One of the biggest reasons people attend SEO conferences is so that they learn about the trends that search engines now use and how these can be taken advantage of. Technology is rapidly changing, and search engines are not lagging behind in improving their services for their customers.
Black hat SEO conferences
In order to understand why some practices are consider unethical and advised against in black hat conferences, one needs to understand the history and evolution of SEO. In the past, search engines had a submission form where one simply had to tag their sites with information on the keywords and that was it. This encouraged a culture of spamming which has since been reduced with the introduction of crawl based systems.
Learning about spamming in black hat conferences
However, some search engines still have submission forms and some SEOs still use spam in a bid to get their websites ranked. Although spamming is not illegal per se, using it still gets the SEO expert nowhere. Spamming today has moved from the submission forms to creating pages that are designed to inflate ranking and trick the sorting algorithms. This will not work for two major reasons.
First of all, it is wise to consider that nobody likes spam. Users who are constantly spammed will be less motivated to use that particular search engine. Nobody likes scouring the web for hours only to find sites that do not lead them anywhere.
Second, the fact that users do not like spam gives the search engine designers a financial motivation to fight and eliminate it. They have to get smarter or they will lose customers, and so they design their algorithms such that those locations with spam do not get as high a ranking as they would like. This is one of the reasons why Google has maintained its industry leadership in the past decade or so.
One of the most common spamming techniques is keyword stuffing. It involves placing a large number of keyword or phrases on the web content so that search engines might find it relevant. Studies have revealed that this might not be particularly effective in boosting rankings.