What’s the Difference Between Black and White Hat SEO?

Approximately $80 billion will be spent by businesses on their SEO endeavors by 2020.

However, there are different approaches to SEO, and (in the eyes of Google) not all of them were created equal.

Black and white hat SEO are two separate methods of optimizing for search.

One abides by the rules. The other doesn’t. One’ll help you rank in legitimate, risk-free ways. The other can get you penalized by the powers that be.

Keep reading to learn the differences between black and white hat SEO.

black and white hat

Key Differences Between Black and White Hat SEO

SEO is an essential component of any successful marketing strategy. But there are good and bad ways of going about it!

The following sections will clarify the key distinctions between black and white hat SEO.

Black Hat SEO

Google has put certain rules in place when it comes to content.

Black hat techniques bend and break them. They can work (in the short term, at least), but you can be in trouble when Google finds out. Those in favor of black hat methods tend to pursue swift gains, usually when trying to earn money from their website. 

Keyword stuffing is one example of a black hat SEO method.

Marketers pack their content full of the keyword’s they’re targeting. There’s no concern for readability here. The user experience is sacrificed, but Google’s bots are sure to spot them, which can have a positive impact on rankings.

Other black hat examples include spamdexing and doorway pages.

Such nefarious strategies are risky business. In the past, you could get away with it. But Google has come a long way, and it’s far harder to trick the system now.

It’s likely that you’ll be found out and punished. Your site could be penalized in search, or even banned!

White Hat SEO

If black hat is the villain of SEO, white hat’s the hero.

Here, marketers obediently (and sensibly) follow the rules set by Google. They follow good practice guidelines to rank highly in search. It’s an ethical approach to ranking on SERPs that focuses on providing a quality user experience.

Black hat’s really only interested in the search engine. It sacrifices user experience in order to trick the engine. White hat’s the opposite. It’s the honest approach where content is created to provide value to users.

Some examples of white hat techniques include writing quality content, optimizing for mobile, and building backlinks to content.

There are benefits to playing by the rules too.

Sure, it can take longer to see results compared to black hat SEO. But when the results happen, they’ll last long into the future, with no risk of a site being penalized.

Final Thoughts

There you have it: some key differences between black and white hat SEO.

Both techniques intend to get content ranking highly in search.

However, black hat SEO does so by breaking the rules; white hat SEO abides by them. Similarly, black hat methods sacrifice the user experience in favor of search engines, while white hat methods do the opposite.

Likewise, compared to black hat methods, white hat SEO is the best way of seeing long-lasting results that won’t damage your site.

Now we’d like to hear from you!

What are some of the most successful white hat strategies you’ve utilized in the past? Let us know in the comments!

And be sure to keep reading about white hat SEO here.