- November 16, 2018
- Posted by: admin
- Category: General
Do you know what kind of SEO methods you are using? It can be difficult to know where to start with search engine optimization, as most experts have an opinion on what works, and what doesn’t work. If you are using black hat SEO techniques, they may bring you short-term results, but that doesn’t mean they will set you up for a solid future in search results.
Learning the difference between white hat SEO, black hat SEO, and the gray that is in between can help you in your long-term SEO goals. So let’s dive into what these different types of hats are, so you can make your own choice of how you want to rank.
WHITE HAT SEO
White hat SEO is basically doing search engine optimization exactly the way Google wants you to. It is following Google’s guidelines and creating a long-term game plan that will withstand any Google update.
High Quality Content Created For The User
High-quality content is the number one thing you want to focus on if you are actively doing SEO. Why? Because no matter what else you do, if you don’t have content that people want to read and share, you will not rank well.
BLACK HAT SEO
Google is pretty clear about what you should NOT do.
Black hat SEO is about breaking all the rules. And sure, it might work at first, depending on what method you are using, but it is more of a short-term strategy. Google updates its algorithm quite regularly, and if you are doing something that you know will get you in trouble eventually, well, then, it most likely will!
Most of the black hat techniques I am going to go over no longer work, and doing them will only hurt your chances of getting ranked. But it is good to know what not to do at times too, so let’s go over them.
Ok, we know that if we mention certain words, this can help with rankings. But don’t think you are tricking Google by making the text of certain words match the background of the website. In the distant past, this worked. People couldn’t see the ugly, clunky text, but Google could and would rank these sites. But Google quickly caught on.
This is when websites have the HTML that shows up for the visitor, and the HTML that shows up for the Google bot, differ. It worked for awhile because some sites, like those that used Flash, needed to show search engines what was on the website.
(The main reason Flash died as a way to build websites is because search engines couldn’t view it properly).
This can also show up as duplicate content. If you see a great article somewhere, don’t think you aren’t the first one who has ever thought that “Oh, if I publish this on my site, then my site will rank too!”. We learned in school that plagiarism is bad. In any case, Google will quickly catch you. This is why it is so important to get unique content!
Automatic Article Spinning
Perhaps you are thinking, “Ok, what if I don’t steal the content but just change the words to synonyms making most of the new content unique?” For a while, people would use automatic programs to change words in an article (spinning) to create unique content, post it, and then it would rank.
It would have similar keywords, similar meaning, and websites that generated a lot of “new” content could rank higher. But the content didn’t read very well, and it was very similar to the original article and didn’t provide anything unique or new.
This is when a bunch of websites all link to each other. Links are a large signal to Google that your content is interesting to others, so this used to work. But now, it is easy to get caught with a backlink profile that isn’t natural looking. Plus, if the sites linking to yours weren’t relevant to each other, it is pretty obvious to Google that you are trying to cheat.
People are still selling this. ‘Buy X amount of links for X dollars!’ Don’t do it. Most likely the links aren’t good quality, and if you are a newbie, you are more likely to waste your money then help your rankings!
Ok, this isn’t a black hat technique per say, but it belongs in the same category. So you may be thinking to yourself “Well, what if I buy some bad links for my competitor? That will surely hurt their ranking, which by default will help me, right?”. No. Again, you are just wasting your money and time (and being quite mean, too!).
At first, Google started punishing people with a bad backlink profile. And then some mean people thought “Oh, I’ll just buy crappy links for my competitor’s to hurt them”. Now Google usually ignores bad links, and even if they don’t, people can disavow a link they think is hurting their rankings. Did I mention that negative SEO is just mean? Don’t be mean!
These are the most common black hat techniques. While some of these worked in the past, and some may still work today if you know what you are doing, I really don’t recommend doing it.
Now, we don’t always live in a black and white world. What about this gray hat SEO that falls somewhere in between?
GREY HAT SEO
Gray hat is basically any SEO strategy that is maybe is not necessarily in the white hat SEO zone, but it doesn’t really fall into the black hat SEO area either. An example? Completely re-writing an article that did well, but not providing anything original to that article. Another one is 3 or 4-way linking building. Example: site A links to site B which links to site C which links to site A.
What is and isn’t gray hat SEO can also depend on who you are talking to. I have heard that guest blog posting is a form of gray hat SEO. Perhaps this is because Matt Cutts, a former Google engineer, said in 2014 that guest blogging is dead. It isn’t.
Google doesn’t say it is a bad thing for us to write articles for other websites. Now, if you write for a website and throw a bunch of your links in there, then yeah, you are quickly getting into the gray/black hat SEO area.But writing a guest blog post and having a link to the website you are associated with at the bottom of the article in your bio, no. That is still fairly white (ok, maybe beige).
Is Link Building White Hat, Black Hat or Grey Hat SEO ?
For search engine optimization specialists new to the field, I recommend following your gut. If it feels wrong, if it feels like you trying to cheat Google, then Google will most likely feel the same way. And if the algorithm doesn’t catch your sneaky technique now, it probably will in the future.
There is no “get rich quick” scheme when it comes to SEO. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (and it is probably a black hat technique!)
Instead, focus on creating value for your readers, providing good content, making sure your on-page SEO is optimal and building online relationships. 99% of white hat SEO techniques come from simply doing these things.