If you are a business
owner and want to get your website recognized by your potential customers, you
need to know how to rank high on the SERP (search engine results page).
You also need to have a
certain level of SEO skills to get that ranking on the first page of Google,
and even then, it’s an ongoing game to keep yourself there.
Many people feel
desperation by this point and start to use sneaky SEO tactics to rank higher
than their competition.
This is where the
importance of knowing the difference between white hat vs black hat SEO comes
in. One tactic helps you climb the SERP, and the other will get you penalized
by Google, ruin your traffic, and your business.
So what is the difference
between the two? And what are the legal tactics to use, to avoid being
We have all those
answers! Keep on reading to learn the difference between white hat vs black hat
SEO and how to do it correctly.
Table of Contents
What is White Hat SEO?
No, we’re not referring to an actual white hat you wear on you
head, but we have something even better.
White hat SEO is the tactics and techniques that are ethical,
integral, and follow along with Google’s terms and conditions. In other words,
these are the legal SEO strategies that are by the book and will not get you
Considering Google has over 3.5 billion searches per day, there
is a lot of traffic just waiting to discover your website. This extra traffic
gives you more opportunities to be found by potential clients and
customers, just waiting to purchase your products and/or services.
White hat means that you are following the guidelines and
performing specific techniques to boost your rankings that will NOT get you
So, the last thing you want is to be banned from the world’s
most used search engine. To make it even worse, there are no chances that they
will re-list you. You could be banned for longer than a year, or even up to a
White Hat Benefits
Besides skipping the chances to be penalized, the white hat SEO
strategy has many other benefits.
First, you are not trying to manipulate the algorithm, you are
achieving organic search results that are reflected in your hard work. White
hat SEO is more satisfying than its counterpart “black hat” because
when your website grows, your business grows with it.
Google changes its algorithm hundreds of times per year, and each time they change it, they are eliminating chances for black hat marketers to get results. By following the white hat guidelines, you are ensuring that you are “bullet-proofing” your website from any future issues or major changes.
White Hat SEO Strategies
White hat techniques begin with a full analysis of a website and
its competitors, to find areas where your website could improve its signals
that it is sending to the search engines.
The next step would be to discover where your competitors are
ranking within a certain set of keywords and begin writing authoritative
content to rank well for those keywords as well.
The more quality content that your website has, the more that
Google will see it as a valuable and authoritative website. This means that
other websites will begin to link to your website as a source for information,
which sends out even more signals to the search engines that you are to be
This means that you may have to spend more time doing quality
research to craft an excellent article. This will all pay off in the end when
people are naturally drawn to share your well-written
Link building is a strategy that helps you to gain relationships
with other websites in an organic way. While you create your content, link to
other authoritative websites to credit their source, then send an email to that
website to thank them and ask them for the chance to link to your website as
Every single page on your website should be optimized with the
appropriate keywords, titles, meta descriptions, internal and external linking.
The content should be worded to feel authentic with a few of the keywords
The titles and meta descriptions should
appear natural, yet compelling with the appropriate use of keywords.
By writing articles for a well-known, niche-related, and reputable website, you are then given a chance to naturally have a backlink to your website. This helps the search engines to start seeing your website as reputable and thus, improving your SERP results.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat refers to the use of unethical and aggressive SEO
strategies. This is used as a way to “cheat” the system and
manipulate the search results. Black hat techniques are short term alterations
to the website as a way to sneakily improve the SERP results, by usually taking
advantage of blind spots, limitations, and gaps within the system.
In other words, black hat marketing is hacking the system by
targeting the search bots instead of people to show up on a results page where
the website does not organically belong in.
Black hat marketing is also quite exhausting, as you would have
to continue changing your illegal strategies to keep up with the hundreds of algorithm
changes every year, instead of just posting quality content and watching your
website grow organically with white hat tactics.
Some of the largest Google algorithm techniques that banned a
lot of websites are:
- Penguin Update –
Penalized websites that used illegal linking techniques.
- Florida Update–
Penalized websites that used keyword stuffing techniques.
- Panda Update –
Penalized websites that used content farms.
Benefits (said nobody ever…)
are no black hat benefits. Because no strategy is worth
the risk of being penalized by Google and excluded from the SERP.
For example, let’s say you need a boost of traffic in a short
amount of time, and you ask an SEO specialist to help you. An honest, SEO
specialist that just practices white SEO tactics will tell you that it is just
not possible (hey, that’s us!) Where a black hat SEO manipulator will tell you
that it can be done no problem.
That black hat SEO marketer is just trying to get your money and
could destroy your website’s future. As the saying goes;
“The best place to hide a dead body is in the second page
of the Google search results” – we’re still not sure who came up with
Black Hat Strategies
Black hat strategies change over time because they have to keep
up with the constant algorithm changes. However, there are a few main strategies
that seem to keep going.
Since websites rank by using certain keywords, black hat marketers’
stuff those keywords all over the website. This creates unnatural and awkward
Some keyword stuffing techniques are used by changing the colour of the text and stuffing it behind the background of the website. This will not be seen by the user, it will only be seen by the search engine bots.
With a typical broken website, it will be linked to another website of relative content. However, with a misleading redirect, it will send the user to a page that is completely unrelated to the original website. This is a sneaky technique that will also affect your bounce ratings.
There are numerous link scheme techniques used in black hat
marketing, the most common ones are:
links on Public
Blog Network (PBN) to improve search results and rankings.
goods and services for free in exchange for a link and good review.
automated programs to build links.
Blog spamming is where the black hat marketer will
automatically post links of the blog to multiple discussion websites and other
common message threads in hopes to get people to click on the link.
Now remember kids when engaging with an SEO agency, a little research goes a long way and you want to make sure you stay from ‘cowboys’ like the below.
The Difference Between White Hat vs Black Hat SEO
Both white hat and black hat SEO technique have the same
objective, which is to climb the SERP rankings and show up on the first page of
The main difference between white vs Black Hat SEO is that while
black hat can get quicker rankings, it is very risky and unethical.
Black hat SEO targets the search engine bots, and mostly focuses
on gaining better rankings, while white hat SEO targets a human audience and
focuses on becoming an authentic and reputable website in a niche/industry.
The Verdict: It May Be Time to
Hire a White Hat SEO Specialist
If you have been trying to improve your rankings and have no
idea where to begin, perhaps it is time to hire a white hat SEO specialist who
can help you get there.
It is essential to know that the SEO company you will hire does NOT perform any black hat SEO tactics (like the one we showed above) unless you want to bring down your website with them, but instead, we choose not to participate in that tragedy.
StudioHawk focuses solely on white hat SEO techniques, and
thoroughly understands the difference between white hat vs black hat SEO. Our
specialists are fully experienced to get you the results that you deserve,
without all the risks.
Feel free to reach out for
with any questions or inquiries.