Where there is light, there is darkness. This is also true with SEO approach.
In today’s article about white hat vs black hat SEO, I will guide you through what are their approaches, differences and why you should never consider practicing black hat SEO. (Check out my 7 SEO strategies for 2019 if you are interested)
What Is White Hat SEO?
In simple word, white hat SEO refers to the correct, ethical way of optimizing site for ranking. Whatever strategies you have learned or read so far are white hat SEO approaches.
In a nutshell, white hat SEO approaches should meet the following criteria:
1. It follows search engine guidelines
The most widely-accepted definition of white hat SEO is that it follows Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
These are the rules that Google has laid out to define the proper way to optimize a site.
And while they go into a bit of detail as to what an “ethical” SEO strategy looks like,
they can essentially be summed up with one simple idea: Don’t be manipulative.
So, in general, if you’re not attempting to manipulate rankings or otherwise deceive
Google’s algorithm, you’re likely following their guidelines and using white hat SEO.
2. It focuses on a human audience
White hat SEO involves making changes that are beneficial to a site’s visitors.
And when you consider that Google’s top priority is to provide their users with the best
possible results, it makes sense that this is an essential component of the “right” way to do SEO.
Fortunately, many of the most effective SEO strategies already involve taking steps that improve the experience a site provides its visitors.
Tactics like publishing high-quality content and improving page load times improve the
value that users get from a site, and the ease with which they can navigate it — making them upstanding, Google-approved strategies.
3. It takes a long-term approach
Strategies that follow Google’s guidelines and create a positive user experience are often more time- and work-intensive than black hat methods.
This means that it will take time to see the results you want.
What Is Black Hat SEO?
The complete opposite to white hat SEO is termed as black hat SEO.
If a tactic meets the following criteria, it can be classified as black hat.
1. It violates search engine guidelines
Black hat tactics violate Google’s guidelines, and in many cases, are directly referenced in these guidelines as practices you shouldn’t use.
2. It relies on manipulative tactics
While white hat SEO involves looking for ways to improve user experience, black hat SEO relies on manipulating Google’s algorithm to improve rankings.
To put it simply, if a tactic is designed to make Google think that a site provides more
value to users than it really does, it’s deceptive — and it’s black hat SEO.
3. It focuses on “quick wins”
Many of the strategies involved in black hat SEO are focused on exploiting loopholes in
Google’s algorithm that can lead to improvements in rankings without much work.
Some of black hat SEO approaches:
- Unrelated keywords: Adding keywords that have no connection to your content is a red flag for search engines because of how unnatural it looks.
- Content automation (in the body text or the comment section): We can all recognize a bot comment instantly, and although this text contains one or two keywords that will help the URL rank higher, it’s randomly generated and makes absolutely no sense to the reader – and search engines pick up on this.
- Doorway pages: These are essentially fake pages that are overloaded with keywords that make them easier for search engines to find. However, once clicked, they automatically redirect visitors to a separate page and are therefore meaningless.
- Cloaking: This deceptive strategy involves presenting visitors and search engines completely different content. The goal is to deceive search engines so they display a URL when it would not otherwise be displayed.
- Invisible text or links: Another common black hat technique is to hide text or links within your content in an effort to improve rankings.
White Hat Vs Black Hat SEO – Which One To Choose And Why
So now you know the difference between them. Which one to go for?
I bet the first thing that comes to your mind must be “black hat SEO” because it seems like a shortcut to your SEO success. But wait guys. The success is short-lived.
That’s because Google is constantly improving its algorithm to provide the best results
to searchers, and to prevent site owners who don’t provide a great site experience from ranking well.
This means that sites using black hat strategies are at risk for losing their rankings every time there’s a new algorithm update — making this a much more short-term approach than white hat SEO.
Another consequence of this approach is if Google find out that you have followed unethical method of ranking, your site will get blacklisted or banned.
DON’T EVER CONSIDER TRYING THIS!
That’s all for white hat vs black hat SEO and which one you should ultimately go for. While both the approaches share the common goal i.e to rank your site, they use very different strategies.
While black hat SEO promises quick result, it is short-lived whereas white hat SEO promises consistency.
The most successful brands opt for white hat SEO in their search efforts because the
strategy focuses on making your site more visible through quality content and organic link building.
This applies to local business SEO as well.
Have you ever tried any black hat SEO approaches before? Let me know in the comment section.
I’m just an ordinary guy with passion for web development and online marketing. Let’s stay connected!