White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO

If you are doing SEO guy, you must have heard about :

  • Black Hat SEO
  • Grey Hat SEO
  • White Hat SEO

Today we are talking  about White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO.

White hat SEO?

White hat SEO, also known simply as SEO, is using search engine optimization techniques Google approves of.

White hat SEO includes:

  • Making your site easy to navigate
  • Speeding up your page load times
  • Keyword research and using keywords to optimize your content
  • Attracting backlinks from high quality websites

…and more. You can check out our list of the most important SEO ranking factors to see how Google decides to rank your content.

What differentiates white hat from black hat?

White hat SEO…

  • Focuses on people first, and search engines second.
  • Takes a long term approach to optimization.

White hat SEO techniques carry no risk of being penalized by Google. We’ll explain more about Google penalties later in this guide.

White Hat SEO Techniques (“good guy” SEO)

  • Quality content written for the benefit of the reader, not the search engine crawler, is the most crucial element of modern day SEO and the best way to be rewarded by search engines and how they rank your site or blog. Always remember that content is king!
  • Keyword research and disciplined keyword usage throughout your site’s content that’s relevant to that particular page is a mandatory
  • Keyword-rich page titles and meta data also is a mandatory and although on-page SEO only accounts for 25% of your overall ranking, it’s an area of low-hanging fruit for most sites
  • Leaner code and semantically structuring your site’s mark up language, including the use of keyword-rich heading elements on your pages, helps aid search engines find what they’re looking for when crawling your site
  • Authoritative inbound links, that you gain organically versus paid links, has become one of the most important elements in your SEO efforts. It takes time and dedication but the reward can make a tremendous impact on how you rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and your overall site traffic  

What Is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is using shortcuts and hacks to game the search engines and exploit any weaknesses in their algorithms.

Black hat SEO techniques are usually geared towards search bots first, rather than human readers. This strategy carries a high risk of being penalized by Google.

Black Hat SEO Techniques (“bad guy” SEO)

  • Hidden content masked with the use of code but stuffed with keyword jargon so it’s only visible to the search engine crawler may have worked in the past, but search algorithms have gotten smarter and will penalize or even block sites for abusing this number one black hat SEO technique
  • Meta keyword stuffing, although it’s easy enough for a monkey to conduct, does not impact your SEO and can turn away search engine crawlers. This not only applies to meta keywords but page titles and meta descriptions as well
  • Link farming, which is the process of gathering a whole slew of unrelated website links that are typically hidden from actual site visitors, won’t get you traffic if your listed on such a page and potentially puts you at risk of having your site flagged. Organic link building is where you need to focus

What Happens When You Break the Rules?

So, what happens when Google sees SEO behavior it doesn’t like?

Usually Google will change their algorithms so that those techniques no longer work.

Some of the most notable Google search algorithm updates have been:

  • Florida, which penalized keyword stuffing
  • Panda, which penalized content farms
  • Penguin, which penalized certain linking practices

Understanding the Penalties for Black Hat SEO

The other way Google handles rulebreakers is to punish the offending sites individually.

If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in traffic or that fewer of your web pages are appearing in search results, then those are signs of a possible penalty.

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