Some say it’s a question of ethics; others call it smart business.
The truth is that there is no right or wrong; it’s all about intent. When done correctly, white hat SEO has the potential to be more beneficial. At its core, black hat SEO is about manipulating search engines via unethical methods. White hat is about doing things the right way.
The discussion is taking place online and in marketing conferences, but what are the differences between black hat SEO vs. white hat SEO?
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO is an ethical search method for rankings by following Search Engines’ guidelines. It is an excellent way to optimize. It only uses techniques recommended by search engines and their new guidelines.
Usually, SEO results can take between 3-12 months. With this kind of SEO, you don’t have to worry about getting onto search engine blacklists.
White Hat SEO Examples:
Some examples of a white hat SEO technique are:
- Using keywords and phrases recommended by keyword analysts
- Use of keywords in the meta description, titles, and H1 headlines
- Building links to your website through reputable resources like social media websites, blogs, and article directories
- Creating quality content that is unique in its perspective
- Make sure your site follows all standards for creating an indexable website. This includes things like the use of headers tags and a robots.txt file
- Sending shares to high-authority websites
- Creating quality content that is unique in its perspective to maximize the amount of time a website stays indexed
- On-page optimization, such as utilizing keyword phrases, meta descriptions, and H1 subheadings
- Off-page optimization is like link building to get more links to your website.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is a set of techniques used to manipulate search engine rankings. These techniques are all based on getting higher rankings by somehow manipulating the algorithm rather than earning them by providing high-quality content.
It is important to know that black hat SEO methods are not endorsed by Google and other search engines. They can cause your site to be penalized and eventually removed from the search engine index.
The following are the most common Black Hat SEO methods:
- Link Schemes
- Keyword Stuffing
- Comment Spamming
- Doorway Pages
As with many things in life, black hat and white hat SEO can be best described as the “good” and “bad” guys. In this case, “good” is a white hat, and “bad” is a black hat. The black hat SEO techniques are against search engine guidelines and may even be illegal. The white hat SEO techniques are accepted by the search engines, are ethical, and may even help increase your site’s conversion rates.
These are two ends of the same spectrum. White hat is about creating the best experience for your users, while black hat is about tricking the search engines at their own game. Black hat SEO is often frowned upon, as it can be seen as manipulative and even against the rules.
Black & White Hat SEO Techniques
The key difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO is that black hats are looking for quick gains at the expense of the user experience, while white hats focus on building the user’s experience.
Black Hat SEO Techniques
So, which are the black hat SEO techniques?
Well, you may be shocked to learn that many SEO specialists use black hat techniques to try and improve their website’s position on the SERPs.
Here are some of the most common:
Link schemes are one of the most common Black Hat SEO methods. This method aims to get links from relevant websites to rank better in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Unfortunately, these links are mostly bought from blogs and websites that are not trustworthy and are used to make money. The moment Google finds out about these types of links on your website, it will slap a penalty on your website, and your website will lose trust. Google is becoming smarter with time; it can now detect these links and penalize the websites hosting them. So, avoiding these Black Hat methods is important, and focusing on getting links from trustworthy websites.
Keyword stuffing is when you stuff a website’s content with unnecessary keywords to increase its ranking.
It is a Black Hat SEO technique that involves inserting keywords into content unnaturally so they rank higher in SERPs. This method can lead to penalties or even blacklisting, but it’s still widely used by many website owners.
The spun content is when you take a piece of content and rewrite it multiple times in different ways to trick the search engine into thinking that your website has a lot more content than it does.
For example, you could rewrite a blog post in different ways, such as by creating a list or adding images that illustrate each point in the post. You can also create an infographic from a blog post, slide, or video. The idea behind this is that search engines use different metrics to determine the value of a piece of content, and many of these metrics are based on the length of the content.
The longer the content, the more value it is given by the search engine. The spun content is generally viewed as low value, which is why you can use it to your advantage to create more content for your website.
Cloaking is another Black Hat SEO method that involves presenting different content to search engine crawlers than what appears on the site for visitors. This technique can be used to manipulate rankings in SERPs and steal content from other sites.
Cloaking is when you show a search engine one thing and users another. It’s also common for people to use dynamic pagination to show the search engine one thing and users another.
A doorway page is any page on your website that has absolutely no value. This includes pages with no text or images or pages with only one or two sentences.
Unfortunately, doorway pages are still quite common and can hurt your conversion rates. Doorway pages are usually easy to spot because they have some form of click-bait in the title, such as “Five facts about doorways.”
Once people click on the page, they are greeted with nothing but a “Sorry; we can’t help you here” message. This is the worst page type because it’s actively driving people away from your site.
IP Address Blocking:
IP address blocking is when a website blocks its own IP address so that its own page comes up first in the search engine results.
This is illegal in the United States, and it’s a violation of Google’s terms of service. IP address blocking is a form of search engine poisoning. It’s very easy to detect, and it can cause serious problems for your website.
If you’re operating a website and want it to come up first in Google’s search results, you must focus on creating high-quality content. You must avoid IP address blocking at all costs.
A scraper site is any website that steals content from other sites and republishes it on its own site.
Scraper sites often steal content without giving credit to its original sources, violate copyright laws, and republish content without permission or citation.
Scraper sites are usually very low in quality and may be full of spammy ads. Unfortunately, they are often very profitable and, therefore, worth the risk for website owners that decide to invest in them.
One way to avoid becoming a victim of scraper sites is to publish your content on platforms with a republishing license. This way, you give other publishers the right to republish your content. These platforms are often called “publisher rights” or “reprint” license options.
Using Backlinks That Violate Google’s Guidelines:
Backlinks are links from other websites that direct traffic to your website. Using backlinks that violate Google’s guidelines is another black hat SEO technique.
Google’s algorithm has gotten more sophisticated over time and now looks at more than just the number of backlinks when determining rankings. Google now looks at the quality of backlinks as well. Google now factors in things like the reputation of the website linking to your site, the link’s relevance, how old the link is, and if the link comes from a no-followed blog or website.
White Hat SEO Techniques
Now that you know what black hat SEO is, let’s talk about white hat SEO. White hat SEO is optimizing a website with the search engines in mind without breaking any rules. However, Google is constantly updating its algorithms, so it’s important that you stay on top of the latest news and changes to ensure that your website is always optimized in a white hat way.
These are some of the most common white hat SEO techniques:
Using Keywords in Your Title:
It’s a given that you should include keywords in your title, but you must do so in a way that doesn’t violate Google’s guidelines. This means that you shouldn’t stuff it full of keywords; you should use the most relevant ones.
Optimizing Your Meta Description:
Your meta description is a snippet of text that shows up in the search engine results. The trick to optimizing it is to make it long enough to give people a general idea of the article but not so long that it turns into an article in and of itself.
Using Appropriate Keyword Phrases in Your Body Content:
The goal is to use your most important keywords in your body content without keyword stuffing.
When writing your blog posts, use a keyword research tool to find relevant terms you want to target. Then, write your blog posts as naturally as possible, using those keywords where it makes sense. You may want to consider using a keyword density analyzer to make sure you’re using the right amount of keywords in your blog posts.
Adding Internal Links to Your Content:
Internal links are links that point to other pages on your website. Including these helps your users navigate your site and also helps you increase your page rank.
Creating Appropriate Backlinks:
Backlinks are just as important as internal links; however, you must be careful which websites you use to get them. You can use guest posts, media mentions, and forums to get high-quality backlinks.
Using a Website Content Management System:
A content management system is software that allows you to manage your website’s content efficiently. Using a system that allows you to optimize your website for the search engines easily, is important.
Which Is Right for You?
Now that you know the differences between black and white hat SEO techniques, the big question is which is right for you. Well, the best way to decide is to figure out which technique would be easiest and most efficient for you to implement. If you’re pressed for time, or you’re not super tech-savvy, you should probably wear a white hat. However, if you have more time to spend with your website and want to optimize it, then black hat SEO is right for you. Whatever you decide, make sure you don’t break any search engine algorithms or terms of service.
If you want your website to rank at the top of the SERPs, then you need to optimize it for search engines. The only problem is that you have to do so in a way that doesn’t violate any search engine algorithms or terms of service. That’s where black and white hat SEO techniques come in. While both techniques are valid, only one is the right choice for your website. So, which is it?
Well, figure out which one would be easiest for you to implement, and you’ll be on your way to top-notch search engine optimization.