White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO: What’s the Difference?
Both white hat and black hat search engine optimization (SEO) techniques all exist for a single purpose—to help improve the rank of a website’s results in search engines. Both techniques’ goal is to earn a site higher rankings every time a person conducts a search query or a series of different queries in search engines. In consequence, a website is finally able to generate more authentic traffic and enjoy a higher ROI from the techniques. However, both techniques have some striking differences all the same. Wondering what could be the difference between white hat SEO Vs black hat SEO? Read on to find out more.
What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat techniques are often used to game the system and are more biased towards search engines than the people doing the searching. It’s much like cheating, as the goal of many black hat SEO techniques is to fool search engines into giving a webpage a better ranking than it deserves. Black hat strategy strives to give a website short-term and quick turnaround results by taking advantage of blind spots, limitations, and gaps in search engine algorithms through spammy activities that give users a bad experience.
These are usually performed on burner sites for testing. These “burner” sites are not usually considered good sites for optimal, sustained search engine rankings. Once they are burned, usually the black hat techniques are so pronounced and severe that it would be more worth it to throw them away rather than use them any longer.
Some businesses that are highly dependent on black hat techniques include sites like subscription sites and retail sites, or any other business that implements a quick-return business model. Nevertheless, people who are caught using these techniques risk their sites being penalized and de-indexed from search engines altogether.
Below are some examples of black hat SEO techniques:
Keyword stuffing is an unethical form of search engine optimization technique since the activity only cares about improving the rank of certain keywords on a web page. Thus, keyword stuffing’s goal is to fill webpages content with an excessive volume of irrelevant keywords so that your web pages may rank high on search results pages. More often than not, these array of keywords used usually sound unnatural resulting in a poor experience for users. This tactic may also cause some web pages to rank for irrelevant queries.
As with keyword stuffing, hiding keywords comprise changing the color of links and a text’s font to make them invisible to human eyes in order to improve their rankings. Search engines regard this activity as spamming because many people who employ this technique use it to cheat search engines.
Cloaking is another deceptive technique that comprises presenting completely different content to both the user and search engines. This technique’s goal is to server content to bots that is more conducive to higher rankings, while showing more readable, less competitive content to searchers.
If a web page is broken or outdated, a webmaster may choose to redirect a visitor to a different page. As a consequence, a user lands on a page whose content looks different than what a search engine’s web crawler can actually read. Other methods employed in black hat SEO include link schemes, scraped content, and spamming links in forum posts and comment fields.
What Is White Hat SEO?
White hat SEO is a combination of some ethical, technical, and aesthetic behaviors that people employ in order to improve the search engine rankings for a particular website or group of websites. White hat practices are often employed by reputable companies to improve the overall quality of a website.
These strategies are also very much in line with the requirements and guidelines of most search engines, like Google and Bing, which makes it easier for search engines to recognize a site’s purpose and authority. Companies also use white hat strategies to improve overall user experience by optimizing a website for intended visitors and search engine algorithm purposes. Although white hat SEO may be a lengthy process, this technique usually benefits a site much, much more in the long run.
Following are a few essential white hat techniques:
Guest blogging is the activity of publishing a blog post on another person’s blog. Publishers use this method to improve their search rankings in search engines through backlinks or links that point to their specific website. Google likes seeing such links because it means the content published is valuable for users. Similar to “good links”, there are also “bad links” as well. Website owners are strongly recommended to always ensure that all their off-site links are authentic and relevant to the materials they share online.
Google continues to maintain that guest blogging is a bad technique to use, because many of these links are considered unnatural links. Some other opinions of SEOs in the industry differ, and believe that Google is being too strict on their guidelines, because of how effective guest blogging can be.
It’s vital to optimize every piece of content that’s published on a web page to suit its purpose. The material you share should be of high quality and linkable in order to easily and quickly draw the interest of other users. Content optimization involves creating new content and editing old content so that your materials may appeal more to its specific audience. Search engines also find such materials authoritative, trustworthy, and relevant for all users—hence improve a website’s search engine rankings as a result.
Your website’s internal links, keyword usage, tags, architecture, on-page optimization, its coding, the server, and files all play an important role in determining its technical significance. Website owners who want to get the best sustainable results with their sites should hire a technical SEO to audit the site, and check for any technical errors and suggest changes for improvement. Sites that work towards streamlining their technical value often see an impressive boost in the SERPs.
Similar to guest blogging, link building is about sharing your most valuable content with other niche-based websites. Search engines check the quality of the links shared to determine whether or not they are good enough to be counted as “good links” in the site’s link profile. In other words, the white hat link building goal is to achieve high-quality, authority links in order to give search engines a reason to rank the site through means of editorially vetting said site. When search engines find that these links are actually coming from authoritative online sources, a website experiences a positive shift in rankings.
Black Hat is Short-Sighted, White Hat is Sustainable
The difference between white hat and black hat SEO all boils down to the specific techniques employed when trying to improve a website’s search engine ranking. Both techniques will yield results, however, one can result in penalties that can end up hurting your website’s overall reputation over the long haul. Because SEO techniques are continually improving and evolving every day, website owners should familiarize themselves with the differences between white hat SEO Vs black hat SEO. Doing this allows website owners to boost their website’s search engine rankings the right way and allows them to reach their target audience to engage more with their products and services online.