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Why You Should Avoid Black Hat Digital Marketing Techniques

It can be tempting to go for quick and easy gains in search engine rankings, and the marketing agencies that promise these too good to be true results often charge fees that are tough to beat. What could go wrong? The answer is a lot. Penalisation by search engines, damage to reputation, legal repercussions and loss of customer trust.

It’s never worth it. But black hat digital marketing is surprisingly common, and it’s a game of whack-a-mole for search engines to pounce on offenders. Unfortunately, when they do – and they always do – it isn’t the unscrupulous agencies that gets punished, but rather the companies that hire them that face the wrath of the likes of Google, Bing and others.

At Resurge Digital, we do digital marketing the right way. We are the SEO company Brisbane businesses turn to for dependable results from tried and proven methods, developed from our many years of experience. Contact us today to learn about what we can do for you. Call us on 1300 659 035, email [email protected], or enquire online for our expert service.

Black Hat Digital Marketing

It’s in the Name

The modern usage of the term ‘black hat’ describes hackers that use their skills for nefarious purposes – bad hackers. There are also good ‘white hat’ hackers that hack to discover and fix vulnerabilities in computer security. The origin of these hat colours isn’t certain. One theory comes from old western movies, where the hero would ride into town wearing a white cowboy hat, and the villains would be donned in black hats.

Another theory is from fictional magic users, such as the good wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings or the evil Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, each with their white and black pointy hats. Many hackers consider themselves to be modern day magicians, performing technological magic, good or bad. This has spread to other facets of technology, including digital marketing. Who would you trust with your firms marketing and reputation, a black hat or a white hat?

Types of Black Hat Digital Marketing

Click Fraud

When you perform a query using a search engine like Google, the results that show up at the top of the page will often be paid advertisements, with the word ‘sponsored’ or something similar next to them. These results are known as sponsored ads and a form of pay-per-click advertisements – the advertiser pays the search engine for each click of the ad.

In click fraud, individuals or computer programs known as bots, generate artificial clicks on the online ads with the intention of driving up advertising costs for a competing advertiser. This is an offensive form of black hat marketing meant more to attack competitors rather than to promote a company. It can be devastating for an advertiser on the receiving end.

Buying Fake Followers or Likes

Social media has become a major way for companies to reach and communicate with customers. The number of followers a company has on Facebook or X can provide a user with a good idea of how popular a company is. Purchasing fake followers or likes blurs the accuracy of this information and can lead to poor engagement by the company that ends up interacting with bots instead of real users.

Social media companies make money and thrive based on the correctness of the user data they aggregate, and they absolutely hate companies that employ this malicious practice. It is not uncommon to see offenders getting banned from social media sites.


This is one of the oldest forms of black hat digital marketing, with roots dating back to the early days of the internet and personal email in the 1990s. Spammers send unsolicited, and often irrelevant or inappropriate emails in bulk. These emails usually contain advertisements but can also be scams.

Spammers get their bulk email addresses from many sources such as security breaches, where a company’s email list is sold on the one of the black markets that makes up some of the darker corners of the web. Spam emails are a nuisance, can overburden email servers and are illegal in many locations around the world.

Content Scraping

Websites that consistently publish useful content are rewarded by search engines with higher rankings in search results. But it can be difficult to maintain a constant flow of quality content. Reputable firms will employ professional content writers. But this isn’t the way of the black hat. They will use content scarping to save on writing fees.

This is where a bot automatically scrapes and collects information from websites and uses it to create duplicate content. It is easily discovered by search engines and copyright holders because the duplicate content will become indexed and searchable. Once it is discovered, search engines will act to de-rank or remove the offending pages and company from search results, but the black hat digital marketing agency will have already provided the quick and easy positive results for their client.

Doorway Pages

These are web pages created for the sole purpose of ranking in search results for certain keywords. The pages are not meant for human visitors but are for search engines to rank highly and to direct traffic to a main website. Search engines rank webpages based on an algorithm, and doorway pages manipulate these algorithms in ways that are against search engine guidelines and user agreements. If caught – or rather when caught – the website will usually be altogether removed from search results.

Digital Marketing Done Right

Resurge Digital is the digital marketing agency Brisbane businesses know and trust for consistent results and quality leads – delivered again and again through ethical practices and hard work. Contact us today and let us show you how our services can have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line. Call us on 1300 659 035, email [email protected], or enquire online for our expert service.

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