What the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO and why should I only stick to one if both can get me the desired results?
These are just a few questions that puzzle beginner marketers and SEOs.
To decide which camp it’s best to adhere, read on as we’ll go over what each of these SEO techniques means and the penalties you may or may not face depending on your decision.
In the past, one of the most highly used techniques in black hat SEO is hidden content.
This type of content is stuffed with keywords and inserted within the code of a website but not visible to the end user.
A few ways black hatters achieve this is by stuffing the comment tags or using the <noscript> tag.
The comment tags are usually used by developers to add reminders within the code explaining what that code does. Black hat SEOs, however, use these tags to promote a hypothetical page for the sole purpose of optimising that page for search engines.
As for the <noscript> tag, it’s usually used to inform the user that the script of the browser they’re using does not support the script language. But this tag is also used in black hat SEO just as the comment one to promote a hypothetical page.
Content is also hidden by black hatters by using CSS, writing text on the same colored background, and using excessively small text to not draw too much attention to it.
When comparing these tactics to white hat SEO, the difference couldn’t be greater.
For white hat SEOs, “content is King”.
Because the most valuable way to optimise your website is to create and offer your users well-written content.
As you may have already noticed, the search engine’s goal is to offer accurate and related suggestions to users. And the first website that comes up is what the search engine believes to be the most relevant content for that specific search.
Through meta keywords you tell robots what content you have them listing your website for.
These keywords help both users and search engine robots know what it is that you’re promoting or selling.
Ideally, these are just a few short or long tail words that appear a certain amount of times in a page. But for black hat SEOs, they are just one more way of stuffing their websites in the hopes of fooling search engines they have the information the robots are looking for.
With white hat SEO, you’d take time to research your keyword phrase and choose solid keywords that accurately represent your web page.
When searching for keywords one must always consider what the user hopes to find. Always use keywords that are truly relevant to your business and offer your visitor the content they’re looking for. And keep in mind that users are not generally looking up brand names or a website’s URL.
They are searching for the products or services they want to use.
Some of the best keyword research tools to use today include Google Keyword Planner, KWFinder, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, SEMrush, SpyFu and Ahrefs.
You can also use Google Analytics to see how the keywords you’ve been optimizing for are performing.
The idea behind exchanging links with other websites is to boost your site’s rank.
Search engines examine how many “good” websites are linking to yours in determining your relevancy. The assumption is that if “good” websites are linking to you, your content must be good.
Link farming means trading links with many websites for the sole purpose of increasing your rank and fooling the search engine into thinking your website is a lot more popular than it really is.
This is a form of spamming that black hat SEOs turn to. And although it may have some influence on how your web pages are ranking, it doesn’t last long until your tactic is discovered and may result in harsh penalties.
White hat SEO means organic inbound linking and it’s not a link list traded just for the sake of increasing your website’s rank.
When someone links to your blog or page organically, you have a quality inbound link. And creating great content that attracts not only visitors but also webmasters looking to create content with contextual links to your domain is a good way to achieve this.
White hat SEO adheres to the search engine’s recommended guidelines for improving website ranking.
Examples of this type of SEO include:
Black hat SEO is designed to cheat search engines, providing such websites with (temporary) satisfying boosts in rank.
Examples of this type of SEO include:
Let’s leave aside tactics for a moment.
As opposed to black hatters, white hat SEOs are real marketers.
Their goal is not just to climb the rankings of a search engine.
Their goal is to understand the needs of the business as well as their target audience.
They must devise tactics to cater those needs in a way that brings benefits to both parties and does not deceive the search engine robots.
You need to ask yourself if you’re in it for the long haul or not.
Black hat SEOs are only looking to earn a quick return while white hat SEOs are thinking about the big picture.
Realistically speaking, SEO is a long-term investment. Too many businesses turn to shady tactics because they need the results now and do not afford to invest too much in a good marketing strategy.
However, diving into low-value tactics may end up burning you and you may be left to start all over again. And this brings us to search engine penalties.
This is something you need to ask yourself before going for that one tactic that you feel best fits your needs.
Can you afford a severe penalty – and this means risking removal from Google’s index – to save time and maybe some money?
Black hat SEO and even some grey hat SEO mean high-risk SEO.
Back in the early days of SEO, when you went a little grey, it didn’t mean possibly losing all your work.
You could’ve easily rise back up with just a few weeks of setback. But with Google’s recent updates, recovering from a penalty is now difficult if not impossible in some cases. And just think of the revenue loss!
This is only the beginning, as things will probably get a lot worse for those turning to black “magic” with their SEO.
Google AI will be watching …