Over the past few months I’ve been asked this question a handful of times: What are White Hat and Black Hat SEO? It’s an important question that you – the Consumer – deserve an answer to, thus prompting me to put together this brief blurb defining the differences.
White Hat SEO is a set of practices that explicitly follows the rules set forth by search engines and also obeys general web marketing ethics. There is absolutely NO spamming employed when working from the premise of White Hat SEO. In keeping with this set of best practices, there is no keyword stuffing, no invisible text, and no doorway pages. White hat is very organic in nature; if your site is positioned smartly and is worthy of a high ranking, you will generally succeed in attaining that ranking through skilled White Hat SEO. While the effect may not be instantaneous, your site will sustain high rankings in the long run.
Black Hat SEO is, as expected, the opposite. While many such tactics were widely used and accepted during SEO’s infancy, a few individuals and firms took them far overboard. They are now looked down upon within the SEO community and considered spam-like. Many Black Hat SEO practices are strictly disallowed by search engines. For some, however, the lure of employing Black Hat is very tempting; these tricks do actually work..temporarily. They can often get sites higher ranking (in the short run) than they deserve. Once the search engine identifies the various Black Hat techniques, it will either dock that site’s ratings or ban the site altogether. Looking from a long-term perspective, Black Hat SEO is not only far short of the industry’s best practice, it could be detrimental to your business if used to temporarily bolster your site’s ratings.
To my knowledge, companies that provide SEO services will not advertise if they employ Black Hat techniques. I advise that you thoroughly research any company you might partner with for SEO services to ensure that they deserve your trust and business. Be watchful for companies offering especially cheap packages, including 1000’s of backlinks, and promising instantaneous top ratings. It could be that they are one of the many willing to use Black Hat SEO for temporary results. Google, specifically, has been working diligently as of late to negate the effects of spammy Black Hat SEO tactics, and they are prevailing. Do not allow your company’s reputation to be dragged down with those being identified with Black Hat tricks.
Plan for the long-term. Work only with professionals committed to the industry’s highest standards and able to deliver solid results with reputable SEO consultation and execution.