SEO: Black hat vs White hat

Written by: Jason Bayless | June 12, 2015

Those who are attempting to create a web presence or otherwise make a living online may have heard of the terms white hat and black hat. White hat SEO tactics refer to any legitimate strategy aimed at helping yourself gain visibility for your content or anything else that you may have to offer. Black hat tactics are often shady and may even be illegal. Let’s take a look at the difference between common white hat and black hat tactics.

Strategy: Acquiring Links to Improve Search Rank

White Hat Tactic- Network with Bloggers and Create Content Worth Sharing

Google will often consider a site with a lot of backlinks as an authority or expert on the topic that the site covers. However, the quality of those backlinks matters as well. By networking with other bloggers, using social media and creating good content, a site can get natural quality backlinks that come with being a trusted source of information.

Black Hat Tactic-Buy or Trade Links or Scrape Content

Instead of trying to earn links by creating good content, a black hat SEO tactic is to simply buy links to a site. While this used to work in years past, Google and other search engines have become privy to the practice and no longer allow it to occur. Those who buy or trade links may not have their content indexed for people to find. Additionally, those who scrape content for their blogs may face DMCA complaints or even face criminal charges for their actions.

Strategy: Submitting Articles to Article Directories

White Hat Tactic: Creating Unique Articles and Submitting Them Naturally

Submitting articles to article directories is a valid way of getting more backlinks to your content. This is done by allowing others to post your content on their own sites and providing a link back to your site or other online property. The more articles that are submitted, the better the odds that more backlinks will be created. White hat SEOs will create or purchase unique articles and submit them one at a time in an effort to boost their online presence.

Black Hat Tactic: Creating One Article, Spinning It and Submitting by Robot

The black hat SEO doesn’t care about the quality of content being submitted. Instead, all he or she wants is the backlinks and the ability to post ads on a variety of different pieces of content. Therefore, the black hat SEO will purchase one article and spin it before submitting it to hundreds of article directories automatically. In some cases, they will request an article but send it back for revision before accepting it. In the meantime, they will copy-and-paste the first draft to their own computer and pay nothing for it.

Strategy: Outranking Competitors Online

White Hat Tactic: Creating New Content Based on Relevant Keywords

White hat SEOs will try to push out the competition by having better content that is targeted specifically to their audience. Through quality and targeted content, they will rank higher than the competition and get more clicks without breaking any ethical rules.

Black Hat Tactic: Negative SEO

The black hat SEO will post false complaints, negative articles and other information that could harm the reputation of a competitor. They may also decide to fraudulently click on a competitor’s ads and drain their ad budget without getting any legitimate traffic. When a customer searches for a company’s competitor, they will see this negative information and may not see the organization’s advertisements.

Knowing the difference between white hat and black hat SEO tactics can help you create an online content strategy that does not break any written or unwritten rules. If you act in a responsible manner, there is a good chance that you can become a trusted online source and reap the benefits that come with that reputation.