All search engines have a singular goal, which is to deliver the best results for users’ search queries. And every day, marketers are tirelessly exploring ways to be favored by search engine results pages. You may have heard of white hat SEO or black hat SEO. These colored SEO hats symbolize different approaches to ranking on Google.
Perhaps, there is nothing more wavering than the SEO tactics. What worked for you this month might not work in the next. In order to get a place on the first page, it is necessary to keep up with the changing demands and dynamics of the search engines.
Along with these fluctuations, the realm of SEO also comes with its set of blurry boundaries that could boost your ranking. The trick is to find out which aligns with the search engine’s guidelines and which could get you into trouble.
Here is what you need to know about the different shades of SEO, namely the white, the black, and the gray.
“The White Hat,” or SEO Best Practices
White hat SEO techniques are considered the right way to attain higher rankings. They are well within the terms and conditions of search engines. These are also the most stable approaches to gain popularity on the internet.
Be it content marketing for platforms like Essay Pro, or boosting engagement in social media for some startup; these practices are the safest and most effective ways to improve your rankings.
This way, your site is less likely to be affected by a new update. However, it might also take significant time and patience to get what you want.
“The Black Hat,” a Risky Way to Rank
Black hat essentially translates to SEO tactics that are considered unethical. This type of SEO exploits a search engine’s algorithm and takes advantage of the system to increase rankings.
There are numerous approaches to such measures, such as keyword stuffing, content duplicity, paid links, and more. While these might lead to an exponential boost to your rankings, it could be short term as the algorithm might change frequently.
Now that said, there is nothing illegal about black hat SEO, nor is it evil in any way. The only thing is that if the search engine identifies these, then your site could be removed from the index.
In fact, earlier in 2006, Google removed popular websites such as ones of BMW, Overstock, and JCPenney for violating the rules. It doesn’t matter if your site offers excellent user experience; a search engine might still take you down if you employ black hat methods.
“The Gray Hat,” or the Balanced Approach
It is almost impossible to avoid manipulation altogether when it comes to SEO. After all, the moment you start optimizing based on any kind of analytical tool or using automated content, you are already violating some guidelines.
Hence the gray hat enables blending the best of approaches and can be the right recipe for your site. It often works in accordance with the search engine, but also bends the rules a little to accommodate other strategies.
For instance, a gray hat SEO method would build links to your webpage through link distribution methods. However, you won’t be purchasing anything. If you create bulk content, ensure that it has quality and relevance for the audience.
Gray hat SEO is not necessarily acknowledged as a bad practice but is not a distinct preference either. Still, it establishes your online presence without risking a penalization from the search engine.
The Performance and the Risk Factor
It all comes down to whether your strategy would give good results without being detrimental to your site.
White hat techniques might abide by the rules, but they also entail slower growth. And if your competition is benefiting from black hat techniques, then you will not be able to match the ranking with a straightforward approach.
On the other hand, the black cap would get you to your goal, at the cost of a ban if discovered. A careless black hat strategy might be your doom in the SERP arena. Gray hat techniques also come with the same threat of a ban in the future.
What Does Google Prefer?
There is no denying that today Google rules the search. So the question is to what end can you try to outsmart Google’s algorithm?
Google’s Quality Guidelines clearly indicate what to avoid if you want to stay on the good side. It is quite evident from the list that they encourage only the purest forms of white hat SEO. The series of algorithm updates are also targeted to identify any types of deceptive behavior.
As these terms are in place to promote the content quality, it is unlikely that you would need content that breaches the rules to get recognition. Though the results might be quick, the only way you can stand the test of time is by employing white hat strategies.
Which Color Do You Choose?
For SEO professionals, the priority is to stay current, regardless of the algorithm changes. The power that the black hat can give you would be fleeting and hinder growth.
Wearing the white hat might require you to be continually learning and delivering relevant content. In the end, it is not only about the keywords or the links; most often, SEO hats success is based on the quality of the material you create.