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Black Hat SEO
Black hat search engine optimization can be considered any technique or practice that illegitimately boosts a website's ranking within search results. Steering clear of black hat techniques is sometimes a tricky subject, as search engines decide what's against the rules, and what isn't - and sometimes they aren't always perfectly clear about it.

For example, it was once a very common practice for people to exchange links on their websites, in the hopes that the extra backlink would boost both or their sites higher in search results. Only recently has link exchanging become very clearly a negative thing, as far as search engine ranking is concerned.

In order to never risk losing rank or placement in a search engine, it is always best to avoid any black hat SEO methods, and stick to what are known as white hat methods, instead - if your SEO firm doesn't commit themselves to white hat SEO, you may want to reconsider using their services.