Unlike paid ads, search engine optimisation is anything but straightforward. With the number of different strategies involved and constant competition, it’s easy to see why some people prefer to take shortcuts – especially when you factor in an ever-changing search algorithm. In today’s blog on ‘The difference between white hat and black hat SEO, we thought we’d break down some of the common strategies used with white hat black hat SEO and explain why crafting a careful SEO strategy is better than breaking the rules.
We’ll also touch on the less commonly used term, ‘grey hat SEO’ which involves using a mix of white hat black hat SEO techniques.
Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat SEO
Blackhat SEO refers to using underhand tactics to trick a search engine into ranking a website higher. Basically, anything that violates Google’s terms of service can be considered black hat SEO, and if flagged, a website can suffer severe penalisations. The most common black hat SEO techniques include:
This is undoubtedly one of the most common blackhat SEO techniques used, as it’s a simple yet effective way to quickly rank – that is, before Google catches you of course. If a user searches a term such as ‘cat collars’, a search engine will try and match the user with a website that mentions that keyword. With a whitehat SEO technique, keywords will be placed on the website through web content and blogs and dispersed in a way that’s readable and grammatically correct. Black hat techniques, on the other hand, would involve placing a high number of keywords in short-form content or in ways that are unreadable to users.
Like keyword stuffing, hidden text refers to keywords that have been hidden on a website – such as an unreadable font or words the same colour as the web page background. This is to get the attention of a crawler, without having placing text that seems oddly placed or unreadable to a viewer.
Ever seen strange comments on blogs that link back to a website? That’s an example of manipulative link building. Spam comments are a surefire to get penalised by Google, and not only can it affect your ranking, but it also makes your business look dodgy.
Essentially, the biggest difference between white hat and black hat SEO is that blackhat SEO aims to put search engines first, instead of users.
Search engines want to deliver users the best quality, keyword related content possible, which is why creating quality content is so important. This means long-form, well-written content with well-placed keywords.
Optimised Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions refer to the HTML code in the header of webpages, which help crawlers to quickly understand what the page is about. As part of the keyword research strategy, title tags and meta descriptions should contain the target keyword used on the webpage
Fast Page Loading Times
A website that loads quickly is important for search engine rankings, as visitors will quickly leave a site that takes too long to load. There are plenty of reasons why a website may be slow, which include bad web servers, too many plug-ins or large media files. From a technical whitehat SEO standpoint, getting your site SSL certified and loading quickly should be the first thing fixed. You can read more about reducing bounce rate in our article here.
Grey Hat SEO Techniques
As you can guess, great hat SEO uses a mix of both white hat black hat SEO. Some businesses may opt to use grey hat SEO techniques to stay below the radar without having to make too much effort. The idea of grey hat SEO is that a website may avoid suspicion if only a small amount of black hat SEO is used, rather than predominately using all underhanded methods.
Some examples of grey hat SEO techniques include:
Careful Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is never an advised tactic, but grey hat SEO techniques aim to do it in a way that’s not so obvious. This might involve using a keyword four to five times in 600 words, as opposed to a black hat method of using the same keyword 20 times.
As Google favours updated content, upgrading web content or existing blogs with more keyword placement is a great way to boost SEO. This might involve simply optimising with keywords or extending content to reach a higher word count.
Interested to learn more?
We hope our article on the difference between white hat and black hat SEO has been informative. If you’d like to improve your website’s rankings but don’t know where to start, be sure to get in touch with Resurge Digital today by calling 1300 659 035 or emailing [email protected] and one of our Brisbane SEO experts will be in touch shortly.