It is a competitive world out there. Anyone with an online business presence is always looking for ways to improve their search engine performance (SEO) to boost their Google rankings. When it comes down to ways of doing this, it is sometimes a standoff between White Hat and Black Hat SEO techniques. These two approaches were named for old Western films, where the good guys and the bad guys were easily identified by the color of their hats.
White Hat SEO uses techniques that stay within the search engine’s terms of services, maintaining the integrity of your website. White Hat practices achieve organic ranking in a variety of ways, including easy navigation, quality content and services, descriptive keyword-rich meta tags, fast load times, keyword integration, authoritative backlinks, traffic from authentic social media accounts, multimedia use, and mobile friendliness. Staying within White Hat boundaries is a requirement of Google and all major search engines.
Black Hat SEO, on the other hand, uses aggressive strategies and tactics that focus exclusively on search engines, rather than a human audience. These approaches do not usually follow search engine guidelines. Techniques can include invisible text, doorway pages, and keyword stuffing, including unrelated keywords in page content, and changing pages after they have been ranked by search engines. Essentially, any tactic that is used to trick and deceive a search engine could be considered a Black Hat tool.
Black Hat techniques are often used by those who are seeking a fast, financial return on their website. Since they are not looking for a long-term investment, they are not bothered by the prospect of being banned from search engines.
Shades of Gray
There are certain techniques that may seem authentically White Hat on the surface, but improper use can lead into dangerous territory. For example:
- Article Spinning. It is one thing to revise an article to make it better, or to add new information. It is entirely another thing to create a permutation of the same material to fool a search engine, or to steal content and regurgitate it with a few carefully chosen word changes, which would be considered plagiarism.
- Exchanging Links. Backlinks help judge the authority and credibility of a brand. They communicate with the search engine, telling it that other respectable names are in the niche and validating their presence. The exchanging of links, rather than waiting for outside sources to provide approval, would be considered a Black Hat technique.
- Cloaking. This Black Hat technique deceives both the search engine and the user. This occurs when what is offered on the surface is just a veil over what is being offered or sold. All it takes is one click to financially reward the host.
- Low-Quality Content. Sometimes content is created that is not up to par. This can happen innocently enough, so special care should always be taken to make sure the content you post is relevant and useful to your users. There are Black Hat operators who intentionally create content to seduce search engines, and it is poorly crafted and sometimes illogical or confusing.
The above represents examples of gray areas in Black Hat SEO. Those who use Black Hat techniques, even innocently, will suffer the consequences. Your domain can be blacklisted, and your account can be shut down. You may also suffer additional penalties.
We Can Help You Maintain Your Presence as One of the Good Guys
We can help you improve your search engine performance and boost your Google rankings with techniques that align with the terms and conditions of major search engines, including Google. As a boutique digital marketing firm, Premier Legal Marketing offers the very best in personalized service. Call us today at 856-448-4736 or contact us online to learn more about our internet marketing services for lawyers.