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Difference Between Black Hat and White Hat SEO

Not all SEO is the same. Some SEO techniques are good, bad, or iffy. Read this post to learn the difference between white, black, and gray hat SEO so you can use search engine optimization effectively or ensure you are hiring someone who is. Your time and your money should be spent wisely.

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO is a term for techniques that don’t look good and/or could cause your site to be penalized by Google (your ranking falls). These methods may get you short-term results in the form of a high Google ranking, but you may be giving your brand a bad reputation by providing bad content and Google updates its algorithm often so they will catch it. Some methods will make your site unrankable right from the start.

In the past, people have stuffed their websites with “invisible” words that the reader couldn’t see but Google could read. This would cause the site to rank until Google discovered what they were doing and adapted. You have to ask why they couldn’t show those words to their readers. Were they not really giving them content of value or were they trying to rank for keywords that didn’t really apply to their site?

Black hat SEO includes:

  • Stealing content (you just took someone else’s content and republished it on your site).
  • Using an automatic article spinner to make an existing page “new”.
  • Insincere linking (Google prioritizes sites with backlinks, but only if they represent legitimate interest).
  • Purchasing links.
  • Keyword stuffing (Putting so many keywords in a post that it is no longer enjoyable to read or including words that serve no real purpose).
  • Creating multiple social media accounts on the same platform for your business so you can create more links to your site.
  • Blog comment spamming.
  • Paying for positive reviews.

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO is a collection of SEO techniques that Google will reward with high rankings and won’t later penalize as well as techniques that don’t hinder the user experience. These are worth your time and money because you get quality rankings, attract more valuable traffic, and impress your readers.

White hat SEO techniques include:

  • Using keywords naturally.
  • Using headers so readers can easily find what they’re looking for.
  • Creating high-quality, informative, and enjoyable content.
  • Making your site indexable by search engines with a robot.txt file.
  • Telling Google to upload your sitemap.
  • Guest posting.
  • Useful internal linking.
  • Backlinking that represents legitimate interest or usefulness.

Gray Hat SEO

Some techniques are questionable. They aren’t bad enough to warrant being called black hat SEO, but they may have negative consequences. You would do much better to stick to using white hat techniques and focusing on legitimately impressing your readers.

Gray hat SEO includes:

  • Re-writing articles without adding anything new to them to make them useful in their own right.
  • Guest posting and loading the page with links to your site.
  • Creating a bunch of sites that link to each other to try to make it look like you’re not artificially linking to your site.
  • Using AI to create content. It’s not exactly wrong, but it usually reads poorly.

Hiring A SEO Expert

You should discover what SEO techniques your expert uses before you hire them. Read what they say they do for your SEO. Do they mention white hat SEO techniques? Notice the impressions you get from using their site. Do they seem professional? Do you trust them? Can you find testimonials or reviews on their site or online? Now that you know the difference between white hat and black hat SEO, you can also recognize if your expert does something that won’t serve you well.

Start Your SEO Journey With Capstone Digital Marketing

We offer search engine optimization with the most effective white hat SEO techniques and SEO audits so you can determine how well your site is performing now and in the future. Learn more about us and contact us to better your SEO.