While the majority of search engine optimization (SEO) practitioners stay well within the ethical guidelines of the profession, black hat SEO is still a common problem, according to SEO Consult.

That website writes that, while the search engine optimization (SEO) industry as a whole got its start in efforts to game the system, search engine crawlers today are highly advanced and can quickly spot and penalize any SEO efforts that they consider to be illegitimate. Any attempts to make websites rank high on search engine results pages and then not provide any content related to the search term will be stricken from that SERP.

Legitimate content creation to attract organic search results, according to SEO Consult, is known as white hat search engine optimization (SEO). "Ethical SEO is not about fooling visitors," writes SEO Consult. "It is about giving them what they are looking for in the form of informative and interesting content that is highly relevant in line with what they have been searching for."

Other experts have warned that black hat search engine optimization (SEO) is a frequent tool of cyber criminals, who use it to spread malware.