The techniques used for search engine optimization (SEO) can be white hat or black hat. The difference in these approaches is based on the SEO techniques, tactics, and strategies that are used. ‘White hat SEO’ refers to approaches that follow the guidelines and stipulations of search engines, while the term ‘black hat’ refers to approaches disapproved by search engines.
White Hat SEO
These are ethical practices used to optimize a website to achieve online visibility using methods that are within search engine guidelines. These tactics and techniques include the following:
- Quality Content – Creating relevant, useful and natural contents and posting them on a regular basis can increase site traffic.
- CSS and HTML – Separating the content from the design using CSS with a clean well written code helps the data mining applications find the content.
- Titles – Creating unique and relevant page content titles makes it easy for visitors and search to understand the content and find what they’re looking for.
- Keywords – Use of targeted keywords in the right proportion – without stuffing.
- Quality Links – Internal links connect to other content in your website and make it easy for visitors to find the information they need. Include such links in moderation and make sure the anchor text used is relevant. Links from other website to yours must be natural links and earned.
- Social Media – Reaching out to customers through social media to circulate information helps to gain trustworthy links back to the website.
- Optimizing Meta Tags, Headings, Anchor Text and ALT Tags – Such optimization boosts rankings.
- Site Structure – Creating a site as accessible as possible for visitors and search spiders to navigate can increase SERP.
Black Hat SEO
This refers aggressive SEO tactics which attempt to artificially improve rankings and traffic in ways that are not approved by search engines and involve deception. Such tactics include:
- Cloaking – Creating two different versions of page so that data mining applications are tricked into showing a page that they wouldn’t normally display. This sends the viewer to page that is very different than what was described in the search results.
- Keyword Stuffing – Overuse in anchor text, Meta data, content, etc to create an illusion for search engine bots is considered a wrong technique and commonly known as keyword stuffing.
- Doorway Passages – Doorway pages are used to deceive the search bots into thinking that an excellent form of information is discovered and index it into the search engine’s database.
- URL Redirection – The redirect strategies create multiple pages, all optimized for a certain topic using specific keywords that will take a user to another page that is not related to original search term.
- Hidden Content – This is hiding content that is stuffed with keywords using HTML comment tag or noscript tag, and to create an invisible area on the page so that it is only visible to data mining applications.
- Link Farming – This is a collection of Web pages that all interlink with one another in order to increase each page’s rank.
- Duplicate Content – This is the practice of spreading the same content across the web by either copying it directly from another person’s site or replicating your own.
- Page Hijacking – This refers to creating a rogue copy which is served to crawler like the original one, but guides the users to unrelated or malicious pages.
Businesses that outsource their SEO must be careful to choose a service provider that uses only white hat techniques. The use of covert black hat tactics can get your site penalized and permanently banned from search results.