Marketing Monday Newsletter #12, Black Hat SEO Versus White Hat SEO

What is Black Hat Versus White Hat SEO?

Black Hat Versus White Hat SEO Explained

Black Hat and White Hat SEO are, in many ways, two sides of the same coin within the digital marketing purse. These terms refer to the approaches to search engine optimization and the impact they can have on your digital performance. When working with professionals, these can be important terms to know, as it allows you to understand the benefits of optimization or the damage improper methods could do.

Read on to find out more about these digital terms.


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White Hat

The first thing to take a look at is the term itself. In short, it refers to the correct, ethical way to optimize a website. This means it needs to meet certain criteria to present your site as a reliable, valuable piece of content to serve users. 

Initially, your site must follow search engine guidelines. The most widely-accepted definition of this approach follows Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This practice focuses on your users as a human audience. It involves making changes entirely beneficial to a site’s visitors and the general experience.

When you consider that Google’s top priority is to provide its users with the best possible results, it makes sense that the experience is a focal point of the overall strategy. It takes a long-term approach.

Strategies that follow Google’s guidelines and create a positive user experience (White Hat methods) are often more time and work-intensive than Black Hat methods. This means that it will take time to see the results you want.  On the flip side, White Hat SEO also has a much more lasting impact without potential loss of progress due to Google or other search engine penalties.


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Black Hat

Black Hat optimization is essentially the exact opposite. If a tactic meets the other end of the criteria, it will more than likely hurt your chances of performing well online. If it violates search engine guidelines in general, it will hurt your chances of gaining any value for your pages. 

Black Hat tactics violate Google’s guidelines and, in many cases, are directly linked to poor-performing websites across the internet. Often these practices can be so harmful that it is better to start a new site than to try and rejuvenate an old one. 

Black Hat methods rely on manipulative tactics that do not properly represent the content or the site’s value, manipulating Google’s algorithm to improve rankings. 

An example of Black Hat SEO includes Keyword stuffing. This involves stuffing a web page and web content in general full of a specific Keyword or words repeatedly in an effort to get the search engines to identify that page for that term. Quite aside from annoying your readers, the problem is that Google’s algorithms will recognize the over-stuffing and ignore or penalize the page instead of improving it’s rankings.

Another example we have experienced over the years, include companies that add excessive Backlinks with little to no industry relevance. Low quality, spammy backlinks become toxic to your website, and you could be penalized for it.  In the past, companies would pay for literally hundreds or thousands of irrelevant backlinks. These can take up many, many hours and a ton of work to remove and disavow. 

Simply put, if a tactic is designed to make Google think that a site provides more value to its users than it does, you can consider that to be part of the Black Hat category.

There are a number of other irregular “solutions” supposed to build up your search ranking. One test you can use to gauge an action is that if it seems unusual, it probably is. If your results shoot up to the moon suddenly, you’ll want to check into it for validity and a meeting of proper guidelines.  Google likes to see a natural progression of linking, content additions, code fixes, and more, built up over time, and they reward this progress. 


White Hat and Black Hat SEO can be the practices that make or break your performance online. 

Without professional insight, you cannot implement the right practices and achieve the goals you need to achieve.


Call me today to find out more about the best practices. 

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Louie Pateropoulos
Book your free Strategy Chat with Senior Partner,
Louie Pateropoulos.

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