SEO: White Hat…Grey Hat…Black Hat. What Hat Should I Wear?

search optimization
Why Do I Need SEO For My Business?
August 20, 2018
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SEO: White Hat…Grey Hat…Black Hat. What Hat Should I Wear?

white hat seo - black hat seo

Black and white straw hat on a white background. Two straw hats on a white background. Black and white hat.

Have you ever heard and wondered the difference between the terms White Hat SEO, Grey Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. Just like in old westerns the good guys wore white cowboy hats and the bad guys wore the black cowboy hats. The same goes for SEO of your website.

White Hat SEO: (the good guys) refers to adhering to all search engine’s policies that assit you in improving your search performance on the SERPS (search engine results page). For instance Google has its own White Hat techniques that SEO’s should follow that are on Googles self-published guidelines.

Here are examples of White Hat tactics:

  • Using keywords correctly
  • Back-linking ethically
  • Link building for your topic
  • Writing quality content that focuses on relevancy
  • Organic ranking
  • Technical SEO

Black Hat SEO: (the bad guys) are tactics that are frowned upon techniques that try to increase page rankings in a SERP by going against the guidelines that the search engines laid out for you in their terms of service. These Black Hat tactics often end in a penalty from search engines or even kicked off.

Some Black Hat techniques are:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Using unrelated keywords in page content
  • Invisible text
  • Page swapping
  • Article Spinning
  • Buying backlinks
  • Using private linking networks
  • Comment Spamming

Now come Grey Hat SEO: is this SEO practice “good” or is it “bad” by search engine published guidelines. Usually Grey Hat SEO, is just Black masquerading as White. It is the practice of using technically legal SEO methods to improve your site rankings, but which are not really ethical.

Grey Hat SEO examples:

  • Using your comment box to keyword stuff
  • Fake news or Click bait
  • Using negative SEO
  • Negative reviews against competitor
  • Link chaining sites
  • Pay people to review your site

Of course using White Hat SEO techniques is preferable over Black Hat. White hat is ethical and sustainable. While Black Hat practices are effective, but extremely risky and can cause your site to be banned in the SERPS.