White hat, black hat and gray hat SEO. What’s the difference? Find out what they mean for your SEO approach right here.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO means you follow search engine guidelines, using only ethical tactics. You’re not only writing content and doing strategies to satisfy Google, but you’re thinking about that end user and how people are interacting with your website.
Examples of White hat practices include creating authentic content for human users, that’s informative, educational and solves problems. This allows you to get organic backlinks naturally and create partnerships with other websites.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO means using risky or unethical practices (breaking the search engine’s terms of service), to get higher search rankings. These techniques are used to manipulate the search engine algorithms. For instance, you’re finding loopholes in Google’s ranking system to have your website ranked quickly for specific keywords.
Some Black Hat SEO practices include using invisible or hidden text (the same color text as the background), keyword stuffing (using unrelated keywords in page content), and cloaking or redirecting the user to a completely different site or page.
Gray Hat SEO
Gray hat SEO is neither black or white hat. It’s the fine wiggly line, drawn in the middle. It may not necessarily be a bad SEO practice currently, but the intention is still to get higher rankings, by manipulating the search engines.
For example, creating content purely for building links. Strictly speaking, this may be against Google’s guidelines. But what if the content was relevant and valuable to the reader? It’s a gray area, because it may or may not be against the real spirit of the guidelines.
Black Hat SEO Techniques: Good or Bad?
It’s a common theme in SEO circles for people to think that black hat SEO is morally wrong. But this isn’t a moral judgment about white hat versus black hat SEO.
Sure, there are some black hat techniques that are morally wrong, like hacking a site and putting your own link in there.
You may think running black hat SEO campaigns are the worst thing you could do. Sure, it breaks the search engine rules. But the truth is, they can (and do) work well.
Black Hat SEO Campaigns that Work
Here are two methods where link building tools can help you:
1. Churn and Burn SEO
This method allows you to quickly build many backlinks, so you can rank at the top of Google and get massive amounts of traffic.
Yes, the site may ultimately get banned and delisted from Google’s search results.
But, if your site can stay at the top of Google for a few weeks or even months, you can still profit well.
This strategy focuses on speed, creating a website fast, building as many backlinks as possible, and profiting from it. Then repeating this process over and again.
For instance, a niche affiliate website could be as little as 10-20 pages of relevant content, each targeting long-tail keywords.
The truth is you shouldn’t expect to make one site and instantly expect to see profits flooding in. Instead, you create 10 websites and maybe 1 or 2 will hit the jackpot. That’s all you need to make good money.
You may be asking how to run churn and burn SEO campaigns?
Well, it’s rather simple, by using an ingenious, little tool called GSA Search Engine Ranker. You run a campaign to create a base layer (tier 1) of contextual links directly to the money site, using good quality articles. Then you build another layer (tier 2) of contextual links on top, linking to the first layer.
TIP: GSA Search Engine Ranker uses a lot of resources like server load, memory, etc. for scraping and posting your backlinks to target sites. By using verified link lists, your SEO campaigns will get much better results. One of the best link lists on the market is SERPGROW.com, who have fresh daily updates of their auto-approved sites.
2. 2nd Tier Link Pushing
Google has become much smarter in detecting spun content on low authority domains. So now it’s a much safer bet to create a 1st tier of manually created properties, like social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), guest posts and Web 2.0, etc.
The link building campaign for tier 2 is like the churn and burn method above, except we build these contextual links more slowly, using quality sites.
Are you a White Hat SEO?
If you see yourself as purely ‘white hat’, it may not be the best choice.
Why? You have huge gaps in your SEO knowledge because you only understand half of the game. And that’s the biggest problem with labeling yourself as a white hat or black hat SEO.
By picking a side you are explicitly deciding to restrict your potential knowledge. This is common in the white hat SEO community, where white hat link building tactics like guest posting and outreach are often highly recommended.
But the truth is that building links to manipulate search results is against Google’s webmaster guidelines. They even call it a ‘link scheme’. So ultimately, it’s all black hat.
Today, white hat SEOs have started to come full circle. They are now buying links in bulk to manipulate search rankings, every day of the week.
So instead of choosing a side (white or black), it’s much better to understand the fact that Google’s ranking algorithm wants to see certain factors. All you have to do is feed it those elements. The best way to do that is to have a complete understanding of SEO. This includes a combination of white hat tactics like good site structure and quality content backed up by black hat tactics like link building.
What do the best SEO’s do?
There are some people that go all in on white hat SEO or go all black hat. But it’s really a red herring question. It’s not about whether you’re wearing a black hat or white hat. The real question is: “Does your SEO produce effective results?”.
For example, in link building, a lot of people think you need to generate a ton of great content and somehow sites will naturally link to it. But this type of thinking doesn’t always work and misses a lot of opportunities.
The reality is the best SEOs in the world do No hat SEO. They’re like mad scientists who continuously experiment to test their theories. Then they just do what works. Whether that’s white, black or gray hat SEO.