As we know, Search Engine Optimization, popularly known as SEO, is the process of boosting a website’s traffic and rankings on search engines. It is one of the most important and effective ways to increase a site’s popularity and visibility online.
All online businesses and platforms are using SEO as one of the various techniques to have their sites rank high up on search engines. However, considering the broad spectrum of search engine optimization, it is possible to understand it better by looking at the three different types of SEO techniques.
These SEO practices vary greatly in nature. As a digital marketing specialist, it is imperative that you understand these three types of SEO methods and their impact on your website. Some practices will harm your site by dragging its ranking down while others will deliver positive results in the long. So, without further ado, let us dig in.
White Hat SEO
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As the name suggests, white hat SEO is the good guy in the world of search engine optimization. This method of optimization includes using strategies and techniques that are directed towards the user experience rather than search engines. In other words, the idea here is to make the website primarily for users, not for search engines.
Another important aspect here is that white hat SEO practices completely adhere to the search engine rule and policies. You rank the websites using these legitimate techniques, without breaking the rules. In the case of Google, for example, white hat SEO techniques will be the ones which follow the Google Webmasters Guidelines.
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The most critical aspect of white hat SEO is publishing high quality, in-depth content for the people. This is then to be combined with other features such as keyword research, natural and good quality backlinks, descriptive meta description and keyword-oriented meta tags, user readability and experience, optimization for mobile phones, and more such practices.
This type of technique should most definitely be adopted. While it may take some time to deliver the results here, you will see a steady and long-lasting growth in your rankings.
Black Hat SEO
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Just like a lot of things in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to boost a site’s traffic on search engines. As you might have guessed by now, black hat SEO practice is the wrong way.
Black hat SEO is like the evil brother white hat SEO. The objective here is the same as earlier – to bring up a site’s ranking in the search results, although the practices employed here are against the guidelines released by the search engines.
The tactics employed here, which are considered to be highly unethical, will most definitely result in penalties from search engines. In many cases, websites and affiliates resorting to these tactics have even been banned from the engines.
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In contrast to white hat SEO that focuses on user experience, black hat SEO is centred more around gaming the algorithms employed by search engines.But these disapproved practices will quickly bring up a site’s ranking in the results. However, search engine algorithms have evolved with time and have become sophisticated enough to detect sites which are engaged in such methods.
One of the most common black hat SEO practices is using automatically generated content for web pages. This kind of content is generated using specialised software and often contain search keywords, although the text itself does not make any sense. In addition to this, you have other practices like link buying, cloaking, using scraped content, et cetera.
As such, it is strongly advised to avoid using black hat SEO practices.
Grey Hat SEO
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Grey hat SEO is sort of like a compromise between white hat and black hat SEO practices. Truth to be told, it is quite tricky to define grey hat SEO. However, to make things simple, you can think of it to be a set of practices which are technically legal but can be considered to be ethically wrong and questionable. This is because of a lack of published guidelines on these methods which, in turn, makes the practitioners employ such tactics.
It is important to note that grey hat SEO practices change periodically. This means that what is considered to be grey hat SEO now may, in fact, turn out to be black hat SEO tomorrow. The reason for this lies in the inherent nature of search engine algorithms – the moment they detect that you are breaking the rules, they will take steps to prevent them from happening in the future. Therefore, your grey hat SEO trick is now deemed to be black hat.
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For this reason, it is crucial to be updated with the latest developments and updates regarding the search engines guidelines. Furthermore, in order to truly excel at grey hat SEO, one needs to be highly creative. To put it in a different analogy, think of it like breaking the law, without actually breaking it. While this may sound pretty cool, remember that it is just like playing with fire – one mistake and you will hurt yourself or, in this case, your website.
For example, link buying scheme is considered to be black hat by Google webmaster’s guidelines. However, if you are able to do it without getting caught, then no one is the wiser. Similarly, you have other tactics like cloaking, content spinning, purchasing old domains, et cetera. As you can see, many of these grey hat practices overlap with those seen in black hat SEO.
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As a rule of thumb, you should not engage in the grey hat and black hat SEO practices. Yes, granted that these methods bring in massive traffic in a short span of time, although the price paid for it is not worth it. Let us face it – there is nothing to gain from being on the bad side of Google.
Even if you are unsure whether a particular practice will violate the guidelines, it is better to leave it and stick to what you know the best. Remember – the best websites are always the ones which are engaged only in white hat SEO practices. Good luck!