What Are They
If you’re starting to get your feet wet in the world of SEO you might come across the terms white hat SEO, and black hat SEO. Though simple terminology, they carry a lot of meaning behind them.
White hat SEO includes strategy and techniques that follow the rules and guidelines of search engines like Google. Black hat SEO is the exact opposite. Those who practice black hat SEO break the rules and try to “cheat the system.”
Their names are a reference to the old cowboy movies. The good guys used to wear white hats. The bad guys wore black hats.
But why do some people choose one or the other? And which method should you stick to?
Black Hat SEO
First, we will look at black hat SEO. Those who practice it believe they can get around the guidelines of the search engines. They think they can trick them into ranking their website and products higher.
And a lot of times, they are correct. There are many internet marketers who are successful with black hat SEO. In fact, there are scores of forums, information products, and online communities dedicated strictly to black hat SEO.
Black hat SEO methods include methods like private blog networks, keyword stuffing, spam blogs, bait and switch pages, cloaking, and duplicate content to name a few. The list is much larger.
Sometimes, black hat SEO allows for much quicker rankings. It can also be cheaper.
So if black hat SEO has all of these advantages, why doesn’t everyone do it?
The answer: because it is very risky. Search engines get smarter every day, and they catch on to black hat SEO little by little.
Your website could be at the top of the rankings using black hat techniques. But a new Google update meant to eliminate your tactics can penalize you and wipe out your business overnight.
It has happened before. Google updates like ‘Penguin’ and ‘Panda’ have destroyed multi-million dollar businesses in the blink of an eye.
In black hat SEO, what works today may not work tomorrow.
As a result, black hat SEO is almost always focused on the short term. It has a limited shelf life.
White Hat SEO
On the other hand, white hat SEO is a much longer term strategy.
With white hat SEO, you are focusing on great content. Content that is useful, and that readers get real value out of.
That means content that helps readers solve their problems. Content that informs them on what they need to know.
Another tenet of white hat SEO is strong, non-spammy backlinks. Backlinks generated through guest posts and social shares. These indicate to search engines that your content, and your website, is valuable.
There are many other factors that contribute to white hat SEO. Too many to list here. But there are some down sides.
White hat SEO requires time. Good rankings don’t come overnight. They are the result of consistency and quality in your content. It may take months for your website, or even individual pages on your website to rank.
Time is money, so white hat SEO can also be more expensive. It requires more content writers for your blog, more server time before you get any results.
It can also be frustrating to put in a lot of work without seeing any results for a while.
Which is Best
So which should you choose, white hat or black hat SEO?
You are free to make up your own mind, but I would highly recommend sticking to white hat SEO.
Because it is what professionals do. It is what works long term.
If you are consistent, create strong value, and don’t break the rules you are almost guaranteed good rankings and consistent traffic.
In fact, white hat SEO is one of the biggest trends in the industry.
Not just today, but tomorrow. By sticking with white hat SEO you can build an online business that can last for years!
You don’t have to worry about penalties or Google updates. You know your content is good, and that you provide value. It is in the best interest of the search engines to give you good rankings.
It’s a win-win relationship.
If you utilize black hat methods, you might have some short term success. But your business will always be in peril.
After all, Google is one of the largest and most innovative companies in the world. Their search engine gets smarter and smarter by the month!
Thinking that you can outsmart them forever is a poor gamble. It could result in you losing your entire business.
Learning and implementing white hat SEO methods is the best way to ensure success online. It might take time and effort, but anything worth doing takes time and effort. And the rewards far outweigh the costs.
Which do you prefer, white hat or black hat SEO?