White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO: Uses, Risks, and Best Practices

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Is black hat SEO bad? Should you always use white hat SEO tactics?

What is the difference between the two?

Many of us have heard the terms white hat SEO and black hat SEO. However, most of us aren’t sure what they mean.

For regular folks that’s okay, but not if you want to hire an SEO agency to boost your website ranking. Therefore, businesses and entrepreneurs should be aware of the nuances of white hat SEO vs. black hat SEO.

Let’s find out more on the topic.

What is White Hat SEO?

White hat SEO means optimizing your website by staying within the rules of search engines like Google. Examples of white hat SEO techniques include using the right keywords, publishing great content, and so on.

White hat tactics may or may not work to rank your website. The process involves a lot of testing and the outcomes are not always guaranteed.

As a result, white hat SEO takes time. You would need at least four to six months to notice any visible results.

In the SEO industry, white hat practices are often referred to as ‘ethical SEO.’

What is Black Hat SEO?

The term black hat emerged from the movies back in the day when the bad guys used to wear black hats. When it comes to SEO, black hat methods refer to unethical SEO practices.

In other words, black hat SEO involves techniques that go against the guidelines of search engines, says GeeksforGeeks.

Examples of black hat SEO include spamming your website with keywords. Or, writing content or acquiring backlinks just to rank are also black hat practices as per Google’s guidelines.

Black hat SEO techniques generally work well in the short term. However, they fall short when search engines find out the trick.

As a result, stuffing your content with keywords will not rank your page anymore.

Next, we will cover a very important aspect of white hat SEO vs. black hat SEO.

Can Black Hat SEO Get You in Trouble?

Can you go to jail for tricking Google with black hat SEO practices?

No one is going to take any legal action or arrest you for using black hat tactics. Instead, you might invite a penal action from search engines.

For example, Google might stop displaying your website or specific pages in search results. That can be bad if your website relies on organic traffic, which most do.

Additionally, you can expect your ranking to improve only for a while with black hat SEO. You will never be able to maintain your ranking in the long term.

White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO: Why White Hat Practices Make Sense

White hat SEO techniques comply with the guidelines of search engines. As a result, you have better chances of ranking and maintaining it.

Additionally, white hat SEO allows you to:

Provide Value

Search engines like Google always update their algorithm with a single goal – to help searchers get the right information most conveniently.  

As a result, white hat SEO actually helps you deliver value to your website visitors.

For example, writing great content helps readers quench their thirst for information. Also, if your content is good, other websites will link to your content and help you build links. That, in turn, will help you rank better on Google.      

This creates a win-win situation for everyone:

  • The people searching for information
  • Google (as more people use it)
  • The website owner (as you can improve ranking)

Generate More Returns

The majority of website owners will have to hire an SEO agency to rank better. Therefore, you will need to spend money or invest in SEO services.

Now, black hat SEO cannot stand the test of time. Search engines are going to change their algorithms, making the technique ineffective.

As a result, your money will go to waste, unless you want a spike in traffic for the short term.

White hat SEO, on the other hand, helps you improve your user experience. Your SEO efforts will add up over time and start to provide returns in a few months.

Therefore, white hat SEO is a long-term strategy that provides adequate ROI. Black hat SEO is a risky game and there is no assurance you won’t lose your money.

Where does Grey Hat SEO Come into the Picture?

Black hat practices can be a costly SEO mistake. However, some people are using grey hat SEO in the hopes of improved ranking.

What is grey hat SEO?

Grey hat SEO sits on the borderline between violating and not violating search engine guidelines. For example, writing guest posts solely to rank your pages is grey hat SEO.

Technically, the act will go against Google’s guidelines as you are creating content solely to rank. However, what if your content is great and provides actual value?

The question above doesn’t have a clear answer. The technique can surely help you rank and even help readers get valuable information.

Will Google penalize it?

For now, you can get away with creating content solely for ranking if it provides value. But Google may change its algorithms in the future to penalize this action.

Nobody knows for sure.

As a result, grey hat SEO can also be risky. They can work for now, but may not help you in the long term.

We will have to wait and see to find out!

Final Thoughts

White hat SEO vs. black hat SEO is a debate that never ends. However, it is better to stick with white hat SEO as it’s safe and proven. You can work with a professional SEO agency like Wizard to create a tailored SEO strategy. We can also audit your site and find out the areas to focus on to build your ranking.

Our team invests in legit SEO practices that bring long-lasting results. Your website can build a reputation and earn the trust of your target audience. Additionally, we can create quality content on a regular basis to bring you more exposure.

Get in touch with us to know more.