There are three different kinds of SEO practices that you can do to improve your positioning in search engines. Comparatively, each of them have their advantages and disadvantages. With this in mind, this post will do an analysis of the three and then compare them side by side: white vs black vs grey hat SEO. But first, you need to know what is seo and what it means to your business. Then you will learn all about those three kinds of seo practices.
What is SEO?
According to Wikipedia, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of optimising the traffic you get directed to your website from the search engines organically. Instead of paid traffic, which you can get by paying for ads displayed in search results. Neil Patel, expert in marketing, gives another definition of SEO with a focus on the content instead of the traffic. In that case, he defines SEO as the process of optimising the content on your website to make it more valuable and attractive to the search engines. So they choose your website as the most interesting source.
Understanding SEO and how to do it properly can be tricky. Therefore, you have two glossaries to help you get started in the world of SEO. Certainly, making it easier to understand the different tactics. First, this one from Google. Second, this one from Moz. They include terms often used when talking about SEO to help you gain some knowledge on the topic. As well as being able to do SEO practices properly.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is really important because it is the best way to reach your target audience. With the search queries, not only they are looking for what you have to offer but also using the right tools they can find you. The best aspect of SEO is that the users using the search engines have a high intent of purchase, so this gives you the opportunity to attract them to your business.
White Hat SEO
What is white hat SEO?
White hat seo is following search engine’s guidelines when doing SEO to rank your website in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can take longer than other practices, hence why you have to take into account not getting results as fast. Another downside to it is that if your competitors use less “ethical” ways of doing SEO it could be difficult to come on top.
White Hat SEO practices
The white hat seo techniques are:
- Relevant Keywords
- Quality content
- Site speed
- User experience (design, responsive, navigation)
- Lean code (html markup)
Black Hat SEO
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat seo is a way of doing SEO that is frowned upon because it’s an aggressive way of using SEO practices that go against Google’s guidelines. It is often used to rank higher on the search results pages quickly, but it has the downside of getting penalized.
Is it legal?
Now is it legal? There is no law or governing body that regulates SEO practices, just the search engines own guidelines of good practices. Although it is true that you could be sanctioned in some way for not following them. In fact, all of Google penalties are listed here.
Black Hat SEO practices
In general, the seo tactics that are considered “black hat” are:
- Keyword stuffing
- Spamming in blogs
- Hidden text
- Link farming
Here are some examples of both the black and the White Hat SEO.
White Hat vs Black Hat
Grey Hat SEO
Now, if you want to accelerate improving your rank on search results pages you have what is called the grey hat SEO. Defined as those seo practices that are not directly against the search engine’s guidelines but are not completely “ethical”. Of course it has the advantage of taking less time than the white hat practices but it will get you in trouble sometime in the future.
Grey hat SEO practices
Some of the grey hat practices are:
- Domain buying (buying old, expired domains for the authority)
- Social bookmarking
- Linkbuilding web 2.0
- Duplicate content
- PBNs (Private Blogging Networks)
To summarise, when using SEO to improve the ranking of your website you have to take into account the risks of certain practices. As a matter of fact, remember that what is grey today will be black tomorrow. Additionally, its important to consider the time it would take to get your website to the top using the more ethical ones. However, don’t forget that your competitors may be using alternatives paths.
In the white vs black vs grey hat SEO discussion, the best thing to do is to always focus on the quality of your content, the relevancy to the searches your customers do and the costs of implementing these seo practices.
For more Blogs: https://blog.thedigitalmarketinginstitute.org/
*This chart is a useful tool to help you understand the different SEO practices. However, it is not a definitive guide. First, you should only use it to have an idea of what each of them represent. And then, do your own research to decide which one, or what combination, will help you the most.
Written by Estefania Galvan Rios. A bit about me: I am a Content Marketing Analyst Intern at IIDM, interested in digital marketing, SEO and paid media. Personally, my hobbies include cinema, fashion and sustainability. If you would like to chat about any of these topics, you can connect with me on linkedin.