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White Hat vs Black Hat SEO: what’s the difference?

When starting to grow your Google ranking, it can be tempting to look for shortcuts to get there faster.

As with any code-driven software, there are specific rules that search engines follow. These rules stop website developers from finding workarounds that create an unfair advantage. It ensures that the playing field is level and that any site can rise to the top with enough time and effort.

The different approaches to SEO over the years has diverged into two types of SEO: ‘White Hat’ and ‘Black Hat.’

What is ‘Black Hat SEO’?

‘Black Hat’ is a term that is associated with computer hacking in general. For this reason, Black Hat SEO refers to shortcuts and strategies that attempt to get higher search rankings, that break search engine rules.

Black Hat SEO focuses on only search engines and does not factor in the way humans interact with a website. The Black Hat approach to SEO is often used by people looking for a quick-fix or to cheat the search engine rankings.

The typical techniques that are commonly used in Black Hat SEO are:

  • keyword stuffing
  • link farming
  • hidden texts and links
  • blog comment spamming

Of course, there are consequences of using Black Hat SEO, that can result in your site being banned from a search engine or at the very least penalized in the rankings.

The other big disadvantage of Black Hat SEO is that when people visit a site that is using workarounds, they typically don’t stick around. It is very obvious to a human that a Black Hat website has very little value, and due to high bounce rate, this tends to drop the ranking over time.

What is ‘White Hat SEO’?

White Hat SEO, by contrast, refers to the use of techniques and strategies that target a human audience opposed to a search engine.

Techniques that are typically used in white hat SEO include:

  • using accurate keywords
  • keyword analysis and research
  • rewriting meta tags better relevance
  • backlinking to sites that are relevant and valuable
  • link building through writing valuable content for human readers

White Hat SEO is generally seen as a long-term investment in a website, and although it may take longer to get initial rankings to rise, the results last a long time.

The best way to do SEO

While it is up to each website developer to choose what approach they use, we believe that there are definite advantages to using White Hat SEO. Here are the White Hat SEO methods we have used over the years to increase the Google rankings for our clients:


Aim for high-quality inbound links. A high-quality site that links to your site is like a ‘vote’ that the search engines can register in your favor.

Create original, valuable content. Focus on actually helping your customers or potential customers with the most asked questions, or solving their problems, and they will keep visiting and sharing your site.

Use keywords and keyword analysis. Get to know which words your users are most often searching for and add those into your site titles, headings, and meta descriptions. Do this in a way that makes sense and helps with clarity.

Organize the website. To ensure that the search engine bots can crawl your website easily, make sure your site architecture is easy to understand. If a human can find what they need on your site, then it’s likely this is good navigation.


In conclusion, we have found the White Hat SEO tends to grow long-term search rankings, and the quality of website visitors improves as well.

The temptation to find shortcuts or quick fixes will always be there, but as with most elements of running a successful business, acting with integrity brings the best results.

If you are looking to grow your website’s visibility online, then let us know how we can help. Brandastic is an SEO Agency based in Costa Mesa, California. We help businesses to increase their Google rankings and organic traffic and to increase sales and engagement with customers.

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