22 February 2015

Black hat vs white hat SEO

Tags:Strategy, Content, SEO

Welcome to part two of our SEO series. If you missed part one, make sure you get up to speed here.

You might have heard of the terms 'white hat' and 'black hat' (no, we're not talking about the six thinking hats). These names apply to SEO techniques that fall into either the good, legitimate category (White Hat) or the dodgy, dark-side-of-the-force Black Hat category.

White Hat

These are SEO techniques that the search engines approve of. These techniques will last long term and will help people find content that is actually relevant to them. Some white hat techniques include:

  • Using relevant keywords and phrases in text, tags, URLs, and headings.
  • Linking to related content on your site to create back links.
  • Providing high quality, legitimate, relevant, links to outside content.
  • Sharing your content on social media networks to create natural back links.

Black (aka Crap) Hat

These SEO techniques are those that search engines do not approve of and can be classified as spammy and/or deceptive. It may seem tempting to employ some of these techniques but you can have your search ranking reduced or be removed from search databases altogether if you try them. Some black hat techniques to avoid include:

  • Excessive repetition of keywords in text, tags, ALT tags etc.
  • Repetition of unrelated keywords to turn up in as many searches as possible.
  • Using hidden text full of keywords.
  • Use of unrelated headings to grab attention.
  • Purchasing low quality backlinks.

We recommend sticking to honest SEO techniques rather than going over to the dark side, as if you are caught out using suspect SEO techniques (and chance are you will be) search engines can severely penalise your content. We also don't recommend using a combination of both white and black hat techniques. This will just leave you wearing a grey hat and search engines will still penalise you, gradually reducing your results overtime.

So instead of only thinking about page rankings, make your site for people. Add your keywords and phrases intelligently; don't spam your link titles and tags with the same keyword, go for quality over quantity, only provide relevant links and always be legit!

Want to know more? Read part 3 of our SEO series: 7 SEO Techniques to Avoid.

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