Blackhat/Whitehat: What to Look for When Choosing an SEO Agency

blackhatwhitehat-what-to-look-for-when-choosing-an-seo-agencyFor as long as there have been search engines, companies have been trying to get their websites into the top results. And for as long as there has been SEO, there have been people trying to cheat the system.

SEO agencies have sprung up over the last decade as a way to help businesses rank their websites higher in search engines like Google. But while many of these use legitimate tactics to get results, many companies still rely on so-called blackhat SEO tactics.

So what are these tactics, and what should you be on the lookout for when you choose an SEO agency?

Blackhat SEO Tactics to Look Out For

There are many blackhat SEO tactics that some agencies still use as a way to try to cheat the system. If you see any of these tactics being advertised, you should steer well clear:

  • Spammy link building, including the use of link farms, adding many low-quality links from spam sites, using forum spam, and using comment spam.
  • Buying links as opposed to earning them for having high-quality and relevant content.
  • Using reciprocal links as a way to build links back to your website.
  • Keyword stuffing, which has never been particularly effective and can be harmful to your SEO efforts.
  • Hiring people to post fake reviews of your site along with a link.
  • Using invisible text on your website as a way to cram in lots of relevant keywords.

Watch Out for Incredible Promises

As well as all of the above recognized blackhat tactics, you should also keep an eye out for the “too-good-to-be-true” promises that blackhat agencies tend to make.

One of the most common of these is the promise that they can get you a top ranking in Google after a ridiculously short amount of time, such as a few weeks.

All good SEO agencies know that SEO takes time, and that top rankings do not appear overnight. Sometimes it can take many months to get your website ranking highly in the search engines.

In fact, be wary of any kinds of promises made by SEO agencies. The truth is that no agency can guarantee to get you top rankings in the search engines.

When you hire an experienced SEO agency like, they will show you their results from previous clients who they have managed to rank highly, and you can then hire them based on their results.

Why Do Agencies Still Offer Blackhat Tactics?

The reason agencies offer blackhat tactics at all is because they know they can attract some clients to pay for the services. Some clients may simply be unaware of blackhat tactics, while others might not be willing to spend what they need to in order to improve their rankings. Some might be keen to cut corners to get results.

Whatever the reason, there are always some companies who are willing to pay for such tactics, despite the risks…

The Risks of Blackhat SEO

Any company that uses blackhat SEO tactics is running a risk to their business. The fact is that, while some blackhat SEO strategies may produce some promising early results, they are never going to be a good long-term solution.

The best thing that can happen is that you simply end up wasting money on a dodgy SEO agency before realizing that you have to hire a professional agency if you want to see real results.

The worst thing that can happen is that Google catches you trying to cheat the system, and punishes you by giving you a penalty—or even banning you from the search results altogether.

As you can imagine, such a punishment can have disastrous consequences for your business, making the risk simply not worth it.

Choose SEO Strategies that Work

Despite all of the blackhat SEO tactics, and agencies offering these tactics, you can also find plenty of genuine SEO strategies that have been proven to work. Many professional agencies use such strategies to provide their clients with genuine results and boost their rankings in the search engines.

Creating and sharing quality content, building high-quality links, joining the conversation in social media, and other such tactics are all used widely. And when a professional SEO is involved, the results can be quick and impressive.

So don’t be tempted by blackhat tactics because you want a shortcut. The truth is, there are no shortcuts with SEO, and using black-hat tactics is only going to hurt you in the long-term.


Demi Gregory is a small business consultant, a role she has been in for several years and which she really enjoys. Demi is passionate about her work, and helping small business owners; she writes articles about SEO and business in general which appear on business blogs around the web.

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