SEO: Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic.
The SEO industry has adopted the same phrasing in relation to SEO activity.
- White hat SEO.
- Black hat SEO.
- Gray hat SEO.
What Is White Hat SEO?
White hat SEO means following the “rules”. Simply, you use only ethical tactics and follow search engine guidelines.
What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO means using risky practices. You use tactics that can (and, let’s be honest, do) work. Until they don’t. These range from using tactics that go against guidelines from search engines to more dangerous activities (which can lead to manual actions).
What Is Gray Hat SEO?
- It’s a mixture of white hat and black hat techniques.
- It’s a tactic that is currently either white or black hat but changes to the ways search engines work could become the opposite in the future.
- Both of these definitions have a commonality.
Gray hat SEO is neither black hat nor white hat, but something in the middle.
Either transitioning between the two, or a mixture of the two.
What Is Good & Bad Practice in SEO?
The only rules we have to go on in SEO are the ones given to us by the search engines.
At the end of the day, it is their platform.
Search engines get to decide what conditions must be met to feature on it.
The algorithms used by the major search engines have been developed over the years to combat obvious and unhelpful manipulation of the search results.
They are there to catch websites that go against the spirit of the ranking systems.
Google is well known for having quite clear webmaster guidelines that are used by SEO professionals to identify what could land a website in hot water if discovered.
Google calls our attention to the “Quality Guidelines”, those that denote “the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior”.
In these guidelines, we see mention of activities like “cloaking”, “doorway pages”, and “scraped content”.
The guidelines directly related to the changes in Google’s algorithms over the years.
Penguin, Panda, and Payday all included measures to lessen the presence of websites in the SERPs that don’t follow the guidelines.
The Difference Between Black Hat , White Hat , Gray Hat
The core difference between black hat and white hat SEO is whether you are working in the spirit of the search engines’ guidelines.
There may be nuances to the guidelines that you find unclear, but are you working to meet the guidelines or get around them?
White Hat SEO
- It follows SEO guidelines.
- It helps in growth in ranking of websites.
- It not much risker.
- It makes your site easy to navigate.
- It is safe and recommended SEO techniques.
- It is mobile friendly.
- It provides site security.
- It also provides UX design.
- It includes standard HTML
- It is best approaching tactics for driving traffic to a site.
Black Hat SEO
- Automatically generated content
- Participating in link schemes
- Creating pages with little or no original content
- Sneaky redirects
- Hidden text or links
- Doorway pages
- Scraped content
- Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value
- Loading pages with irrelevant keywords
- Creating pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware
- Abusing rich snippets markup
- Sending automated queries to Google
Gray Hat SEO
- It also follows SEO guidelines.
- It helps in conversion from White Hat SEO to Black Hat SEO and vice versa.
- Gray hat SEO is much more risker than White Hat SEO.
- It redesigns your websites at regular intervals.
- It is between Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO.
- It is risky but it can improve the ranking of your site without negative consequences.
- It adds a good relevant link to the page.
- It selects a good and notable topic.
- It is also called a computer security expert who may sometimes violate laws or typical standards.
- It is also the best approaching tactic for driving traffic to a site.
It’s not just in their definitions that black, white, and gray hat techniques differ. It’s in their risks and rewards too.
Implementing black, white, or gray hat techniques all carries risks.
Risk they Carry
Black hat techniques have a clear risk of manual actions.
White hat techniques run the risk of not working.
Gray hat techniques have the risk of being penalized in the future.
Black hat techniques might be effective in the short term.
White hat techniques have a greater chance of standing the test of time.
Gray hat techniques might fall under more scrutiny from the search engines over time which could reduce their effectiveness.
Conclusion: In My Opinion, White Hat SEO is the Safest Route for any website in the Long Run.
Happy Searching 🙂