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Black Hat vs White Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO involves activities that are against the policies and norms of search engines. Black hat marketing is unethical, because it places false information for search engines to give websites a higher page ranking. It is difficult for the search engine alone to distinguish when Black Hat SEO is applied. Competitors can play a role by reporting cases of Black Hat Marketing to the search engines that will, in turn, ban or penalize the website. Despite the risk of ban, marketers still can go for black hat SEO, because it helps in boosting up the page location in search results.
Examples of Black hat marketing:
- Keyword Stuffing – keywords can be provided, among others, in Meta tags, alt tags, comment tags, as invisible text to human eyes. By overusing the same keywords throughout a web page, search engines will drive the web page up in search results. There have been algorithm changes made by Google and others to combat these practices, but they are still being used today.
- Doorway and Cloaked Pages – All websites contain pages that are listed in the search results. However, when entering these pages, users are redirected to other pages. Hence, the search result contents do not match the page displayed to users. This practice of cloaking is used to drive users to a page that is no ranked high, by creating a doorway through a high ranked page.
- Link Farming: The process of exchanging reciprocal links with websites in order to increase search engine ranking. The idea behind link farming is to increase the number of sites that link to yours because search engines such as Google rank sites according to, among other things, the quality and quantity of sites that link to yours. In theory, the more sites that link to yours, the higher your ranking in the search engine results will be because the more links indicate a higher level of popularity among users of the Internet. However, search engines such as Google consider link farming as a form of spam when linking to non-content related sites and have been implementing procedures to banish sites that participate in link farming, so the term link farming has garnered negative connotations across the Internet.
- Hidden text – Hiding text in the page or website is also considered as Black Hat SEO technique. This technique is considered as spam and search engine can ban the website. It is the process of hiding key phrases within the website code that only the search engine can see.
White Hat SEO
White Hat marketing applies the White hat SEO techniques, also known as ethical SEO. The White Hat marketing implies that all SEO activities are carried out while conforming to the guidelines, rules and policies of search engines. It is an ethical guideline since all site managers abide to the written, as well as unwritten rules and guidelines for SEO. Some of these guidelines are:
- Providing relevant keywords that cater for short and long tails results
- Updating the content regularly
- Analyzing search results analytics reports and take corrective actions as required
- Providing links to other websites as well as requesting other networks to link to this website
Gray Hat SEO
Gray Hat SEO involves techniques that are in between regulated and unregulated practices. Sites will take lesser risks than White Hat SEO, by disobeying to some of the search engine guidelines, but at the same time ensures limited disobedience, so as not to fail into black hat marketing.
Below is an example of Gray Hat Marketing Click stuffing:
Employees or Companies simulating site visits to improve ranking among search engines.
Google tracks IP addresses and bounce rates (meaning time spent on the site). If Search Engines suspect an advertiser is faking their site visits, it may black list the site for fraudulent ranking.
Continue to use White Hat SEO practices for any of your clients as you have no risk of being penalized by the Search Engine for fraudulent practices such as stuffing keywords and link farming. Additionally this is something that could affect your long term ranking.