White and Black Hat SEO are two totally different SEO strategies that yield varying results, but one is better than the other. We'll explaining everything you need to know about the two, and help you determine which one is worth incorporating into your strategy.
White hat SEO encompasses ethical, transparent and non-penalized SEO techniques recommended by search engines. In short, it's the legitimate way to do SEO.
White hat SEO follows search engines guidelines and rules in order to improve ranking and increase organic traffic. By following the rules, white hat SEO ensures both marketers and search engines are able to provide value and security to users. White hat SEO doesn’t use shady tactics or sneaky work arounds to fool the algorithm, and Google takes note of this.
Security: as opposed to black hat, white hat SEO techniques are not penalized by Google because they abide by Google’s guidelines and rules.
Ethical: if you manage to get the top positions with white hat SEO, it will be because you are doing things right and bringing real value to the users.
Stability: pages that use black hat techniques may position quite quickly, but when they are caught and penalized they drop in the rankings just as quickly. Instead, optimizing pages using white hat methods ensures that your position stays more stable, even if there are changes in Google's algorithms.
Profitability: white hat techniques manage to generate high quality organic traffic, which results in an increase in all digital marketing indicators like lead generation, conversions, etc. This means that by using white hat SEO methods, your traffic quality will also be higher as the traffic is likely more qualified.
Black hat SEO looks to achieve fast results through methods that violate Google's standards. They usually rely on tricking search engines in some way to climb the search engine results pages (SERPs) quickly.
Although black hat SEO may sometimes bring immediate results, in the long run it is never worth it because search engine give out severe penalties if they detect any attempt to cheat the system. Therefore, black hat SEO usually ends up impeding your success and lowering your rankings in the long run.
The other problem with black hat SEO is that it does not bring any value to end users. Although it may be effective in the short term, it ends up being detrimental to a company's marketing objectives. It's always better to go step by step and build a solid foundation using white hat techniques.
Keyword stuffing. This consists of entering a keyword over and over again on a website or in a piece of content so that the search engine will you position for it. According to Google rules, the keyword should always be used naturally and respond to users' needs by providing valuable information. Repeating a word over and over again without reason will negatively affect content quality and user experience.
Cloaking. One of the most important standards of ethical SEO is that websites must appear the same for users and trackers. With cloaking, the idea is to generate a super-optimized website for search engines that would be unreadable to a human being. The unreadable website is then cloaked, or covered, with another website designed for users but that is not traceable in search engines.
Spinning. Spinning is based on "hacking" content creation using programs that modify a single article to generate several different texts by using synonyms, for example. Logically, this practice does not add any value to the reader, and Google's algorithms are increasingly able to detect it.
Hidden text. This black hat SEO practice is very old and violates the regulations of displaying the same content to users and crawlers. It involves hiding texts that repeat keywords over and over by putting the text in the same color as the background or by reducing its size.
Link selling. Backlinks, or inbound links, are one of the most important factors for positioning a website, but these must be obtained organically. Therefore, purchasing and selling backlinks is considered a black hat SEO technique and is subject to penalty.
Essentially the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO boils down to doing the right thing or not. In the midst of the two categories, there is a third that tries to push the boundaries of what is allowed, and this is grey hat SEO.
While it may be tempting to use quick tricks and sneaky steps to bypass the hard work of SEO, this will never benefit your website or brand in the long run. Sticking with white hat SEO is what will give your site the best shot at increasing its domain authority and landing in the number one spot on Google and other search engines.