strategies are above board and work towards the long-term increase in the relevance and visibility of our clients’ websites.

Orion Group does not condone the use of black-hat tactics.

We have created this chart to help explain and categorize the good, the bad, and the middle-of-the-road SEO practices that exist.

black hat seo tactics

Black Hat SEO Tactics to Avoid

Keyword Stuffing

  • placing large amount of a target keyword on the page (often at the bottom of the page in a very small font size)

Hidden Text

  • making keyword-rich text a similar color as the background


  • presenting different information to the search engines than what a human visitor would see

Doorway Pages

  • pages added to a website, usually with automated software, solely to target a specific keyword phrase
  • pages usually exist only to promote a phrase in hopes that a visitor will visit other pages on the site


  • most commonly used in conjunction with doorway pages, redirects automatically move a visitor to a page with actual content such as the homepage of the site

Duplicate Sites

  • creating a copy of a site in hopes that it would outrank the original site. As search engines like to see unique content, they can remove duplicate sites from their index


  • building multiple websites and linking them together to increase the overall link popularity for the purpose of getting multiple sites in the top positions in the search engines


Now… on to the good stuff!

Good SEO Strategies and Venues to Pursue

When thinking about white hat SEO, the first thing that comes to my mind is making sure the title tags, meta descriptions, h1 tags, and content have good keyword usage. Other than that, good internal linking from page to page within the website helps to. However, here are some off-site things you can do (and that we do for our clients):

Basic Link Building

  • increase the quantity of good quality backlinks pointing to the target website from a diversity of external sources
  • actively pursuing inbound links from other websites such as: directories, news articles, social bookmarks and blogs

Article Distribution

  • write and submit articles such as press release and educational how-tos to trusted online venues
  • generates direct traffic to a website as well as increases ranking

Directory Submissions

  • submitting to online directories (help to make a search engine aware that a new website or page exists)
  • provide website information to directories including what category and sub-category a site belongs in, supplying a URL, and creating a short description of the target website

Social Bookmarking

  • attract attention from social bookmarking communities (has the potential to bring in a large amount of traffic)
  • examples of social bookmarking sites are and
  • purpose is tell other people about the things they’ve seen and enjoyed online

Social Media Optimization

  • primary focus of social media optimization is to drive traffic from sources other than search engines (can also be used to improve search rankings)
  • build and maintain multiple profiles on various popular social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube
  • social media optimization can attract new and returning visitors to the target website

Local Search Optimization

  • improving the visibility of a website within search engines for city or region-specific keywords
  • using Google Places, Bing’s Local Listing Center, and Yahoo Local
  • helping the search engines to understand the target geographical area that a company serves
  • ensuring proper use of street addresses in a webpage
  • creating reviews on various local listings

Online Reputation Management

  • lower the impact of bad reviews or comment from disgruntled customer, competitor, or ex-employees
  • minimize the threat a negative review might have on a company’s image
  • analyze search results and scour the Internet for negative feedback about a brand
  • look for opportunities to replace the top negative search results with our positive search results

See also “Keyword Research Using “Milwaukee SEO” as an Example” and “The Science, Art, and Business of SEO