White, Grey and Black Hat SEO Techniques Explained
Having attended a recent business seminar conducted by Connecting Cheshire, we were presented with the terms ‘White Hat’ and ‘Black Hat’ SEO. The majority of the businesses in attendance knew of SEO, but these terms seemed to throw them.
As a web agency based in Cheshire, we have to keep up with the ever-changing trends so we can dedicate our knowledge to our clients. I’m not preaching, but having worked closely with clients on optimising their websites and content for the search engines, I have an educated approach with proven results and thought this may be an interesting topic.
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO techniques are considered to be pure if they follow the search engine guidelines and the techniques used are beneficial for visitors and search engines. By implementing methods such as creating content, headings and correct coding, this will improve search engine results organically.
Generally White Hat SEO activity is usually created for the visitor’s benefits instead of trying to trick search engine algorithms when they crawl through your website. Although slower than Black Hat SEO, White Hat SEO is the correct way to organically increase your search engine presence.
3 easy White SEO strategies
Content is King
You have probably heard James or JJ preach this phrase time and time again, but it’s absolutely true! There is nothing more valuable than adding unique, well written content that contain rich keywords on a regular basis. The general rule of thumb is to include the keyword phrase between 5%-10% in your content, though to be honest, we still feel this is too high from a readers perspective!
Without stuffing them into your content, including natural keywords in the page titles, headings, links and within the content (both short and long sentences) are proven White Hat SEO strategies.
High Quality Links
Having authoritative, inbound links to your website are highly regarded by search engines. If the link is relevant to the content of the page and your keywords, search engine rankings tend to favour your website as it is seen as trustworthy for visitors.
Grey Hat SEO
As you can probably imagine, Grey Hat SEO is somewhere between White Hat and Black Hat SEO in terms of techniques. Grey Hat SEO has proven to be successfully and effective if you know what you are doing, though it doesn’t fit our philosophy of focussing on the visitor and good quality content!
While Grey Hat SEO techniques are considered to be more risky methods than White Hat SEO techniques, you are not likely to face punishment or having your website banned from search engines, but could face a search engine penalty of some description. It’s also worth noting that what’s perhaps considered Grey Hat SEO today, may later be considered Black Hat SEO in the future.
5 Grey Hat SEO technique strategies you should avoid
- Keyword Stuffing / Duplicate Content
- Purchasing Old Domains
- Link Farming (Found by purchasing, blog commentating, and old domains)
- Cloaking (Showing visitors a different webpage than what it does for a search engine)
- Blog Commentating (Using fake profiles to post URL’s)
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO involves techniques that are used to improve search rankings quickly that are considered unacceptable or deceptive by search engines. This is considered to be a dabbling in the dark arts with the only goal to improve rankings regardless of what it takes.
This technique has no benefits to the user, but instead tries to trick and manipulate search engines and how they determine ranking positions. Search engines will penalize sites if they discover any Black Hat SEO activity by either reducing their ranking presence, or by removing them from their databases entirely. High profile cases have included BMW Germany & Ricoh Germany who were both removed from Google in February 2006.
Why are Black Hat SEO techniques used?
I’m not going to tell you any different, Black Hat techniques offer fast results from fast actions but there are high risks. It’s only a matter of time before search engines find out and when they do, you seriously risk having your website penalized or even removed from the search rankings.
Even if Search Engines can’t detect what’s happening, SEO companies and competitors are not afraid to spot and report them to these search engines so it is a slippery slope.
Unaware of the implications
Website owners who are not to familiar with SEO, may decide to try various techniques in an attempt to boost search engine rankings. It is easy to inherit bad habits where you will later be penalized. If your website plummets down the search engine rankings, this could leave you scratching your head if you are unaware of the implications.
There are many ‘Sharks’ out there who claim to be SEO specialists, but in theory implement Black Hat SEO techniques in order to achieve quick results. If you decided that you want to go down the SEO route, it’s worth researching who you will be investing your money with or what methods they use.
The SEO Verdict
Having come across Black Hat & Grey Hat activities ourselves, some SEO and some web performance agency will implement these techniques, but the best one’s will not! While Black and Grey both provide short-term solutions, they are exactly that, here for the short term! You may gain traffic, but it will be the wrong traffic which will eventually lead to your website getting caught out.
If you would like to discuss SEO strategies and what’s best for your website, or if you are wondering which type of tactics have been implemented on your website, why not get in touch? Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch and interact with us on twitter @untitledtm