Woe to those who employ the use of Black Hat tactics for their SEO needs. This is generally the attitude of White Hatters towards Black Hat SEO, and with good reason. Because in the end, Black Hat SEO is all about lying, cheating and fraud and should be best avoided by anyone who wants to up their SEO game.
In the marketing game, it is clear on which hat should be worn if they want to stay out of trouble, in the end White Hat SEO strategists and Black Hat SEO strategists are natural enemies. But sometimes, to overcome the upwards hill of getting good SEO, you need to know your enemy. Specifically, taking a look at their tactics and strategise your SEO in a similar manner without breaking the rules. Because in reality, what we should realise is that Black Hat strategies are just good strategies gone wrong, according to Neil Patel.
Although we are aware of the illicit nature of Black Hat SEO, we cannot deny that they do indeed yield results. Sure they do not last as long as doing it via White Hat, but their short lived success is something that should be looked at.
White Hat vs Black Hat: Summary
In short, White Hat SEO practices are the proper ways of increasing a website’s ranking. These usually involve some of the methods listed in the infographic below. Black Hat SEO is basically the opposite of White Hat SEO and involves the use of illicit techniques to increase a site’s SEO. Although Black Hat SEO can be effective in increasing the ranking of a site, it would be rather easy for Google to spot anything fishy, and catching you doing Black Hat SEO means that the site will get deranked and removed from the index entirely.
So just, be sure to not resort to Black Hat if you want to avoid any repercussions and potential legal issues.
If you want to learn more about SEO and PPC, why not check out our article where we explain and compare the two methods of marketing here!
What Can We Learn?
In this list, we will go over some Black Hat SEO practices and see how they can be applied to White Hat SEO tactics.
#1. Keyword Stuffing
This is the process in which a targeted keyword will be spammed throughout a page, in view and out of view. Sometimes the keyword may be used in sentences but because those who are practicing Black Hat SEO need to put the keyword in as much as they can, the sentences end up not making too much sense.
Now the one thing the Black Hat SEO people have got right when it comes to keyword stuffing is their research. Keyword research is important as it will allow SEO strategists to know what to aim for. When it comes to Black Hat SEO practices, it is just a case of knowledge being misused.
White Hat SEO approach:
For those who prefer not to cheat when it comes to SEO, the one thing we can take from keyword stuffing is that research is needed in order to determine the keyword in the first place. Once the keyword or keyphrase is found, we must ensure that the sentences we create still make sense. It may sound a bit harder than simply just placing the keywords all over the place or placing them as white-text in order to be a bit more sneaky, but in the end, the Google Bots will find out and will terminate the ranking of the site. As White Hat SEO strategists, we must ensure we still do use the keyword that is being targeted, but not too much, just enough for the Google Bots to pick up. In the end, we have the upper hand over the Black Hat practitioners as our efforts will yield longer standing results.
#2. Content Spinning/ Irrelevant Content
Sometimes there is content created by the Black Hatters, but it is usually to ensure that they are not easily found by the Google Bots, oh, and not to mention that they are plagiarised in most cases. Sometime there will even be keywords that do not relate to the content at all. In the early days, spam sites employed the use of bots to automatically spin content and publish them, without the input of anyone creating content. And although using bots might be a case of impressive laziness, the results did not last longs as expected, because as Black Hat SEO strategists find ways to cut corners, Google also finds news ways to stop them, plus, bot content is obviously bot content due to poor grammar and repetitive and nonsensical sentences.
White Hat SEO Approach:
In White Hat SEO, there is a great understanding of the importance of content. Unlike Black Hat SEO tactics, the content that is being pumped out by White Hat SEO strategists are useful and relevant and not automatically generated by a bot. More effort is put into creating content to garner increased SEO the right way.
#3. Backlinking with Link Farms/ Wheels
Backlinking is the practice of having your page’s link appear in several pages.
This is one of the main ways Google determines the ranking of a page and thus, it is a very important factor. The way Black Hat SEO strategists use this is that they create sites for the sole purpose of putting their links in, like farms for links, hence the name of Link Farms. These sites tend to be spam and useless in terms of providing useful content, their sole purpose is to have a link to a site in it.
White Hat SEO Approach:
It is no doubt that link wheels and farms do actually work, but like all tactics employed by Black Hat strategists, they do not last very long. On the more proper side of doing things, White Hat SEO strategists rely on honest reviews and testimonials from reputable sites or blogs to get their ranking or authority as it is called in the field. So put it this way, say you offer great services in building custom PC rigs, and you want to get people to know your company and what it does. One way to get a backlink from a high authority site or blog is to contact the owner and let them know all about you. You can even offer some of your services to them and if they are satisfied they may put your link in their current or upcoming blog posts. Because the blogger’s site is of higher authority, the chances of your own site getting a higher rank increases.
#4.Overdoing Internal Linking
Internal linking can help Google understand what a site is about. It is basically the process in which you place links within a page that leads to another page within your website. Over the years Google has gotten better at understanding and reading websites in order to determine what they are for and what they are about. However, the way it is done in Black Hat SEO is by stuffing a page with internal links till it looks like your average Wikipedia article. While it can be benefiting to the site’s SEO, it can come back and cause problems. Because at the end of the day, the technology in which Google uses to seek out websites is getting better, and they will eventually find an internal link stuffed website and determine that it is Black Hat SEO, thus removing it.
White Hat SEO Approach:
Proper internal linking is ensuring that whatever is relevant to each other is linked internally to each other. For example, you have one blog post about the best dash cams for a car and another article about reasons why you should get a dash-cam. These two articles would be great to internal link to each other as they relate to one another, unlike the Black Hat SEO way of doing, where little to no correlation is there between the subjects of the links.
Cloaking is in a Black Hat SEO sense is creating two websites within one, one for the users and onse for the search bots or “crawlers”. This is so that a Black Hat practicing website can make their content rank higher, even if the content is irrelevant to the search query. Spam sites do this to stay hidden from Google bots while they spam users.
White Hat Approach:
Similar to the point about content, we must ensure that all the content we have on a site is relevant to what it is about. Plain and simple. Making changes to a site’s compatibility, language and so on is absolutely fine, as it is good practice to ensure that your site can appeal to and be read by people of different groups. Just avoid changing content for web crawlers to the point in which you disregard the users.
You may have come across company names which are literally the keyword you searched for on the Search Engine Results Page or SERP. This of course is done by Black Hat practitioners in order to rank highest on the SERP, because what better way to rank for a keyword or phrase than to have your company name with the keyword or search phrase in it. This technique works because Google still needs to work on trying to sort it out. This method is different from the other because you actually have big firms or reputable firms employing it as a tactic till the point where it is not even fully seen as a Black Hat SEO tactic.
White Hat SEO Approach:
This might be the only time where a tactic used by Black Hatters can actually be beneficial while remaining legit for White Hat SEO strategists. In the end, it is all about good branding. Some sites and companies actually do name themselves a keyword, and it is not as if these companies are illicit or anything, they do all the other White Hat SEO tactics and their content tends to be useful. But relying on a brand name alone won’t work, as we know, so if your banrad does have a keyword, you must ensure that other legitimate tactics are used to increase your page rankings.
#7. Blog Comment Spam
It is what it is called, this method involves Black Hatters going to legit blogs and posting their links in the comment sections below, if any. This of course can increase a page ranking as a link to their site is placed on another website. The chances of ranking higher increase if the blog they do this on has high authority. This method really rubs you in the face doesn’t it? Imagine, working hard on a blog post and ensuring that it is useful to the masses and to your sites SEO, and instead of positive comments or comments giving some feedback, you get an anonymous commenter posting a link to their own site. It can get rather infuriating. Fortunately, many blogs have moderators who can approve or disapprove a comment before it is posted. Blog creation platforms can also provide this ability to blog owners too.
White Hat SEO Approach:
This all comes down to just simply asking another reputable blog owner on what they can do when it comes to placing links on their own site. If the blog owner sees that your own site is legit and actually provides a good service, then they will happily place a link on one of their articles or posts. Simply leaving a comment that contains our website’s link in the comments section of a blog post simply won’t do as blog owners can simply delete it and it will most likely get your site flagged as well.
In the end, the obvious should be said, if you do not want to get in trouble and get your site deranked, don’t fall into the habit of using Black Hat SEO techniques. Yes, they may give you an easy victory, but what good is a victory short lived? Not only that, a victory in the battle but not the war as a Google’s power reign supreme over any attempts to Black Hat a site’s SEO.
So be real, stay legit and use only White Hat SEO techniques to increase your rank.
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