Google captured over 90% of the search engine market because of its relentless pursuit of providing the most relevant results and the best user experience. Businesses employ various search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to get a spot at the top of Google search results. Not appearing on the first page of your target keywords can mean many missed opportunities and losing to the competition. 

Because the stakes are so high, some companies try to game the system with black hat SEO tactics. This strategy employs various shady tactics such as buying backlinks that trick the algorithm into placing a website in the top spot without necessarily being the most relevant and helpful result for the user. 

Google prohibits black hat SEO practices that go against its guidelines. If you get caught exploiting the system you will be penalized and possibly banned from Google. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to keep up with forbidden SEO practices. 

Here are some of the common link-building methods used in black hat SEO: 

Paid Links

Believe it or not, paid links are black hat, at least as far as Google is concerned. If you exchange money for links or posts containing links to your site without qualifying those links with rel=”nofollow” or rel=”sponsored” attributes, you’re engaging in “link spam”.

But even Google’s guidelines acknowledge that buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web for advertising and sponsorship purposes.

When a reputable website links back to your web page, Google views this as a signal that your content has value. It is similar to a vote of confidence that measures a site’s relevance, which is why it is worth it to build links organically. 

Because natural link-building can be a tedious and slow process, some companies take a shortcut by buying backlinks from other websites to try to make their landing pages instantly trustworthy in the eyes of Google. The idea is that the more links you purchase, the more it will push your search rankings up. 

If you want to know how to check backlinks for a site, you can use backlink checker tools available in the market. This can help you keep up with your competitors’ link-back strategy. With these tools, you can also see broken and lost links on your website, so you can fix them immediately. 

Automated Link Building

There are many tools available that create links automatically. These automated link-building tools identify URLs where they can place links, such as blog with open comments, and place links based on a set of parameters that you choose. 

The vast majority of links that these tools place are low-value links that have been spammed to death by other users. And, they definitely fall into what most people call black hat link-building. 

However, these links are of very limited value in helping to get other low-value links indexed, such as citations for your business. 

Link Farms

Link farms employ a network of websites created for the sole purpose of link building. They manipulate the system by inflating the number of backlinks to a website. These sham websites often have low-quality content that does not provide any value to the visitor. 

Private blog networks (PBNs) are similar to link farms–the difference is that PBNs are a much more long-term oriented strategy. Link farms are typically interlinked indiscriminately and sometimes made with automated software without much care taken to conceal them from search engines. 

PBNs–good ones at least–are built methodically to avoid detection and continue to produce valuable links in perpetuity.

These are typically built by purchasing expired domains, restoring previous content, and developing fresh material. Backlinks are then added to drive traffic to the target website.

PBNs have a bad rap, but if you create PBNs with high-quality, relevant content and a solid SEO strategy, you don’t have to worry about getting on the wrong side of Google. Do your homework and make sure to choose a safe and dependable hosting provider; your PBN must have a completely natural hosting profile that doesn’t leave any footprints.