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Black-hat search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the unethical or aggressive techniques used by some webmasters to gain higher search engine ranking. As the Internet has evolved, IT experts have generally defined the technical as well as the social standards for the legitimate crafting of websites and pages to get search engine visibility. Black-hat SEO represents practices deemed unfair by the general Internet community, and changes to major search engines such as Google have been made to prevent black-hat webmasters from obtaining the results they want.
Black-hat SEO is also known as a number of other terms, including spamdexing, search engine spam, search engine poisoning, search spam and web spam.
In general, the qualifiers "white hat" and "black hat" have been used as a shorthand for describing the intents and motivations of various types of IT users, for instance, hackers and security workers. Those who use black-hat SEO practices may not be operating illegally, but they are thought of as "gaming the system" and unfairly influencing search results. Practices such as keyword stuffing are a good example of black-hat SEO. Keyword stuffing is a deceptive technique meant to trick search engines into thinking content is more relevant than it actually is by overloading a Web page with keywords. One aspect of black-hat SEO is that marketers tend to focus only on search engine results and not on the human user experience.
As Google workers analyze black-hat SEO, the company has made changes to its search engine to foil this unethical practice, for instance, by instituting more complex algorithms that seek to show whether Web content is actually relevant and gathers organic page views, or whether it is boosted by black-hat SEO methods.