White Hat vs Black Hat SEO

Cheryl Luzet - 30 November 2015

If you have been investigating the best ways to optimise your site recently you may have come across two rather mysterious terms ‘White Hat SEO’ and ‘Black Hat SEO’. If you are not familiar with the SEO industry these phrases can be quite confusing and many people have confessed to us that they have no idea what they really mean!

The terms are actually useful descriptions of the different types of SEO providers that you may come across when looking to improve your website’s ranking in the search engines. Making the right decisions about how you achieve your online SEO is vital for small businesses so here’s our guide to what Black Hat and White Hat SEO strategies involve and the different ways that they can affect your site.

Black Hat SEO – and why it won’t work for your website…

So is Black Hat SEO quite as dastardly as it sounds? The simple answer is yes – it really can be! Black Hat SEO refers to companies who appear to prioritise quick wins but who actually provide poor quality tactics that are unsustainable and damaging to your business. These unethical approaches are looked upon negatively by the search engines and, whilst they may lead to a short-term boost for your page rank, in the long run they could actually lead to your website getting a penalty which could put your whole business in danger.

Here are the key things that a Black Hat SEO may do:

Provide lots of low quality and spammy links to your site.

You may have heard that getting links to your pages from other sites can help your website by providing ‘link juice’ whereby your site picks up some of the authority of other websites that link to it. Of course this is great if it’s a high authority site which is relevant to your industry. However the trouble with Black Hat SEO is that the links it provides focus on quantity far more than quality. This means that you may end up getting links to your site from low authority sites that actually have nothing to do with your product or service. This type of SEO can often use link farms or spammy sites to provide links to your site. Google  can easily recognise the links from these low authority websites and will penalise you if it looks unnatural. If Google perceives your site as spammy then you may receive a penalty and see your website slipping down the page rankings.

Keyword Stuffing

We all know how important content is on your site. However Black Hat SEO can focus on stuffing your pages with keywords so that the text can become pretty much unreadable for your users. They might also try some underhand tricks such as hiding keywords in the page. Of course if your content looks unnatural this can be extremely off putting for customers – and they won’t come back again!

White Hat SEO – and why it’s the best choice for your business…

At Wagada we wear the White Hat for our SEO (and we think it looks far more stylish!). We know that our White Hat techniques are the way forward if you want a sustainable, ethical and long-term strategy for online success.

When you choose White Hat SEO you know that you will get high quality links and a focus on fantastic content. You can also be reassured that you won’t be in any danger of getting on the wrong side of Google. Indeed, Wagada is a Google Partner, which gives us a unique insight into Google’s accepted practices and regular support and updates from our Google Account Manger.

The search engines love White Hat techniques, and by using this method for your SEO you know you will always be kept up to date with the latest Google algorithms so that your site can be totally responsive to what the search engines want to see.

White Hat SEO has a dual purpose – not only will you see an increase in your rankings, you will also be building a website that your customers love. Everything that we do at Wagada puts the customer first, and if you are keeping the customer happy, then you know that Google will appreciate your hard work too.

Here are the key things that White Hat SEO may do:

Write great content that users will love

We know that great content will keep your users coming back so we focus on helping you provide fresh, interesting and appropriate content on your site. By adding quality content to the website you impress Google and engage your audience. Lots of content gives you more opportunities to rank for a larger number of phrases.

Develop high quality links and build strong relationships with online influencers

White Hat SEO focuses on getting links to your sites from relevant businesses such as industry bloggers or complimentary businesses to yours. They will also help you to build positive relationships with key online influencers on social media to encourage people to share your links online and boost your profile via Facebook and Twitter.

So you can see that although it may be tempting to go with the risky Black Hat strategy if you are in search of a quick rise in the rankings, it is actually quite a dangerous path to take. You could end up with an unprofessional looking site that puts customers off and the low quality links could even lead to a Google penalty and a fall down the rankings. We believe it is far better to put on the White Hat and work on developing a strong, high quality approach that will give your site a firm base to grow from and will provide a long term SEO strategy that the search engines will love!