White Hat & Black Hat SEO Techniques. What Is the Difference?

May 27, 2022

Key points

  • SEO can help or hinder your website’s success, depending on which technique you choose.
  • It is crucial to understand the difference between white hat and black hat SEO. Using black hat SEO tactics can result in a penalty from search engines, significantly hurting your SERP ranking in the long run.
  • Black hat SEO can provide results at first, but it’s a short-term strategy. It also may lead to a website being removed entirely from the Google index.
  • A qualified SEO agency like NUOPTIMA utilises only white hat SEO tactics to grow your website, providing you with long-term results and excluding all risks of being penalised by Google.

Search engine optimisation has been rising in recent years, with 67% of digital marketers citing it as the most efficient content marketing tactic. Due to increased online competition during a pandemic, the importance of SEO has skyrocketed, demonstrating it’s crucial more than ever to create a strong brand presence for your business online. When done effectively, SEO can boost the organic traffic to your website, helping it rank higher in searches and ultimately grow your business.

Why Understanding the Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat SEO is Crucial?

There are various approaches to practising effective SEO, and it can seem overwhelming to figure out which one should be prioritised. There is a fine line between playing around with SEO tactics that work for your website and manipulating search engine algorithms to improve your rankings. The difference between “good” and “bad” SEO practices is known as White Hat and Black Hat SEO.

Black Hat SEO techniques may bring you short-term results, but that doesn’t mean they will set your website up for a solid future. Understanding the difference between white hat and black hat SEO can help you in your long-term SEO goals. By learning the difference between these techniques, you’ll be able to lay a strong foundation for your brand and avoid the risk of earning a Google penalty coming with some black hat SEO tactics.

What Is Black Hat SEO?

Google is pretty clear about what you shouldn’t do, and black hat SEO is about breaking all these rules. Black hat SEO includes tactics to rank a website by manipulating search engine algorithms. This optimisation approach may work at first, depending on what tactic you’re using, but it’s more of a short-term strategy.

Google and other search engines regularly update their algorithms and clarify which types of practices go against their terms and the potential outcomes if you violate their guidelines. Using black hat SEO tactics may penalise your website, which means lower-ranking positions and a significant decline in organic traffic. We collected some tactics indicating black hat SEO and things to avoid and keep in mind when optimizing your sites.

7 Black SEO Tactics to Avoid

While many of the basics of SEO are clear white hat strategies, many of the more advanced tactics require more attention to detail. If you’re just getting started in SEO, make sure you follow the right advice. Some recommended tactics may sound like “advanced” strategies, although, in reality, they may lead you toward black hat techniques. Learning about tactics that could spell disaster for your website can make it easier for you to spot them and stay away.

Keyword Stuffing

Black hat SEO aims at manipulating search engine algorithms and should be avoided when looking for positive long-term results

Repeating the page’s main target keywords excessively and unnaturally won’t help you rank. Moreover, it will almost certainly result in the opposite. Keyword stuffing often occurs in random text blocks which are outside of the main content and make no sense when read aloud.

Hidden Text

The hidden text is the same colour as a web page’s background and can’t be visible to the viewer. Sometimes, the text may also be written in a font size of zero. It is commonly implemented by black hat SEO techniques to sneak extra text or add keywords to the webpage to appeal to search engines. Hidden text is a deceptive strategy as search engine crawlers are far more sophisticated now and can quickly understand you’re trying to cram in keywords.

Manipulative Links

Link schemes are one of the most common forms of black hat SEO. Black Hat SEOs hide links into various parts of their sites even when they add no value to their content to rank higher. Manipulative links can also be physically hidden by using a zero font size or matching the web page’s background colour.

Cloaking

This black hat SEO tactic involves serving different content or URLs to search engines and users, providing a different experience for each. Cloaking aims to rank a page based on content created for search engines while pointing users to something different. This tactic worked for a while because some sites needed to show search engines what was on the website, but now it is a clear violation of search engine rules.

Automatically Generated Content

Great content remains one of Google’s top 3 search ranking factors, and creating it isn’t an easy task. A common black hat technique is to generate the content automatically to rank for a large number of keywords. For example, people may use automatic programs to change words in an article (spinning) to create unique content with similar keywords and intent as the original article.

Misleading Redirects

Using redirects is a common part of SEO, and there’s nothing wrong with this. However, similarly to the cloaking tactic, sneaky redirects can be placed by black hat SEOs to deceive search engines and display content that is different from what users see. Often, the search engine indexes the source page, and users navigate to another destination URL.

Negative SEO

Not all black hat SEO tactics are aimed at targeting the website that a marketer is trying to rank. Some people also use negative SEO to reduce their competitors’ rankings by using tactics that violate Google’s guidelines on someone else’s website. For example, they may place many unnatural links to someone else’s domain in the hope that they will be penalised for this.

What is White Hat SEO?

The white hat SEO technique is the exact opposite of black hat SEO. This term is used to describe SEO strategies that function within search engine rules and users’ expectations. White hat SEO means implementing techniques to improve a website’s rankings on SERPS without using various tricks to undermine search engine algorithms. These SEO strategies provide website visitors with relevant, high-quality content without any spammy techniques.

White Hat SEO Techniques. How to Rank by the Rules?

White hat SEO benefits everyone. Google makes sure that its algorithms rank only great content that matches the user’s intent for each keyword search because it encourages millions of internet users to use this search engine. Website owners benefit from white hat SEO as they can boost their ranking without going against the search engine rules. Finally, users benefit because they can quickly find what they’re looking for through organic search.

White hat SEO tactics used by NUOPTIMA can help build your business and website’s reputation on solid ground and achieve long-term results. A high ranking of a website on Google means reaching 86% of Internet users worldwide, so we’ve put together some white hat SEO strategies that can help you succeed with your business.

White hat SEO tactics used by NUOPTIMA can help build your website’s reputation on solid ground and achieve long-term results

Quality Content

High-quality content is used by 86% of marketing teams as the main lead generator, remaining one of the primary driving forces of successful SEO. When choosing the white hat SEO technique, make sure your content is relevant and authoritative and includes keywords relevant to users’ search queries. Keyword-rich page titles and metadata are also mandatory for effective white hat SEO.

Lean Code

Together with a semantically-structured markup language, lean code helps search engines find what they’re looking for when crawling your website.

Simple Website Navigation

This white hat SEO technique improves your website rankings and helps visitors quickly and easily find what they need.

Mobile Optimisation

In 2021, 56% of worldwide traffic used smartphones to access the internet. It means if your website isn’t well optimised for a smartphone, you’re losing a lot of potential leads, as most of them won’t stay if they can’t comfortably navigate your website.

Fast Page Loading Times

This white hat SEO tactic is also a necessity as, like simple navigation and mobile optimisation, responsive websites allow visitors quickly and easily get the information they need. Moreover, slow responding websites generally rank lower in SERPs.

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FAQs

What is black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO techniques include tactics that may improve a website’s SERP rankings but are unethical and violate search engines’ rules. This strategy carries a high risk of being penalised by search engines.
What is white hat SEO?
White hat SEO includes strategies that function within Google’s guidelines and improve a website ranking without undermining the search engine algorithms. This optimisation technique carries no risk of being penalised by Google or other search engines.
What are black hat SEO techniques?
Black hat SEO tactics may include: Keyword stuffing; Hidden text; Cloaking; Automatically generated content; Manipulative links.
Which hat is good for SEO?
White hat SEO delivers relevant content, clicks, higher visibility, and long-term results. On the other hand, black SEO entails risks of being penalised, website shutdowns, dissatisfying user experience, and a loss of conversion opportunities. White hat SEO strategies used by NUOPTIMA are considered the most effective way to improve your rankings without worrying about getting penalised.
What are black hat SEO risks?
Black hat SEO can negatively impact your search rankings and visibility. It won’t drive long-term effects and typically results in poor user experience. Moreover, there is a high risk of being penalised by search engines for violating their guidelines.


By: Viktor Bartak

Head of SEO

Linkedin

Viktor Bartak has received a Master of Science degree in nuclear physics. He uses his scientific background and approaches to data analytics in search engine optimization. In 2007, he started his career in SEO working on his own projects, and began taking on clients in 2012. Throughout his career, he has worked with over 250 websites, optimized and consulted large international marketplaces, online stores, and corporate, B2B, and B2C websites.

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