Black Hat SEO & White Hat SEO — the struggle between good and evil
Since 2011, when the Panda algorithm was introduced, Google has been fighting against duplication of content, keyword stuffing, and spam. In the following years, further modifications to the algorithm were made — including Penguin and Phantom, which were also penalizing unfair practices related to low-quality content or link building. This led to the creation of a division of SEO activities that were perceived as ethical. As a result, Black hat and White hat SEO emerged.
- What is White Hat SEO?
- What is Black Hat SEO?
- White Hat SEO Techniques
- Appropriate selection of keywords
- Unique & high-quality content
- Page loading speed
- Appropriate structure and navigation of the website
- Black Hat SEO Techniques
- Keyword stuffing
- Duplicate content
- Spam link
- Doorway page
- White Hat and Black Hat — comparison
- Grey Hat SEO. Balance?
- Consequences of Black Hat SEO
- Black Hat — is the game worth the candle?
What is White Hat SEO?
White Hat SEO encompasses activities aimed at optimizing and positioning the website in accordance with the guidelines of the Google search engine. So these are ethical SEO practices. By following these rules, your site will avoid being penalized and have a better chance of ranking higher.
The main goal of White Hat SEO is to create search engine-friendly websites containing engaging and valuable content for the user.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO is the opposite of White Hat SEO. They are used to trick the algorithm and manipulate the ranking of search results. They often bring quick results; unfortunately, Google does not endorse them. Black Hat SEO practices are short-term page modifications that aim to improve SERP rankings, typically by exploiting the search engine system's weaknesses, limitations, and vulnerabilities.
White Hat SEO Techniques
By using White Hat SEO techniques in website optimization, you can build a website with a positive reputation and high ranking in search engine results. Using White Hat SEO guarantees lasting results and is completely free from the risk of being penalized.
Here are some examples of activities that are search engine friendly and will help you optimize your website.
Appropriate selection of keywords
Choosing the right keywords is one of the first steps in any SEO campaign. After all, if you follow keywords that no one is looking for, it doesn't matter how well-optimized your website is — no one will find it.
Unique & high-quality content
In addition to targeting the right keywords, you also need to ensure that the content you post on your website is high quality. Otherwise, you increase the risk of being punished by search engines. Once the search engine bots find low-quality content, they may skip your site and move on to the next one
Page loading speed
Increasing your website loading speed is another effective white hat SEO technique. Fortunately, optimizing your site speed is simple. For example, you can remove unnecessary plug-ins, reduce the media size, and limit the number of redirects on your site.
Appropriate structure and navigation of the website
A clear structure and navigation of the website is a UX element that influences the SEO of the website. When optimizing a website, it is worth focusing, in particular, on three aspects:
- menu — on most pages, the menu consists of the main page, offer, price list and contact (also includes subcategories regarding services or specific products);
- internal linking — internal linking enables efficient redirection of users within the site to clarify specific issues;
- Breadcrumbs — breadcrumb navigation allows users to find out where the pages are currently located and also helps to understand the page layout.
Black Hat SEO Techniques
Even if you manage to achieve visible results by using Black Hat SEO techniques, you won't be able to enjoy them for long. Google's algorithm is improving at detecting the methods used to manipulate the ranking.
Here are some techniques you should avoid when optimizing your website.
It is a practice of deliberately packing your texts with keywords. This activity aims to get a higher ranking in the search results for a given keyword.
"Content is king"! For the content to bring the expected results, it must be valuable and unique.
We are talking about duplicate content when the same text appears in several URLs in one or more domains.
Duplicate content often occurs naturally and is sometimes difficult to eliminate (e.g., in online stores). For this reason, penalties are only imposed on those pages that intentionally want to manipulate the search results with massive amounts of duplicate content.
When optimizing your website, you should pay particular attention to the link-building strategy. Spamming on forums, creating special link farms, or using Link Exchange System may lead to a filter or ban, depending on the scale of your use of this Black Hat SEO technique. If you want to get links for your website, do it naturally and thoughtfully. It is best if the places you obtain links from be high-quality and thematically correspondent websites with a high Domain Rating.
Doorway page, jump page, bridge page — many names define this technique. These types of websites collect traffic from search engines. They are made up of multiple domains and subdomains to increase the search reach. They can be, for example, in the form of regional page views of a given domain. Positioning through the doorway page is based on the use of popular keywords that appear high in search rankings. The important thing is that these pages are based on the manipulation of search algorithms and are not created with users in mind; these immediately transfer them to the target page. The unaware visitors may not even notice that they have used the doorway page.
This is a technique that consists of creating two versions of content on a page. One of them is visible to users, and the other to Google robots.
In practice, users often see pictures or flash animations, while robots see texts that, as you can easily guess, are full of keywords.
White Hat and Black Hat — comparison
The goal of both strategies is to increase the visibility of the website. White Hat SEO is safe website positioning that provides users with value and brings long-lasting results. Implementing such solutions usually requires time and resources, and the results require patience. Black Hat SEO methods are an attempt to manipulate search results. Their goal is to rank high, without considering whether users who receive promoted content this way will actually benefit from it. Putting such solutions into practice also requires time and skills, but you can quickly see the results.
Grey Hat SEO. Balance?
Gray Hat SEO is an activity on the border of White Hat and Black Hat. It aims to increase the website's position in the SERP while breaking some guidelines and rules set by search engines. Gray Hat SEO is considered less risky than the traditional Black Hat SEO because Google tolerates it more. As the line between Black Hat and Gray Hat is often blurred, be very careful when using both techniques.
Consequences of Black Hat SEO
Failure to comply with generally accepted rules and guidelines provided by Google may have unpleasant consequences for your website.
There are two types of penalties:
- The filter is the lighter penalty. It can be imposed manually by the Google team or algorithmically, which is automatically imposed by the search engine. You get this kind of filter for breaking webmaster guidelines.
- Unlike filters, a ban removes your entire website from search results. To save such a page, you need to eliminate the cause and send a request to return the page to the search engine index.
As a rule, getting rid of hand-applied filters is much easier. The messages that appear make them easy to verify. As for algorithmic filters, they are often associated with updating the algorithm.
Black Hat — is the game worth the candle?
The lengthy wait for SEO results can be discouraging. Yet, remember that current Google algorithms are so advanced that using underhand methods won't cut it. It may result in a long-term lowering of our position or total exclusion from the search results. If you use Black Hat SEO techniques, you waste time and expose yourself to unnecessary risks. Business professionals just cannot rely on strategies that don't produce tangible and long-term results.