The Difference Between White Hat vs Black Hat SEO
By Andy | Apr 6, 2021 (5 min read)
When starting to grow your Google ranking, it can be tempting to look for an SEO tactic that shortcuts the time it takes to rank well in the SERP results.
As with any software, there are specific rules that a search engine algorithm will follow. These rules stop website developers from finding workarounds that create an unfair advantage fora site’s ranking. It ensures that the playing field is level and that any site can rise to the top with enough time and effort.
When it comes to different approaches to Search Engine Optimization over the years, it has diverged into two types of SEO: ‘White Hat SEO’ and ‘Black Hat SEO.’ White hat techniques are more aligned with Google’s guidelines for high-quality SEO. Black hat SEO practices are based on hacks and tricks that while appearing to give short term boosts to a search engine result, typically have negative SEO consequences over the long term.
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. Black hat SEO techniques are tempting to try for short-term gains, but also have inherent risks.
The typical techniques that are commonly used in Black Hat SEO are:
- keyword stuffing
- link farming or link trading
- hidden texts and links
- blog comment spamming
Of course, there are consequences of using Black Hat methods, that can result in your site being banned from a search engine or at the very least penalized in the SERP rankings.
The other big disadvantage of Black Hat SEO strategy is that when people visit a site that is using workarounds, they typically don’t stay on the site very long. It is very obvious to a human that a website using black hat techniques has very little value. When people leave a website quickly, the Google’s algorithm will penalize it due to high bounce rate. this tends to drop the ranking over time.
What is ‘White Hat SEO’?
A White Hat SEO technique, by contrast, refers to the using strategies that target a human audience opposed to trying to hack a search engine algorithm. Any good SEO campaign will focus more on White Hat SEO, quality content, and link building as the core of their approach.
Techniques that are typically used in white hat SEO include:
- using accurate keywords
- keyword analysis and keyword research
- rewriting meta tags for better relevance
- backlinking to sites that are relevant and valuable
- link building through writing valuable content for human readers
White Hat SEO (sometimes known as ethical 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 search ranking results last a long time. Any SEO practice that helps the site visitor in some way is generally going to give you a better result.
The Best Way To Boost SEO
While it is up to each website developer to choose what approach they use, there are definite advantages to using White Hat SEO. Google guidelines state that developing quality content and strong genuine backlinks are key to growing the rankings in the search engine.
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. Use appropriate heading tags to help improve the structure of the website. 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. Black hat SEO tactics tend to have short-term boosts and long term penalties tied to them.
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.