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White Hat Vs. Black Hat SEO

Search engine optimisation may seem like a bit of a dark art at times, not helped by the fact that some digital marketers will do almost anything, even making posters, to avoid completing SEO tasks. It’s enough to make any business shudder at the thought of what this might entail.

The more we learn how to optimise websites, the more search engines learn about those who are doing it ethically, and those who aren’t. That’s right, Google’s got morals.

First of all, let’s make one thing perfectly clear, using black hat SEO techniques will hurt your search rankings. And Design Box will never employ these strategies, we focus on legitimate practices that will increase your site’s ranking responsibly, and for the long-term. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

What is white and black hat SEO?

White hat SEO

This is the angel on your shoulder, telling you to follow the guidelines and apply search engine optimisation techniques properly. Namely, you’re not breaking any search engine policies on the subject, you’re not trying to gain a quick fix, and that you’re writing content for a real-life, human audience.

That all may sound fairly obvious to the honourable marketer, but there are businesses out there who aren’t listening. Trust us, there will be consequences for those digital marketers who choose not to play fair.

Black hat SEO

That little red dude on your theoretical digital marketing shoulder that seems to be on fire. This form of SEO aims to increase the authority of a website by quickly generating a larger number of backlinks, move a site up the rankings on search engines, but not necessarily caring about how the searcher uses the website.

Black hat SEO tends to rely on controlling search engines into doing what they want and taking advantage of the algorithms, while not understanding that there is going to be a human reader behind a device and wanting relevant content to pop up at them.

White hat SEO activities

It’s all very well and good knowing what white hat and black hat SEO are, but how do we make sure that we’re implementing the best possible strategies? Luckily, we’ve compiled a handy list for you:

  • HTML compliant with search engine guidelines
  • Content that’s relevant to your visitor’s search
  • No spam content and excellent spelling and grammar
  • Appropriate keywords and meta descriptions
  • Internal linking to relevant pages
  • Providing a helpful user experience through the site
  • Partnership external linking is to valued sites, not just anyone who wants to

Black hat SEO activities

We can’t stress this enough; search engines will penalise your website when you’re caught using black hat SEO tactics. It could effectively wipe out all of the ethical work you’ve done to build your site and establish your online presence. Good digital marketers will never attempt to use black hat SEO to improve your website ranking, no matter how short-term the effects. Make sure you remember these:

  • Hidden text on webpages
  • Spam keywords, or keyword stuffing, either in meta tags, or on-page content
  • Copying content from high authority sites and article spinning
  • Buying backlinks
  • Link farms, both automated and manual
  • Parasite hosting
  • HTML cloaking and doorway pages
  • Links from sites that don’t include relevant content to your site

A note about grey hat SEO

With most things in life, they aren’t straight forward black, or white. SEO is no different. Grey hat SEO refers to a sort of middle ground before the two strategies. It may not include broken search engine guidelines or parasite hosting but isn’t exactly 100% ethically, either. Grey hat SEO may include:

  • Backlink chains
  • Buying expired and old domains

While you may be weighing up the risk of using grey hat SEO practises, these activities still pose a risk of penalties from search engines.

At Design Box, we will never use black hat SEO techniques. We don’t believe in acting in such an unethical way is best for our clients, or for us. We want to ensure that we give the best possible experience for our clients and getting your website penalised by Google just doesn’t come under our objectives.

Find out more about our SEO capabilities here, or find out what else we can do for you by checking out our full range of services here.

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