White Hat vs Black Hat SEO: Which Will You Wear?

Other than that they make for great Halloween costumes (see pictures below) what’s the difference between these two SEO methods? Simply put, one is acceptable, and the other isn’t. Judging by the colors’ names, you can probably guess which is which. However, there’s much more to it than that! Let’s take a look at some major differences when it comes to white hat vs black hat SEO.

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White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

The difference between white hat vs black hat SEO lies in the techniques used when trying to improve a website’s search engine rankings. SEO techniques can broadly be classified into two categories: techniques that search engines approve of, and techniques that search engines do not. To start, let’s look at the first of these two: white hat SEO.

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO is the method that all successful marketers strive to implement. It involves the use of techniques that are not contrary to Google’s guidelines. White hat SEO is a long-term investment and, ideally, its results will last a long time. Here are some of the main white hat SEO techniques:

Quality Content

Creating quality content is arguably¬†the most important white hat SEO method, and “quality” is the key word here. Creating valuable content is important for SEO purposes because it shows search engines that your site is worthwhile. Additionally, quality content is far more likely to be shared and linked to. This type of content is easy to read, relevant to your niche, grammatically correct, and keyword rich.

Effective Keyword Research

In order to create quality content, it’s extremely beneficial to research keywords that are relevant to your site. By using keyword research tools, you can weed out the most effective words and phrases that people may use to find your site. Be cautious, though, as using too many keywords could lead to keyword stuffing, which we’ll talk about later.

Relevant Backlinks

Good backlinks are important because they’re essentially a vote of confidence for your site. They tell Google that you have quality content and that other websites vouch for your site. However, when it comes to backlinks, quality always comes before quantity. It’s not about how many backlinks your site has, but how many relevant backlinks it has.

Internal Linking

Linking to other pages within your own website makes it easier for search engines to navigate your site, as long as you don’t overdo it. Search Engine Journal recommends “two or three links to deep-seeded pages within your site.”

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO refers to the use of rule-breaking SEO techniques to earn higher rankings. While these strategies may work at first, it’s only for a short period of time. At the end of the day, they’ll probably only hurt your search rankings rather than help them. Here are some common black hat SEO strategies:

Keyword Stuffing

Using keywords properly in your content is very helpful, but keyword stuffing is a big no-no. It occurs when a webpage is jam-packed with keywords in the meta tags or content. Similarly, another black hat SEO technique is using unrelated, well-performing keywords to bait search engines. This looks extremely unnatural, which is a big red flag for search engines.

Hidden Text

We know that using certain words can benefit search rankings. So, some sneaky webmasters have tried to get around this by making the text color of certain words match the background of the site or setting the font size to zero. However, Google quickly caught on to this trick.

Cloaking

Cloaking involves presenting users and the search engine spiders with completely different content. This is done by delivering content based on IP addresses. Like most black hat SEO tactics, cloaking may have worked in the past, but it doesn’t anymore.

Link Farms

A link farm is a group of websites that all link to one another. The idea here was that it was better to have link quantity over link quality, but Google quickly realized that people using link farms were trying to cheat because of how unnatural it looked.

Paid Links

Similarly, purchasing links is another black hat SEO strategy. As its name suggests, it’s the practice of buying links for the sole purpose of having a higher number of links. Surprisingly, people still try to do this, but most paid links are bad quality and will hurt your search rankings.

What do you think about white hat vs black hat SEO? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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