What are the main methods which are banned by search engines?
Google publishes a setup of strictly forbidden techniques in their famous guidelines.
Some forms of cloaking are unauthorized, for example. The content displayed for internauts and search engines must be the same.
Keywords stuffing is also prohibited.
It is also very unpopular with search engines to hide content by writing in white on a white background, for example. Actually, they have developed specific algorithms to identify this kind of trivial camouflage.
A website that only duplicated content with no real added value will mostly end up at the bottom of the index of search engines, even if some feed websites still manage not to be penalized.
The automatic generation of content and, more generally, all content that does not make sense to users is also most often filtered.