Unethical SEO Methods That Will Destroy Your Page Ranking

This is a guest post by Cara Aley.

There is no faster way to negatively impact your SEO efforts than by subscribing to unethical SEO practices, otherwise known as black hat SEO techniques.

Google and other search engines are continuously evolving methods by which to identify and admonish violators of these unethical methods. The goal of a search engine is to deliver the highest quality search results to its users, so Google and others are constantly looking to weed out and penalize those attempting to cheat the system, and thus, cheat users of the search engine.

Here, we'll review some of the more offensive practices employed that search engines typically punish by negatively impacting your SEO.

unethical seo methods

Make sure your SEO practices really help people find what they are looking for - stay honest.

Don't link to low-quality sites or be linked from them

Bad back-linking is something you won't necessarily even know is going on, but you can and will be penalized for it by search engines. Having sites that link to you and have nothing to do with your site or its niche is seen as an unethical SEO method and can result in a penalty. Only linking to and from relevant sites provides the best user experience; hence, it is rewarded.

The best way to evaluate where your inbound links are coming from is to check Google Analytics (or whatever analytics tool you use) for referring links. You could also use any of these backlink checker tools. Then use Google's Link Disavow Tool to get rid of links to your site that are hurting its SEO because of their irrelevance. You can also simply ask those site owners to take links to your site down (but if they don't, Link Disavow is a great option for making that happen).

Don't build links too quickly

Google and other search engines know what a normal rate of building links is, so when you build links too quickly, there is a good chance your SEO ranking might shoot up briefly, but then shoot back down again once you are caught.

SEOptimise.com's case study "What Happens When You Build 10,000 Links in 24 Hours" digs deeper into the subject and actually shows that your ranking winds up being lower than it originally was due to penalization.

Don't put up poorly written, overly brief, or redundant content

Brevity is not king, as we may have previously been led to believe. According to Quick Sprout, "the average web page that ranks in the first page of Google has over 2,000 words of content." This is partly because there is a surprisingly direct correlation between length of a page's content and how many people link to it, as well as how many people will share the content!

So merely putting up pages of content with redundant or poorly written content isn't going to help your SEO (and it can actually have you penalized from an SEO standpoint).


This is an old technique but continues on and is one of the worse offenses in the land of SEO. Cloaking happens when your site identifies that a search engine is searching for it and delivers content different from what is actually on the website.

Pornography sites have been known to do this at times - they'll leverage search terms that have nothing to do with pornography and deliver their content to an unsuspecting visitor who thinks they are visiting a different page.

Purchasing older domains

Site owners have been known to purchase domains that are available and relevant to their own site, and then create links from those domains to their site. This can absolutely help with SEO but is definitely not a recommended practice.

In short, there's no quick solution for SEO that will wind up working in the long run. Pace yourself properly when building your site or blog's SEO, and focus on quality, not quantity, when doing so.

Search engines exist to serve their visitors with the highest quality content, and they are constantly improving how they weed out those who are attempting to cheat the system. Be sure you don't have strange and unrelated sites pointing to your own. Don't build links overly quickly - work at normal pace or risk penalization. Finally, and most importantly, generate content that is of the highest quality and value to your visitors. Google is watching!

About the author
Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics ranging from digital marketing strategy to managing your business reputation.

15 comments to "Unethical SEO Methods That Will Destroy Your Page Ranking"

Victor Noah August 28, 2013 at 1:33 AM    

This is pretty nice and very informative... I definitely accept with all the fact you outlined... Thanks and keep posting...

Pawan August 28, 2013 at 10:18 PM    

That is very useful article for all, thanks for sharing Cara.

Meg August 28, 2013 at 11:01 PM    

Thank you, this was really helpful. I recently came across a discussion on a writers' forum about people deliberately creating bad backlinks to competitors' sites in order to create negative SEO (move them down in the results). People there were frustrated about this so I was happy to see here that Google has a tool to deal with it; it makes sense from their point of view since they want to deliver high quality results and it would definitely help someone whose competition is using black hat methods.

SEO can be complicated and I'm still learning about it so I appreciate any information I can get - that I understand! And this was easy for me to understand.

seo chennai August 29, 2013 at 2:45 PM    

I love ur post, thanks for sharing this post..

Anil Kumar August 30, 2013 at 11:58 AM    

Thanks for sharing such a nice article. I will follow them to my website http://itbloggertips.com/. Thanks again.

Guestblo August 30, 2013 at 2:15 PM    

Its a very informative post. Google Panda update was mainly aimed at weeding out Black Hat SEO. Many of the sites got penalized. How far is it possible to continue with these practices after these updates?

w3scope August 30, 2013 at 6:47 PM    

I observed, many people focus on quantity of backlinks , and not the quality of backlinks. A few quality backlinks from well reputed and related (niche) website are much better than hundred of backlinks from A-to-Z websites list. The content of website from where you are getting backlink should be related to your website niche and keywords you selected for SEO. Avoid to be over-smart, avoid spamming here and there and irritating the webmasters and genuine website visitors with your ugly and non-related links. Believe me, creating quality content for your website is the best thing you can do and then getting backlinks from well reputed and related websites, plus adding website to some handpicked quality web directories (including dmoz, if they approve your submission)..

Mohsin from W3Scope

Anonymous,  August 31, 2013 at 5:44 AM    

hello, is there any way to open blogger popular posts thumbnails in same window ?

Formation informatique September 2, 2013 at 10:48 PM    

it is an interesting article because it is a nice ..... so I love it so much because it's an interesting question that solves so many ideas to enrich our knowledge ..... from the first line to the end of this article, we can know more .... So thank you so much for sharing with us the ideas that make me so instructive that all visitors ..... So congratulations ....

Agence de communication September 2, 2013 at 10:50 PM    

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Kool Design Maker September 4, 2013 at 6:43 PM    

All these shared tips are very helpful and effective to keep safe from low page rank but i have concern on one point "purchasing old domains". I heard that old domains are very helpful in SEO point of view and these always help to get good ranking and traffic from search engines. One thing more i want to ask that when will Google update page rank now?

Tom September 4, 2013 at 9:07 PM    

Very good blog, I appreciate what you write. I look forward to more articles about this, because I really have a talent for writing.

Tom September 4, 2013 at 9:08 PM    

hahha, my mistake: YPU really have a talent, not me :D

Ghost Rider September 5, 2013 at 12:12 AM    

Thanx cara for the seo tips. This is very helpful for newbie blogger and about building links is a great advice

Lily Seymour September 24, 2013 at 10:28 AM    

Hi Cara, How do you feel about re-writing older post. I've been blogging since 2008, I had about 1000 posts but I deleted about 500 that were just awful. Now my ranking has dropped down to a 1 on google but i'm okay with that. I have about 200 post that I need to rewrite and add photos to, do you recommend this?

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