Search Engine Optimization: Black Hat Vs White Hat SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it’s more commonly referred to, can be divided into two groups. The White Hats, and the Black Hats. These two groups represent two opposing methods used to optimize websites. The showdown between the White Hats and the Black Hats is heating up, and as always, the search engines are backing the White Hats!

What’s The Difference?

These two groups oppose each other, they disagree on effective website methods and use totally opposite tactics.

White Hats: are designers who play by the rules and follow guidelines on how to optimize their sites. They seek long term successful results rather than instant under the table success. Their tactics include ethical marketing strategies to increase the website’s relevance without compromising the content. White Hats consider how search algorithms work and what people are searching for when they optimize a website. Their site’s posses clean cut and well structured source codes, they add unique and relevant content, and legitimate trustworthy inbound links. The sites are also designed so search engines can easily index and spider them. White Hats are opposed to the abuse of computer systems and the use of unethical method and they are usually equally as skilled as the Black Hats.

Black Hats: practice a “show me the results right now” array of tactics. Uninterested in the slow ethical methods that yield long term success, Black Hats use tactics that give instant success. These methods are often unethical and result in search engines removing their listings as punishment. Some of their tactics include link farms, keyword stuffing and hidden text. A link farm is any group of web sites that all link to each other without any regard to quality or relevance. Keyword Stuffing is one of the most popular Black Hat methods. In this method, the website is ‘stuffed’ full of any given keyword; content and readability of the text is severely compromised. The text is often pushed to the bottom of the page and put in a small font, the hope is that the search engine will see the keyword is used many times and rank it well. Hidden Text is a similar method where a keyword is written repeatedly in the same color as the background; this usually gets the site reported by its competitors quickly and results in the site being blacklisted.

The BIG Debate!

Basically everyone has a stance on SEO, everyone fits into one group or the other. Here are a few points made in the White Hat vs Black Hat SEO Debates.

• All Publicity Is Good Publicity? Black Hats argue that no matter what attention you are getting, the attention itself is what you’re striving for. Sure, maybe people have noticed you because you’re being chastised for being unethical but at least they noticed you! While White Hats feel that breaking several rules isn’t worth turning a few heads. The risks are great and will not build long term success.

• Dedication And Hard Work Pay Off! Get Rich Quick scams have never spelled success. And White Hats know it! Working hard now and waiting for the success to come your way will pay off greatly down the road. Do your time, work hard, and your success will be even keeled. The White Hat argues that Black Hat tactics will not stay successful and eventually the Black Hats will have to learn ethical methods, or be out of business. The Black Hats feel that doing the extra work and waiting for success is a nightmare and would rather cut a few corners to have comfortable success in the moment. They argue that spamming tactics will never die, as the search engines evolve so will the methods. This has been proven true, take spam filters for example, they become more advanced all the time, and yet… we are all still getting mail boxes full of spam.

• It’s A Life Style Choice!! The one thing that both White Hats and Black Hats agree on is that it’s a life style decision, one that you probably don’t have to think about to pick a side. You either work harder and be honest, or you happily compromise a few ethics and enjoy your success now.

So, what’s better?

At the end of the day, when you’re talking about your business, you want to stick to what is proven to be successful. We’re not talking about your personal website you use to display your stamp collection; we’re talking about your company, your livelihood, what you base your current lifestyle on. White Hat tactics are proven to be just as successful as Black Hat methods but without the risk of your company site being blacklisted, banned, or deleted from databases. Eventually Black Hat tactics will catch up with you and you’ll regret taking the risk.