White Hat SEO definition

White Hat and Black Hat SEO
September 30, 2020 – 10:03 pm

This guide covers the differences between White Hat, Grey Hat and Black Hat search engine optimisation explaining how each one uses the various factors (such as links, coding, etc) in the search engine optimisation process.

At a top level it's important to understand that search engines like Google have terms of use. If you break these your website can loose it's ranking or even be banned.

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO

This is the "honest" approach to optimising a website and the general principle is to try and be liked by the search engines.

The overall strategy is to create a well coded website for search engines to read and understand and then (optionally) to mimic what should happen normally for pages that human users like.

So, for example, if a user found a website and decided it was interesting they may write an article about it, discuss it on a forum or mention it in their blog. White Hat seeks to accelerate this process by writing articles, entering forum discussions or blogging as separate people to the website itself.

The idea is to create enough "buzz" about the website to get the momentum rolling after which normal users will begin creating further links. However, if the site is not generally popular, search engine optimisation will have to be carried out on a continuous basis to maintain an impression that it is popular.

White Hat SEO Costs
Quality White Hat search engine optimisation, even for a small site with a few pages, can require a four figure budget as it is extremely time consuming and has to be done by humans.

Grey Hat SEO

There are two main views as to what Grey Hat actually is:

  • It is the "shadey" approach which does not break any search engine rules but bends them to say the least.
  • An example might be paid links. You are trying to fool the search engines into thinking your website is popular because links appear in a variety of places around the internet. However these are not links added by other webmasters who genuinely like your site, they are being paid to do so.

    Grey Hat can often be considered as the Black Hat of tomorrow. Sometimes the only reason something is not Black Hat is because the search engine algorithms haven't figured out a way to spot it ... yet.

    Grey Hat SEO Costs
    Grey Hat is cheaper than White Hat but the results don't tend to last as long because search engines spot patterns (such as paid links) and reduce your ranking. As such Grey Hat can be seen as useful for a short term campaign like a competition where long term rankings are not important.

  • Black Hat SEO

    This is the "illegal" approach which breaks search engine rules but tries to hide this fact so the website is not banned.

    An example could be a "doorway page" which is a website page optimised for a specific keyword that then redirects the user to a different page which has nothing to do with that keyword.

    Traffic stats
    Source: howtoseo.link2light.com
    Popular Q&A
    What is White Hat SEO?

    White hat SEO refers to specific techniques and methods in optimizing a web site for search engines to read them. White hat is the opposite of black hat SEO.

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