Black hats and white hats have been used in Western films for over 100 years. They were first introduced to the audience as a way of telling heroes from villains, which has evolved into a symbol that says "good guy" or "bad guy." The hero wore a white hat while villain wore a black hat.
The SEO services industry has adopted the same terminology in relation to their work. White hat for honest, straightforward optimization techniques and black hat for those who take shortcuts or violate guidelines:
Black hat SEO is a practice that relies on using tactics to manipulate search engine results in order to achieve higher rankings. White hat SEO, however, seeks ways of improving the company's website and achieving high ranking organically through genuine web optimization efforts. With this page here we'll be looking at what makes these two schools different from each other as well as some examples of white hat techniques you can use for your own site!
White hat SEO is a top-notch strategy that utilizes Google's guidelines and long-term game plan to get on top of the SERP results. This approach ensures quality rankings, high traffic flow, increased visibility for brand recognition, and more leads in the future.
But to give you a more concrete idea of what that means, let's talk about the three criteria for a white hat strategy.
White hat SEO is a type of search engine optimization that follows Google's guidelines. It usually takes the form of following best practices to drive traffic back to your website. It includes keyword research, quality content creation and having an active social media presence to get your business out there for users who are looking for it.
An ethical SEO strategy can be summarized as not being manipulative. So, if you are looking to rank high on Google without using deceptive tactics like buying links or hidden text in your site, then it’s safe to say that you're following their guidelines and doing white hat SEO.
Following Google's guidelines may be more time- and work-intensive, but the results are often worth it.
But on the flip side, white hat SEO is much more reliable. That’s because when you use strategies that are designed to improve your overall site experience and achieve steady rankings for your target keywords, it has a lasting impact.
Google's algorithms are constantly changing, and in order to keep a competitive edge you're going to have invest time into content. White hat SEO is the more forward-thinking option because it doesn't put your site at risk for being penalized by Google.
White hat SEO is all about finding the best way to help your site's visitors. And when you consider Google one of the top search engine’s priority is to provide their users with the best possible results, it makes sense that this is an essential component of what they call “right” SEO.
With Google constantly changing its algorithms, white hat SEO is a more long-term approach for companies to invest in with minimal risk.
Black hat SEO is a phrase used to describe risky practices that can be employed in order for websites to rank better. These range from tactics which violate search engine guidelines, such as keyword stuffing or cloaking, and more dangerous activities like hacking into competitors' sites (or creating fake ones) or using automated bots designed only for spamming purposes.
Search engine optimization is vital for business growth, but there's a right and wrong way of doing black hat SEO. The dark art of black hat SEO seeks to game search engine algorithms instead of solving the user’s needs; this leads down an unethical path that will only backfire in the end.
Black hat tactics violate Google’s guidelines and in many cases, directly referred to the practices one should not use.
Whether you're looking to improve the user experience or your Google ranking, white hat SEO is the way to go. This tactic relies on providing users with content that's engaging and satisfying rather than trying shady tactics like black hat which rely only on manipulating algorithms for a higher rank in search engine results pages.
The black hat SEO strategy is often considered the "quick fix" for those wanting to rank higher in search. They take advantage of loopholes like spamming and hacking Google's algorithm, which can give quick improvements without much work on their part.
These tactics do give better results, but they’re always short-lived.
This means that sites using black hat strategies are at risk for losing their rankings every time there’s a new algorithm update — making this an exceptionally short-term approach.
Google has a reputation of having strict guidelines that are used by SEO experts to identify what could land them in hot water if discovered.
It has a list of guidelines that is easy to find in their quality Guidelines page, these are the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior.
Cloaking, doorway pages and scraped content are just a few of the many ways to game Google’s algorithm. To stay ahead in the ranking race many SEO experts conduct regular site check up by using leading SEO audit tools.
Black hat SEO is the process of finding loopholes in search engine algorithms and exploiting them to gain higher rankings. White hat SEO, on the other hand, involves creating quality content that actually benefits users as opposed to mindlessly spamming them with irrelevant links and keyword stuffing.
Wouldn't you rather follow the rules than break them? Black hat SEO might work in the short-term, but its days are numbered. Google constantly updates their algorithm and if black hat tactics would get your website banned eventually then it will happen sooner or later!
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines outline the following principles when it comes to optimizing your site:
Google is taking a stand against deceptive practices by site owners using deceit in order to rank higher.
As long as you stay focused on your visitors and their needs, Google is happy. You should keep a check on your website speed with the goal of providing a better browsing experience when making changes to your site because this will help ensure that any SEO strategy aligns with their guidelines.
Other tactics like writing high-quality, helpful content and improving user experience are all considered white hat. These types of changes will have a lasting positive impact on your rankings.
Google has always been a big proponent of the company's "spirit" on their website, but in recent years they've had to be more explicit about what you should not do.
In fact, they recommend that the following practices can lead to consequences:
If you’re following any of these tactics, you’re doing a black hat SEO.
That being said, it’s important to note that there are still a number of techniques out there. So just because they aren’t listed here doesn't mean we should start using them blindly either!
Google is constantly changing the rules for SEO, but what's clear is that negative SEO won't get you anywhere. Google will detect and penalize your site if it has a bad backlink profile, which means no one wants to buy links from someone with low quality content because those link profiles would just hurt their rankings more than help them. And even if they do have high-quality content or are willing to pay enough money then people can disavow any links hurting their rank as well!
Black hat techniques are the most common, but they aren't recommended. They used to work in the past and some may still work today if you know what you're doing, but I really don't recommend them!
Sometimes, we don't always operate in a black and white world. What about this gray hat SEO that falls somewhere between?
In the world of SEO, there are a wide variety of strategies that you can use. "Gray hat" SEO is one of a kind. It may not be in what we consider as white hat territory, but it doesn't fall into black-hat either.
Gray Hat ́s basically any strategy within online marketing and digital content creation that falls somewhere between White Hat (completely ethical) and Black Hat (totally unethical). It's easy to think about Gray Hats as being on one side or another with no middle ground - which isn't really true at all!
Let's take an example article that did well but didn't provide anything original. Another one is 3 or 4-way linking building. For instance, site A links to site B, which then, in turn, links back again to the first page and so on.
Google doesn't see writing articles for other websites as a harmful thing. Now, if you write an article and throw in your links every few sentences, then yeah, you're getting into the murky gray/black hat SEO area. But building backlinks through guest blogging is still considered a very white-hat strategy because it's all about quality content that offers value to readers instead of relentless self-promotion, which creates mistrust among customers.
Google’s algorithm is a tricky business. Using tactics to manipulate it can result in both your site being demoted and manually penalized by Google.
Google's algorithm is continuously being tweaked to deliver the best possible search results for its users. The company constantly updates its algorithms, making sure that black hat SEO sites can never game it with their shady tactics.
For example, one of the most notable changes was in 2012 when Google implemented their "Penguin" update to target sites buying links or using spammy link tactics.
When this update was released- Google was on the hunt for sites that were trying to game their ranking system, and this update resulted in a severe consequence. Site owners found themselves with no new rankings or links after Google de-ranked them due to deceptive link practices.
Since the updates, Google has made it more difficult for sites to rank high in search results by using black hat practices. This is because many new changes that target manipulative SEO tactics have been released since then.
Sites using black hat SEO are in danger of being penalized by Google's Manual Actions.
These penalties are given by human reviewers from Google’s team and indicate that a site has been flagged for violating their guidelines. They range from warnings to low rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).
In this case, the tactics that black hat SEOs use to boost their rankings can have the exact opposite effect and will plummet them down in search engine results.
It is a difficult to answer, because today's SEO landscape has shifted dramatically. If you are participating in link farms that rely on artificial manipulation and spamming people with links then it would be considered black hat but if your linking comes from the quality of content or relying on natural search engine results pages (SERPS) for new sites with great potential rather than just scraping old ones without any substance, then it could go either way!