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White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO: Which One Should You Use?

White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO: Which One Should You Use?

As you start learning about the world of search engine optimization, also known as SEO, you will hear the terms white hat SEO and black hat SEO. Before you make choices regarding your website, it’s important to understand what both of these terms mean and to understand why one is much more preferable than the other. When you are interested in compelling digital marketing, whether it’s through SEO on your website or on a Facebook page, Gauge Digital Media is here to help.

What Is White Hat SEO?

White hat SEO is often considered the most ethical way to optimize your website. What does it mean to follow the rules of search engine optimization?

  1. Your website will follow search engine guidelines. This means that your website will follow all of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and not make any conscious efforts to deviate from them. The biggest thing to remember is that you should not be manipulative when creating your website. Don’t try to game search rankings or trick Google’s algorithm. That is something that is part of black hat SEO.
  2. Your website is designed for users to have a good experience and contains information that is valuable to readers and not robots. Google wants to connect every one of its users with content that matters to them, so a website that is stuffed with keywords and poorly written sentences is not a good idea. Instead, this means using quality content and improving the speed and performance of your website instead of looking for shortcuts that will help you get ahead without the effort.
  3. Your website is focused on the long-term and not the short-term. If you do things the right way, it will often take longer and require more time and effort than using black hat SEO. However, white hat SEO has a much more long-lasting impact and it will never get you in trouble with Google. White hat SEO raises your rankings in a sustainable way, through targeting things like keywords. Doing it the right way will get the best results, but it involves sacrifice in the short term.

What is Black Hat SEO?

When you think about black hat SEO, you can picture it as the exact opposite of white hat SEO. Instead of searching for the right way to do things that will get the longest impact, it’s all about skipping through the good steps to get the fastest possible results. It might seem like a good idea, but it almost always backfires. What does black hat SEO look like?

  1. It will violate the guidelines outlined by Google and other search engines. In many cases, black hat SEO uses techniques and tactics that are exactly the opposite of things that are suggested by Google. This could get you in trouble in the long run, so it’s never a good idea to intentionally do.
  1. Sites that use black hat tactics rely on manipulative tactics. Instead of trying to improve the experience that a user has, black hat SEO wants to manipulate Google’s algorithm just to improve search rankings. If your website relies on techniques that trick Google into thinking that you are offering something good or special that would appeal to a consumer, you are probably using black hat techniques.
  2. Your SEO tactics are focused on quick wins instead of doing things the right way. Most black hat SEO techniques try to find loopholes and ways to game the system. If you are doing things the right way and following the guidelines outlined by Google, this will not be part of what you’re doing. In many cases, your shortcuts will also be short-lived.

What Is Different?

Reading through the explanations above, you can probably get a good idea of the key differences between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. White hat SEO wants to put the user at the center of the decisions that are being made to improve their experience. Instead, black hat SEO does not care about the end user but only optimizing the search results for their benefit. Because the goals are so different, the techniques used to accomplish them also look quite different.

For example, black hat SEO might post duplicate content on a website, use invisible text on pages, engage in keyword stuffing or use cloaking to direct users to another page without their knowledge. White hat SEO on the other hand will use relevant content, correctly labeled images, links and references that are relevant, unique page titles and complete sentences that are written properly. Again, instead of using the search engine as your target audience, white hat SEO focuses on the actual end user as the target audience.

What Is Grey Hat SEO?

Another term that you might encounter is known as grey hat SEO, and this occurs when you utilize strategies that occupy a grey area between white hat tactics and black hat tactics. They seem manipulative, but they do not explicitly go against any of the standards that were outlined by Google, so they cannot be considered black hat tactics. They are less risky than utilizing black hat statistics that you can get in immediate trouble for, but there might be rules against them in the future and they are not as above board as white hat tactics. If you want the best SEO services without going afoul of Google, you can rely on Gauge Digital Media.

We Are Here to Help Grow Your Business Online

Working with a professional digital marketing company is the best way to make the most of your website and all that Facebook Pixel, LinkedIn ads, Google Analytics and other digital advertising platforms have to offer. To learn more about the best digital marketing strategies for your company and reach a bigger audience than ever before, work with Gauge Digital Media. For a quote or to schedule a call, contact us at 410-376-7709.

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