White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

White Hat or Black Hat -- what’s the difference?

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a proven strategy for online marketing success. But the different techniques and features of SEO continue to be a topic of discussion. Some marketing companies and bloggers tout instant results and top rankings as the defining factors in determining the type of SEO to use. Others claim that the right SEO tactics work over time to improve website rankings, site traffic and other metrics. So, who is right in the neverending argument? It depends on your online ethics.

White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO

How does White Hat and Black Hat SEO come down to an ethics issue?

Black Hat SEO tactics generally rely on tricking search engines or users into clicking on websites and landing pages. These methods include keyword stuffing, doorway pages and false link building, as wells as creating fake social media profiles and hijacking URLs of credible websites.

Keyword stuffing is probably the most common and easily recognizable Black Hat SEO tactic. Websites and web pages that use these methods are easy to spot once you’re on the page due to the overuse of keywords, often in instances that don’t make sense in regards to grammar or syntax. To search engines, the abundance of keywords could appear to be credible, but users are able to spot the blatant tactic as spam and move on. Some keyword stuffing is less noticeable, however, so to determine whether a website’s content is legit, read through and see if you can identify information that is new to you on more than one occasion. Some websites appear legit because one or two pieces of information are presented at the top of the page, but the rest is just reworded in ways to add more keywords. This is another form of keyword stuffing.

Page swapping or doorway pages is another trick that Black Hat SEO marketers use to trick site visitors. A web page is designed in order to rank highly on a search engine result page. The web page is likely well designed with high-quality content, so when it is crawled and indexed, it ranks well. When the link is clicked by a user, however, a redirect takes the user to a different page that is more than likely hastily put together and offers very little useful content. The new page may be full of malicious code and spam-like content.

False link building can be done a few different ways. Buying links to include on your site or buying into a backlink networking are frowned upon from the search engines, especially Google. But companies still do it in order to boost their rankings and network of links because it’s the only way to get ahead for pages and pages of nonsense, spam, or malware.

The Choice is Yours

On the surface, Black Hat SEO techniques might not seem that bad. They often produce results. But if Google releases an update to specifically penalize a Black Hat SEO tactic, then it’s safe to bet Google has a good reason. Google is one of the most vocal search engines when it comes to providing webmasters and users guidelines to follow and the reasoning behind it’s algorithm updates. Google’s bottom line seems to be all about the user. In order to better serve people who perform search queries, Google must provide them with the best possible search results. That can be impossible if spam sites are ranked No. 1.

What’s wrong with keyword stuffing if your company is legit? Perhaps no harm will come to users, but are you using your website to its full advantage? Google expects webmasters and business owners to provide useful information to consumers, so poor-quality content isn’t going to cut it. Google expects websites to work for the top ranking positions, and Gainesville Marketing can help you do just that.

White Hat SEO Tactics

White Hat SEO tactics keep the user (or as Google would put it, the human) central to the method. It isn’t easy, which is why some businesses prefer the easy way out (Black Hat SEO). But White Hat SEO can have a huge payoff, from increased site traffic to larger profits. And that’s why we want to help your business grow in the right direction.

Content is the easiest way to judge a website. High-quality content will inform consumers and keep them intrigued. Linking to outside websites may be involved, but the content is original and focused on the topic, product or service identified on the page. Of course keywords will be used, but they won’t be overused or used in ways that don’t make sense. After all, without keywords, search engines might not correctly index your site. Additional content includes social media pages and business blogs. These sites can be used to publish original content as well as link to your website.

Link building can be very difficult. Google requires a lot of links to deem your site credible, but most people aren’t going to link to your site just because you ask them (although it never hurts to ask). That’s why content is important. When you create blogs and press releases that discuss topics important to your business and industry, those who are interested will repost, share and link to your site. The links will come, you just have to work for them.

The Problem with SEO

If Black Hat SEO still doesn’t sound that bad, then there may be little we can do to dissuade you from going in that direction. But be forewarned that it may seem like the easy path at first, but there’s a lot of work involved for the marketing company you choose. For example, if you have doorways and page swapping setup, you must first provide a really great page for it to rank well. Then you must pay to have the other pages completed. And every time a search engine releases a new algorithm, you’ll have to update your pages and switch your tactics to react. White Hat SEO tactics are proactive -- they do what’s necessary to improve your company all around so that people will want to do business with you. Black Hat SEO is reactive and must adjust every time updates occur.

Rather than strive to be the top website in search engine result pages, strive to be a company that doesn’t resort to tricking users into clicking on links. White Hat tactics are proven to work over time, and there’s much less of a chance that you’ll be left scrambling when a new update is released. With Gainesville Marketing, you can improve your company’s reputation, increase site traffic and rank well with Yahoo, Bing and Google, and grow your business with White Hat SEO.