Are you aware of what type of search engine optimization (SEO) practices you are using for your website content? SEO is an integral tool to improve the quality of your content and help you drive website traffic. When ranking is your top-most priority, it’s important to know the difference between white hat SEO & black hat SEO.
SEO has diverged into two types, namely ‘White Hat SEO’ and ‘Black Hat SEO’ according to the Google Search Essentials (previously known as Google Webmaster’s Guidelines). This basically means that if you want to rank higher on Google, then you have to follow good SEO practices. Bear in mind that Google has nearly 90 billion visitors monthly with almost 8.5 billion searches each day.
With multiple websites popping up every day over the digital space, it’s important to understand good and bad SEO practices that need to be incorporated into the content. Let’s dive into the topic of white hat SEO vs black hat SEO to draft their differences.
To set the pace of this comprehensive blog for drafting the difference between white hat SEO & black hat SEO, let’s first understand what these two terms mean, as of 2023.
Defining White Hat SEO & Black Hat SEO
White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO are two different approaches to search engine optimization. The key difference between White Hat SEO and black hat SEO is that white hat SEO follows the guidelines and rules set by search engines to optimize a website, while Black Hat SEO uses techniques that violate search engine guidelines to achieve higher rankings in search results.
White Hat SEO: The Ethical SEO
“White Hat SEO”, put in the simplest way, refers to the correct and the ethical way to optimize a website. It assists in improving a site’s search engine results page (SERP) ranking. To give an example, when you go to the Dopple Press website, you are flooded with incredible colors, designs and textures of the sliders.
How did Dopple Press do it? By taking the user experience to the next level! Being one of the most loved websites in the world, it follows good SEO practices. To help you get a clearer idea of what defines good white hat strategy, here are the two main principles to follow:
- Google Guidelines Set the Benchmark: One simple advice to follow? Do not try to deceive Google’s algorithm but rather use ethical SEO practices as per the guidelines. Google has become smarter over the years and will be able to track if you have utilized the proper way to optimize a website.
- Consistent Strategy is the Key: Ranking on Google and appearing in searches over your competitors isn’t fulfilled with a one-time-effort. Positive user experience is created by publishing high-quality content and shortening page loading times consistently. When you consider using good SEO practices as a long-term strategy, you can then ensure its long-lasting impact.
Black Hat SEO: The Villainous SEO
When all good fails, the bad prevails. In simple words, black hat SEO is the complete opposite of white hat SEO since it follows manipulative and unethical SEO practices to rank higher on search engines. These practices are usually used to trick the customers. Here are two things black hat SEO websites usually do:
- Violation of Google-Laws: Black hat tactics are dishonest and likely to misdirect you. Therefore, such websites directly violate Google’s guidelines. By focusing more on exploiting loopholes in Google’s algorithm, these websites focus on quick wins instead of consistent wins.
- Deception is Key: Being the complete opposite of white hat practices, black hat SEO relies on manipulative tactics to deceive customers. This could be in the form of invisible links, doorways to unsafe websites, spam pages and even keyword stuffing.
The Core Difference Between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO
The core difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO is the integration of ethics. If your website is truly aimed at assisting users and giving them what they came for, then you’re definitely on the right track.
For instance, YouTube is the second most ranked website after Google because of its user-friendly interface and simple design. Being a free music and video sharing application, it provides content creators the chance to connect with larger audiences. They are able to do this by following the correct and ethical SEO practices as per Google.
Black hat SEO not only follows unethical practices, and is only used for short-term goals. In today’s digital world, consistency is key to be approved by search engine gods. If the website degrades customer experience and reduces the trust of the people, black hat SEO websites are likely to have high bounce rates.
Be Wary of These Black Hat SEO Techniques!
In case you land on a website which follows black hat SEO techniques, it’s important to be wary and click out. Here are the few “red” flags of black hat practices:
- Keyword Stuffing: Spotting most content to have irrelevant and repetitive keywords in the content? Congratulations! You have successfully spotted what keyword stuffing looks like. Such content is capable of manipulating the website’s ranking, but only for a short period of time.
- Duplicate or Plagiarized Content: May it be self-plagiarism or stealing content from another website, duplicate content (even if it is paraphrased) signifies content which doesn’t add value to the readers and is not original. This could even be the same content present on various subdomains of the black hat website.
- Link Farms & Doorway Pages: A few websites consist of irrelevant backlinks which are not natural. As Google ranks content with backlinks, some websites indulge in bad paid links to confuse the users. People could also land on completely different platforms which are in no way related to the content. This is an unethical practice which is a part of black hat SEO.
- Spams & Spamdexing: When you spot spam comments under the blog content, it is just a method to improve the SEO score intentionally. This might also include spamdexing which is the practice of repeating phrases or content which is irrelevant and unrelated. It might be a tactic to trick users.
Final Word: Wear the White Hat or the Black Hat?
As people are becoming more aware of SEO practices, they are able to differentiate between a genuine website and a spammy one. This makes it even more important for beginners to know the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. Even though black hat SEO techniques may produce better results in a short period of time, the win won’t last since Google spider crawlers are becoming smarter with artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.
It’s important to follow ethical practices for writing good content with the correct keywords. This way, Google will help your website rank higher and assist in gaining credibility across your target groups. By staying updated with smart marketing tactics and strategies, white hat SEO could be the factor that drives your business to the final goal.
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