The SEO industry is diverse and is growing. We have seen a paradigm shift in the SEO industry in the last decade. Even though some people thought of it as a passing fad, SEO is surely here to stay and will continue to grow unless we see any massive changes in the search algorithm. SEO is in fact the surefire way to do successful content marketing.
Nowadays, a lot of people are getting interested in SEO and digital marketing as it has become essential for any online business. You might find it easy when it comes to learning SEO but as you dig deeper you will see a lot of differences in opinion and technique.
Because of a large community, you will come across different methods of search engine optimization and various ways of approaching SEO. Apart from some basic techniques, most SEO strategies are arguable and there is no proper way to do search engine optimization.
While some SEO techniques might work wonders for you, they might not be as effective for others. When you look at online forums you will come across different SEO techniques but no one can surely say which tactic works best. This is why most SEOs keep looking for different ways to optimize their website.
SEO techniques are basically categorized in three different colors:
“White Hat SEO” “Black Hat SEO” & “Grey Hat SEO”.
Some SEOs might argue that white hat SEO is the proper way to optimize a website, but we would like to differ. When it comes to optimizing a website, there is no right or wrong way of doing it. You just need to be careful so you don’t get any penalty from Google. Other than that it’s all good.
Here we will look at the differences between white hat and black hat SEO, and find out which SEO techniques serves the best result.
SEO & Search Engine Algorithms
There is no magic mantra that would increase your search ranking and help you attract thousands of organic traffic. When it comes to SEO, you probably have to try bits and pieces of every SEO technique and see what works for you best.
Because of these different methods, sometimes SEO can be overwhelming. That being said, you have to start from somewhere and keep practicing until you find the perfect combination. It is okay to play around with different SEO techniques, but you also need to be aware of the dark side of SEO.
There are few SEO techniques used for influencing the search algorithm to rank high in search results. These tactics can have a lot of implications and sometimes get your website penalized by Google or any other search engine. When it comes to manipulating the search engine algorithm, Google has a very strict policy.
It is very important to follow the search engine guidelines and stay away from black hat SEO. Yes, you can see positive results with black hat SEO techniques in a very short time. But in the long run, your website will lose credibility and will get blacklisted by Google.
If your website is blacklisted by Google it won’t show up on search results for any query. It is very hard to recover a domain from a Google blacklist. Also, you won’t be able to use Google ads on your website and will be restricted from other Google services.
What Is White Hat SEO
“White hat” SEO refers to the ethical way of optimizing a website by following the search engine guidelines. It is the proper way of optimizing a website. There are various white hat SEO techniques that can help you increase your SERP ranking. Unlike other SEO techniques, white hat SEO can be a bit time-consuming. You probably have to wait longer to see the effectiveness of white hat SEO. When compared to other SEO techniques, white hat SEO is viable and gives the best result.
Usually, White hat SEO techniques have to meet the 3 following criteria:
1. Follow Webmaster Guidelines
Most White hat SEO techniques follow Google’s webmaster guidelines. If your SEO techniques comply with webmaster guidelines then you won’t have to worry about anything else. Google webmaster guidelines are a set of rules Google laid out for content creators & SEOs to help them properly optimize a website and content.
The webmaster guidelines are followed by most search engines. Google’s webmaster guidelines follow ethical SEO which means it is a safe method of optimizing your content and website without getting penalized or blacklisted by Google.
If you are not trying to trick Google by manipulating the search algorithm, you are probably using white hat SEO & following the webmaster guidelines.
2. White Hat SEO Is For The Long Run
White Hat SEO usually takes a bit longer before you can see the results and drive organic traffic to your website. There is no shortcut for white hat SEO. The time you spend optimizing your website using white hat SEO is worth it because it is reliable and lasts long unlike “Black Hat SEO” which is short-lived. You can see the effect of SEO within a period of 6-12 months depending on the competition of keywords and how well you have optimized your site.
There are a lot of variables in white hat SEO that affect your search engine ranking. SEOs usually have to spend more time & effort to optimize a site using white hat SEO as its primary goal is to create a better user experience. Google’s guidelines mention that the goal of a website should be creating a positive user experience and make the website more accessible.
3. Optimized For Human
White hat SEO techniques focus on a human audience rather than the search engine. A website should be optimized in such a way that a person finds it convenient and easy to go through. All pages should be accessible and provide relevant material to the searcher’s queries.
Ever since Google dropped its panda and penguin update, user experience has become the primary focus of proper SEO. Nowadays, white hat SEO has become more about finding the perfect balance between user-centric content and convincing the search engine to rank those content based on relevancy and backlink profile.
These three points basically sum up “ethical SEO” or “white hat SEO”. Since you would want to invest in evergreen content that is relevant for years to come, it is probably best to use white hat SEO techniques. White hat SEO has a lasting impact and won’t put your website at risk of getting penalized. White hat SEO is a long-term approach that provides lasting results.
So, now that we have covered a basic understanding of what is white hat SEO, let’s try to unscramble and understand what is Black Hat SEO.
What Is Black Hat SEO
The simplest way to describe black hat SEO is that it is the exact opposite of white hat SEO. Even though some might argue with which SEO strategy falls under the category of black hat SEO, strategies that directly manipulate the search engine algorithm & disobey webmaster guidelines are mostly considered black hat SEO techniques. In short, it is viewed as the wrong way of doing SEO.
Engaging in black hat SEO techniques can harm your website’s credibility in the long run and get your site penalized. Using black hat SEO techniques might hurt your ranking in the SERPs. Here we have mentioned some of the criteria of black hat SEO. If your technique fits the following criteria it would be considered as black hat SEO.
1. Violates Webmaster Guidelines
SEO strategies that violate Google’s policy and webmaster guidelines are considered black hat SEO. In the webmaster guideline, Google has stated some rules that website owners must follow. If any of these rules are violated your website might get blacklisted and won’t show up on search results. Practices such as paid backlink building from PBN sites and keyword stuffing are strictly forbidden by Google ad other search engines. Engaging in these practices will lower the reputation of your site and harm your ranking in the long run.
2. Used For Manipulating Search Algorithm
If you use SEO techniques that are used for manipulating search algorithms directly and improve your SERP ranking quickly, it is considered black hat. It is better to improve user experience rather than trying to optimize a website for search engines. Google has a strict policy of blacklisting websites that try to manipulate Google search engine by backlinks from irrelevant pages and stuffing keywords in pages to rank high. If you are running a blog website your post should be descriptive and precise. Don’t stuff your post with irrelevant information and keywords. Try to keep your post as natural as possible. In short, make it human readable.
3. Black Hat SEO Is a Momentary Solution
SEO techniques that exploit loopholes in Google’s algorithm are also considered black hats. Yes, black hat SEO can be very effective but it is a short-term solution. Eventually, you will get noticed by the search engines and your ranking will dip because of manipulating the search engine algorithm.
If you try to take advantage of these loopholes by practicing black hat SEO techniques there is also a chance of getting blacklisted or penalized by Google. Black hat SEO techniques require less work but show great improvement in ranking. Although this improvement in SERP ranking is short-lived. Mostly because Google can identify if someone has used black hat SEO tactics to rank high. But if your SEO strategy goes unnoticed you can enjoy the reward of organic traffic.
Google keeps updating its algorithm in order to deliver the best possible results to searchers. They want users to have the best experience by proving the most relevant search results. So when Google rolls out a new algorithm update websites using black hat strategies are at risk for losing their rankings.
If you involve in black hat SEO but still produce the best information and an optimized page, you will probably be safe and can still rank high in SERPs.
Black Hat vs White Hat SEO: Understanding The Difference
The easiest way to describe the key differences is that White hat SEO follows Google’s webmaster guidelines while Black hat SEO violates Google’s policy and webmaster guidelines.
White hat SEO focuses on improving user experience by providing essential & relevant information. Optimizing content and web pages and reducing the load time as well as improving the ‘speed index’ and ‘first contentful paint’ is also an important part of white hat SEO.
On the other hand, the primary goal of Black hat SEO is to manipulate the search algorithm to increase a site or page’s rank and improve SERP ranking. It is an unethical way of practicing SEO. Most Black hat SEO techniques directly violate the search engine’s terms of service. Black hat SEO is an easy way to rank high in search engines without doing a lot of work. There has been a lot of debate about which SEO techniques should be considered black hat and the effectiveness of these techniques. Even though most black hat tactics are disapproved by the mainstream SEO communities, there are still a lot of webmasters who are using these techniques to gain traction (even if it is for a short period of time).
There is no denying that Black hat SEO is much easier and more effective when compared to White hat SEO. But there is always a risk of getting flagged by search engines and it is difficult to figure out to what extent you can try out black hat SEO. Even though Google is constantly updating its algorithm to deal with black hat SEO techniques, some SEOs claim that they are successfully doing it without getting blacklisted or banned from search engines.
Many SEO practices and strategies used by black hat SEOs have been officially criticized and banned in Google’s and Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO is considered the proper SEO technique as it used for improving the SERPs ranking of a website while maintaining the quality and following the search engine’s guidelines. It does not involve any spam methods or any activities that violate the guidelines of search engine operators. White hat SEO is done by optimizing the pages of a website and through organic link building. The goal of white hat SEO is to provide the most relevant & useful content based on the searcher’s query instantaneously.
The most common white hat strategy include:
- Writing descriptive and useful content
- Optimizing content with relevant keywords
- Improving page speed & loading time
- Make website easy to navigate
- Improving the overall user experience
- Make the website responsive for all devices
- Use AMP for mobile browsing
- Improving internal linking
- Writing cornerstone content
- Using meta tags properly with relevant keywords
- Building powerful high DA backlinks
- Adding keywords in title and subheadings
Why You Should Consider White Hat SEO
Any SEO technique that complies with Google’s webmaster guidelines is considered white hat. It is very important to know the different techniques and how they can affect your authority and ranking. Even though white hat SEO takes a longer time to get into effect, it is the safest way to do search engine optimization. Webmasters and SEOs should avoid deceptive cloaking techniques and buying spam backlinks from PBN sites.
White hat SEO makes it easier for search engines to truly understand the credibility of a website. One of the core elements of white hat SEO is backlink. Backlinks are a trust signal that reflects the quality of content. It makes it easier for search engines to determine the position of the webpage.
Google is the most popular search engine with 92.18 percent of the worldwide search engine market share. It is undeniably the most powerful source of traffic to your website. So it is very important to comply with Google’s policy. Violating Google’s webmaster guidelines can get your website blacklisted. This can result in a drastic drop in website traffic and even business. Getting banned from the internet’s most commonly used search engine can be a nightmare for webmasters.
Opting black hat SEO techniques can lose years of hard work if you get blacklisted. So risking it with black hat SEO techniques for brief happiness is a really bad idea.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO is the opposite of White hat SEO. It is considered an incorrect way of optimizing a website as it violates the guidelines of search engines. Black hat SEO involves wrongful practices that are used to influence a site or page’s rank in search engines. These illicit methods are denounced by most search engines including Google and Bing.
Implementing black hat SEO can sometimes get your site banned from search engines. This will exclude your website from getting referral traffic from the number one source. Black hat SEO involves spam methods that manipulate the search engine algorithm to appear on top of search results. The most common black hat SEO technique is buying backlinks from spammy websites with low-quality content. Black hat SEO provides faster results but it is mostly temporary. To counter black hat SEO Google keeps updating its algorithm.
Most common black hat SEO techniques include:
- Writing spin articles
- Engaging in content automation
- Duplicating content
- Creating doorway Pages
- Redirecting to irrelevant pages
- Multiple redirections
- Hiding texts or links
- Keyword stuffing
- Buying backlinks
- Using PBN sites for link building
- Cloaking webpages
- Using link Farms
- Rich Snippet Markup Spam
- Pages with malicious behavior
Why You Should Avoid Black Hat SEO
Engaging in black hat SEO is a direct violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines. Black hat SEO can impact your website’s authority and ranking. You might see a short-term positive change through increased traffic to your site. But eventually, it might led to website penalization.
Black hat SEO usually undermines the effort of websites that are working hard to rank high on search results using white hat SEO. It involves malicious techniques that influence the search engine algorithm. Because of black hat SEO, it is hard to determine the credibility of a website. Google gives priority to websites that follow search engine guidelines and try to elevate user experience. As a website owner, your focus should be on providing a better browsing experience rather than getting involved in deceptive practices.
It takes time to see any visible result of white hat SEO. You have to be patient as it requires a lot of time, effort, and money. As a result, you may be inclined to seek black hat methods to see faster results. When it comes down to it, the risks just do not outweigh the possible advantages.
Practicing white hat SEO will eventually provide you with better results without worrying about your site getting penalized.