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Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO: What’s The Difference?

Search Engine Optimisation involves an array of complex layers that can deem overwhelming to unpack in figuring out what should be prioritised. As such, two predominant SEO techniques were born: ‘White Hat SEO’ and ‘Black Hat SEO’.

Let’s dive into what these different types of hats are and how they can affect your rankings.   

White Hat SEO: The Golden Child of Google

In a nutshell, white hat SEO is practicing the techniques, procedures, and best practices in exact accordance with Google’s guidelines and recommendations, namely:

  • Creating high quality content
  • Focusing on the user
  • Helping Google find your site as easily as possible

Also known as ‘ethical SEO’, this is generally seen as a long-term investment in a website, paying dividends over time. While it may initially take longer to see the needle move, the results tend to last longer and genuinely help a user in a way that gives you a better result.

On the other hand…

Black Hat SEO: Tricking Google

At the heart of black hat SEO is the ethos of ‘breaking all the rules and revolting against Google’. This practice involves taking shortcuts and using frowned upon strategies that attempt to reap higher search rankings.

The problem with black hat SEO, aside from the volatile ‘short-term gains’, is the inevitable risk of being nabbed by Google’s algorithms. Taking shortcuts generally doesn’t pay off, and in the world of SEO, it’s no different. Some common black hat tactics include:

  • Hidden text
  • Cloaking
  • Stealing content
  • Link farms
  • Automatic article spinning
  • Buying Links

The Best Way to Reap Results with SEO

At the end of the day, Google’s guidelines were put in place for a reason – they’re all aimed at giving the user the best experience possible. While Search Engine optimisation largely involves optimising a site to be crawlable by Google’s spiders, the process is inherently about the user.

Keep your user, their search intent, and experience at the centre of your SEO efforts and you’ll give your business the best chance of sustainable success online.