What is the main difference between black hat and white hat SEO?
Definition-wise, it’s rather easy to differentiate White Hat SEO from the Black Hat approach. However, despite knowing the literal differences of the two, some websites—especially the new ones—sometimes misunderstand the context and end up using White Hat SEO techniques to the point that it becomes Black Hat. As the color suggests, black implies evil and white implies good. And sometimes it becomes so tempting to skip the long route and go straight to the alluring offers of “thousands of links for $10” on Black Hat SEO forum and websites like Fiverr. However, everybody should understand that SEO is a gradual, continuous process. Cutting to the chase will just bring more harm than good. Understanding the real difference between Black Hat and White Hat SEO and religiously sticking to the non-abusive techniques is the best starting point to digital success.
Any technique actually has some good and bad means of implementation. In the SEO arena, there are global standards followed by SEO specialists around. These global standards are also what the leading search engines foster. These approved standards and guidelines are what comprise the White Hat SEO strategy.
The problem usually occurs when people begin misusing original White Hat techniques in a spammy way. When abused and not used naturally, some White Hat techniques could be flagged by search engines and can then lead to penalty. Back link building is probably one of the most abused White Hat SEO techniques today. Guest posting and Article directory submission are also becoming more suspicious nowadays. Those who want immediate gratification are the ones who usually resort to Black Hat techniques that may have short-term results but don’t last any long.
Here are the Black Hat SEO techniques that you must avoid using if you don’t want hefty consequences in your campaign:
Black Hat SEO techniques
There are various tactics that can technically be considered Black Hat strategies. These faulty shortcuts are not welcome in the standard SEO world and should be shunned in order to reap more rewarding long-term results.
Some people make 2 page versions for both search engines and visitors. When search engine spiders crawl through their pages, they’re satisfied with how the pages are set up. However, how visitors see the same pages is different. Actual users see an entirely different context on display. This is a forbidden process called cloaking. Cloaking should never be used as an SEO tactic because it deceives both users and search engines, which could lead to penalties like being removed from the entire index.
Meta tag stuffing
Although it’s natural to have some of the article’s keywords placed or seen on meta tags, excessive use of any specific keyword in meta tags could also be considered an abuse or meta tag stuffing.
There’s no exact parameter in terms of the right keyword density for all articles. However, many SEO experts find 2-3% keyword density acceptable. If it goes beyond that, it can be flagged as suspicious and the website can then suffer the consequence.
Doorway or Gateway pages
Gateway or doorway pages are low-quality web pages which have poor or inadequate contents but have too many keywords. This is to excel in certain key phrases and is against the standards because it’s a form of spamdexing or deliberate manipulation of the search engine indexes.
A person who is hosting multiple websites but is just providing similar contents in each one of them holds mirror websites. This is another barred technique.
This technique involves a person creating a bogus or dummy content which is served to bots and crawlers like the original one but guide users to some fraudulent or nasty sites. Legitimate web pages are compromised to redirect the users to malicious websites.
White Hat SEO Techniques
While some techniques are ruled out, some are also highly recommended by the industry leaders. In the SEO space, White Hat SEO is the pot of gold. Here are tips everyone in the digital space can follow to embrace the recommended guidelines that are proven and tested to work wonders.
The last thing that Google and other search engines want is to see their system abused and their general structure deceived. Remember that the search engine platforms hold the door to the heavens. If you are a wrongdoer, you’ll never make it upstairs, and they will readjust their algorithm to get rid of people like you.
Follow search engine guidelines
You should be adaptable to the ever-changing times. SEO is a dynamic field. It constantly evolves. So, you should also keep yourself updated with the most recent search engine guidelines that you can diligently apply. Check Google webmaster guidelines from time to time to keep your SEO campaign on the right track.
While it might sound easier to make your website appealing to search engines rather than to actual users, that’s just not going to work. The best advice is to actually focus your best efforts on creating a platform that actual visitors will love. That is where real conversions and brand loyalty come from. Follow this golden rule coupled with consistent marketing efforts, and you’ll see a huge difference.
Good quality content
Google and other leading search engines are basically made to give people access to valuable information online. If your content does not give value and is poorly written, you are already missing out a big criterion. Focus on creating quality content that visitors will appreciate while keeping other White Hat SEO strategies in use.
Good quality web pages
The quality of your web pages, on top of their content, must be enhanced. They should be speed-optimized, mobile-friendly, easy to navigate and focus on bringing a good user experience throughout.
Which One Should You Choose?
The obvious answer is the latter. White Hat SEO tactics are what you need to enjoy lasting results. If you’re a company who relies on the help of external SEO Company or experts, asking the following questions before hiring is crucial:
- What link building strategies do you use?
- What changes will you make on my site?
- What methods are you using to rank my website for this set of keywords?
Extreme care has to be taken when using the aforementioned methods. Even if you believe you are using white hat techniques, there might be other factors that are pulling you down. Don’t forget to use the right tools that can help you evaluate your website standing. This way, you can detect and address issues early on and boost your website ranking.