If you’re an SEO savvy marketer, you already know about white, black and grey hat SEO practices. However, if you’re new to SEO and don’t know what hats have to do with search engine optimization, here’s what you need to know:
White Hat SEO refers to any practice that improves search performance on a search engine results page (SERP) while adhering to that search engine’s policies. In terms of Google, White Hat techniques follow their self-published guidelines. Some examples of White Hat tactics include using keywords, back-linking, link building, and writing content that focuses on relevancy, organic ranking and audience engagement.
Black Hat SEO tactics are disapproved practices that increase page rankings in a SERP by going against that search engine’s terms of service. Black Hat techniques range from keyword stuffing, using unrelated keywords in page content, and invisible text to doorway pages, page swapping, redirects and content automation.
White Hat is preferable to Black Hat in that said practices are ethical and sustainable. Black Hat practices are effective, but are risky and can cause your site to be reported.
Grey Hat SEO, on the other hand, is SEO practice that remains “ill-defined” and/or “ill-advised” by search engine published guidelines and which can be disagreeable. In essence, it’s Black masquerading as White. For example, click bait. Click bait refers to a practice where someone posts something like an eye catching link or piece of content that encourages a reader to click and read more.
For examples of common White and Black Hat strategy, check out PushOn’s article on the top 5 white hat and black hat search optimization techniques. Please feel free to contribute any discussion of how white, black, or grey SEO has worked for you in a comment below.