Know the difference among white hat, black hat, and grey hat SEO and understand how white hat SEO techniques can help in the growth of your business.
Search Engine Optimization being a big industry on its own has evolved over the years, and with that, people have also started using diverse SEO techniques that fall into the categories of white hat, grey hat, and black hat SEO. In order to understand what these SEO techniques are, let us try to understand right from scratch.
What is white hat SEO?
White hat SEO refers to SEO tactics that are used with the terms and conditions of the key search engines including Google. Generally, white hat SEO refers to any practice that improves your search rankings on Search Engine Result Page (SERP) while maintaining the integrity of your website and staying within the search engine’s terms of service. For example, a website that is optimized for search engines, but still focuses on relevance and ranking is considered to be using white hat SEO. Some other examples of implementation of white hat SEO are offering quality content and services, using descriptive keywords, making the site easy to navigate, and backlinking and link building to improve link popularity.
What is black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO refers to a set of unethical practices that are implemented to increase a page’s or a website’s rank in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Black hat SEO uses aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and usually does not follow search engine guidelines. Any business needs to appear in search results and for that, it is very important for any organization to rank in the search engine result list. Black hat SEO is also referred to as unethical SEO as recently it is used more commonly to describe computer hackers, virus creators, and those who perform unethical actions with computers.
What is grey hat SEO?
Grey hat SEO techniques are a set of techniques and strategies that don’t generally follow Google’s guidelines but can still be considered acceptable. It is the middle ground between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. It is technically legal but risky. Grey hat SEO practices remain ill-defined or ill-advised by search engine published guidelines and which can be disagreeable. For example, having a definite number of keywords is good for SEO but putting too many keywords is bad for SEO. Grey hat SEO does the job of finding the right amount of balance between the two.
Let us now move to the discussion on these SEO techniques and try to understand what is the difference between white hat and black hat SEO.
What are the white hat SEO techniques?
The creation of a website without SEO will not be fruitful as it will not help in generating traffic. It is important for the webmasters that they create the website in such a way that will help in generating more traffic. Today online marketing has become the biggest tool in promotion as it helps with website ranking.
White hat SEO techniques are ethical, which help in upgrading the quality of content in your website. It is important for the SEO experts that they include relevant keywords along with meta tags that can make your website different from others. Creation of backlinks to such sites can help users to gain more knowledge of the related field.
Let us take a look at some of the elements included in white hat SEO techniques:
Putting relevant and labeled images that will attract the users and give a clear picture about the products and services.
2. Page title:
SEO experts should also put unique and good page titles.
3. Quality content:
It creates quality content for the people so that they get interested to read the content and share it. Quality content is written for the benefit of the readers. Creating quality content is the best way to rank your site and blog in search engines.
4. Relevant keywords:
It is very important to pay attention to keywords while writing a piece of content. Keywords should be unique and one must stick to some specific primary and secondary keywords.
5. Fast Page Loading:
From the perspective of SEO, site speed is a search engine ranking symbol. Making a site responsive, fast, and simple doesn’t frustrate visitors. Sites that are slow in responding to visitor’s requests generally rank lower in SERPs.
6. Simple Website Navigation:
It boosts the site in search rankings. It helps visitors to find things without getting frustrated.
What are black hat SEO techniques?
Black hat SEO techniques comprise unethical practices of promotion. This is done in order to place the website on top of the search results. Black hat SEO techniques are mainly used by the firms to place the website on top of search results within a shorter time span. Some examples of black hat SEO techniques include too many keyword stuffing, invisible text, use of doorway pages, and adding unrelated keywords to the page content.
These negative black hat SEO techniques use hidden content with stuffed keywords with the help of codes that cannot be seen by the users easily. People practicing balck hat SEO techniques use doorway along with gateways pages that can easily redirect the search engines which are uploaded with fake keywords along with contents. Black hat SEO techniques include the use of link farming techniques that can be used by them sometimes in order to rank the website. One of the risky parts of this technique is that it will have free pages that are having the list of websites that are unrelated in nature. Involving in these practices can also result in the banning of your website.
What are the grey hat SEO techniques?
This is also one of the techniques for the online promotion of products through websites. Although grey hat SEO techniques are considered legal in nature, they are not perfect and best like white SEO techniques.In this technique, major processes of SEO domains which were expired before are brought together in order to add content and backlinks that will be used for your website.
It involves the main trick of redesigning the website which can be made fully free from Google. It will show the updated website even if the content used in that website is old. It will also use unassociated keywords in order to fool the bots of search engines. This will show that these keywords are associated with some techniques which can fall under the category of grey hat SEO techniques.
People adopting these techniques will also be using spun contents that are one of the main techniques of grey hat SEO techniques. They copy the content from other websites and use the same on their own website by only changing the keywords.
Risks associated with grey hat and black hat SEO
Black hat SEO or grey hat SEO tactics are those that knowingly defy the search engine’s guidelines in order to get quicker and better rankings. Although these may match within the short term goals, the search engines will eventually get onto these tactics, causing a drop in traffic to the site. The risks of using black hat SEO and grey hat SEO techniques are just too great for several companies, who simply cannot gamble the site’s authority and reputation. Even for businesses that can afford to take the risk, Google’s algorithms are getting more and more sophisticated, meaning that it will become more and more difficult to outsmart the search engines with grey and black hat tactics. Let’s take a look at some common risks:
1. Negative SEO:
This is an illegal activity that is aimed at bringing down a competitor’s site. Buying bad links on their behalf, scraping their content and plastering it across many sites, or even hacking a site to modify it are some techniques that must be avoided.
2. Paid Links:
Buying links is sometimes used as a shortcut to improve rankings and traffic; however, it should be strictly avoided. Paid links are enough to manipulate search engine rankings, and it is not an ethical SEO strategy.
Cloaking is a technique that shows one sort of content or URL to the programme spider and another to the user, which is a high-risk strategy as search engines heavily penalize or blacklist sites that use cloaking. Cloaking is easily caught by search engines and the penalties are too high for it to be worth the risk.
4. Keyword stuffing:
Keyword stuffing involves overusing the same keywords throughout one page in order to maximize its visibility and traffic. Content stuffed with keywords doesn’t look natural and because of this, it is not user friendly.
Above mentioned techniques are quite risky to practice because they will be detected sooner or later. A website can be banned or even can be heavily penalized. Being banned is rare because it means an ultimate removal of a particular website from SERPs. Penalization is a common consequence to pay and also leads to lowering the website’s ranks. Avoid using these tactics and techniques to stay in business for a long time.
Longevity of white hat, black hat, and grey hat SEO techniques
When it comes to SEO, the goal is usually to succeed in and maintain the topmost position within the search engines, regardless of the website’s type/niche.
White hat SEO:
Without complicating things, white hat SEO is best explained as a collection of techniques to improve the ranking of a website in the SERPs ethically. Quality is the key ingredient in a white hat SEO strategy. Right from the type of content you are publishing to the overall user experience- your site needs to be of high-quality. In short, white hat SEO is the cleanest way to boost search engine rankings since it averages quality content and aims for user satisfaction on all levels.
Black hat SEO:
Black hat SEO starts on an incorrect note, as the whole idea behind is to not follow the rules laid out by the search engines. Black hat SEO gives short term results in terms of traffic and exposure. But in the long run, there are chances of your site being heavily penalized or removed completely from the search engine. Black hat SEO is implemented by a number of webmasters that solely focus on quick returns rather than long term gains. Some examples are scraping content from other sites and using it on your own website, creating automated content or building automated low-quality, etc. Black hat SEO is a strict no-no, if you are building a real and ethical business.
Grey hat SEO:
It is a mixture of both the white and black hat techniques and it is a tactic that is either of the categories, but with some changes to the methods that the search engines work that could change later. It is somewhere in the middle and it isn’t exactly ethical, but neither is it completely wrong. It is not necessarily a bad practice but it is being done with the intention to get ahead in the rankings. There is a blurred line and isn’t something that you would want to willingly tell Google that you are up to. It isn’t a bad practice in general, but it is being done so that you can get ahead when it comes to the rankings.
The bottom line: Stick to white hat SEO
After knowing about all the risks associated with black hat and grey hat SEO, it can be safely assumed that white hat SEO techniques are the safest options to go for. White Hat SEO ensures that the site performs well in the SERPs. White Hat SEO uses organic techniques and also makes sure that the site performs well when they are searched by users. It improves the website’s ranking chances. Above all, it follows Google’s guidelines which ensure good user experience. Though it will take time to see the wanted result when you are following white hat SEO techniques, still it has a long lasting impact and the wait is worth it. The techniques used in white hat SEO gives the website a steady ranking with keywords, content, images, meta information, and video.
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