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Naughty and Nice: White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO

15 Dec, 2015 McKell Naegle

Has your SEO been naughty or nice this year? Will Google be stuffing your stocking with coal? Whether you are a white hat SEO person or black hatter, we all have the common desire to improve website visibility. Colonel Potter said, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything.” That couldn’t be truer when dealing with search engines. Believe it or not, search engines like Google try to deliver you the best result for your query the first time. Google doesn’t want you to click on a search result, be dissatisfied with it and then return to the search results page.

What is White Hat SEO?

“White hat” SEO implies that you are complying with search engine guidelines when driving traffic to your site and in its optimization. White hat SEO is about long-term sustainability. A white-hatter knows that Google won’t rank a site well unless it deserves to rank well. Because of this, they focus on building value for the visitor. This includes writing content that will actually be helpful for site visitors.

Advantages of White Hat SEO

  • Longer lasting results
  • Better Website with the user in mind
  • Production of high quality content
  • Abides by search engine guidelines

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Disadvantages of White Hat SEO

  • Results aren’t instant
  • Content creation is time consuming

White Hat SEO Techniques

  • Content-based link building
  • Guest blogging
  • Ego bait
  • Broken link building
  • Link reclamation

What is Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO is Dangerous

“Black hat” SEO generally implies that the techniques used to drive traffic to a site are against search engine guidelines and are generally found to be spammy. The instant results that black hat can provide can be extremely appealing. But keep in mind that black hat tactics are risky since search engines do not generally approve of them. When Google finds your manipulative, naughty tactics, you will get penalized so deeply you may not ever recover. That means your site goes from being a hero to a zero.

Advantages of Black Hat SEO

  • Faster results that white hat SEO
  • Generally cheaper
  • Works with current condition of site

Disadvantages of Black Hat SEO

  • When (not if) caught site banned from SERP
  • Short lived results
  • can damage reputation
  • Floods internet with spam

Black Hat SEO Techniques

  • Hidden content
  • Backlinking through spambots
  • Paying for backlinks
  • Using multiple H1 tags on page
  • Doorway pages

Which strategy should you use?

Black hat SEO and White Hat SEO

If you are trying to build a brand with a solid reputation, you should never stray from the white winter path. If you are only in it for the short term with no concern for the longevity of the site or brand, wear that black hat proudly. You will find people on both sides that are firm in their belief that their tactics are better. I would like to hear from you in the comment section—which tactics do you deploy?

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