Have you ever heard the phrases white hat and black hat before? These are terms that come from old spy cartoons, where you could always know who was the good guy and who was the bad guy based on the color of the hat that they wore. In reference to search engine optimization, hat color represents how closely your website is adhering to search engine guidelines.
Black hat SEO techniques try to exploit loopholes in the system in order to rank #1 for a specific keyword. These techniques involve dishonest behavior, such as tricking search engines into perceiving information on a web site differently than it really is, for example, and are most commonly utilized by scammers. While these techniques can work rapidly and cause a site to rank highly, the benefits are short lived, and the penalties are steep: if you get caught using Black hat techniques, your site will be banned from Google, possibly for life.